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Universidad de Costa Rica

Master's Programmes


On March 7, 1941, the University of Costa Rica opened its doors in the capital neighborhood Gonzalez Lahmann with a total of 719 students.

The University is structured as a tripartite entity with a University Assembly, a University Council, and a University Presidency. Since its onset, its governing, administrative, and financial autonomy has been part of its organizational model, as dreamed by Luis Demetrio Tinoco, and as stated in Article 4 of its founding law. Since the beginning, the university has been a state entity as it provides a service that guarantees the equality of opportunities to have access to education and that is linked to democracy.

In 1946, several scholars such as Carlos Monge Alfaro, Abelardo Bonilla Baldares, and Rodrigo Facio Brenes got concerned about the seemingly disconnection of the various schools of the University. Thus, in that year, the First University Congress was organized. The fundamental result of this activity was the creation of the School of Humanities, which would operate as a unifying and articulating element in the institution.

Meanwhile, a project to build a university campus was presented. Construction started in San Pedro de Montes de Oca in 1956. The building of the College of Engineering was actually the first to be built.

As a consequence of the discussions of the previous years, in 1957, the University defined itself as “a general humanistic culture” entity, and it is reorganized into three sections: Humanities (sciences and letters), professional colleges and schools, and the College of Higher Studies.

Later on, after the Third University Congress in 1973, it was proposed to regionalize the institution; one of the main promoters of this movement was Carlos Monge Alfaro. The idea was materialized with the opening of the San Ramón Regional Center (known today as the Occidente Campus) under the full name Ciudad Universitaria Carlos Monge Alfaro. Its regional horizon has been expanded by opening campuses in other parts of the country: Atlántico, Limón, Guanacaste, and Pacífico.

Two important outcomes of this congress were the creation of the Vice Presidency of Research and, in 1974, the creation of the Vice Presidency of Social Affairs. The latter focuses on three areas: student social service through its Community Outreach Program, cultural outreach, and dissemination of the university activities in the media.

In 2001 the University of Costa Rica was declared by the Legislative Assembly as Meritorious Institution of the Education and Culture of Costa Rica through Decree No. 8098. Since 2011, the University of Costa Rica has been improving its position in the Latin American university ranking as it went from the 59th position in 2011 to the 26th in 2013.

Global Student Satisfaction Awards 2019

GSSA 2019

The Global Student Satisfaction Awards empower students across the globe to determine the best universities of 2019. By rating institutions on a scale from 1 to 5, on multiple studies-related questions, we found the top educators in the world.

Learn more about the Global Student Satisfaction Awards

University Ranking

World University Rankings by Times Higher Education
501 100
World University Rankings is a vital resource that provides the definitive list of the world's best universities.
QS World University Rankings by TopUniversities
571 -60
511 -10
QS World University Rankings is one of the top international rankings measuring the popularity and performance of universities all over the world.
Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report
822 28
Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report presents all the top universities from the U.S. and 60 other countries around the world.
Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University
ARWU World University rankings is the first world university ranking. It ranks the world's top 1000 colleges and universities based on objective indicator.


The University of Costa Rica offers the students a wide variety of services and resources. Through these services, the University seeks to complement the student’s formation process, development and college experience. Some of these services available to students are:

  • The Office of Orientation, part of the Vice Rectory of Student Affairs, accompanies the students during their admission process, first year, permanence and graduation at the University of Costa Rica. This office seeks to create growth opportunities for the students through projects and services according to their needs, in coordination with the Academic Units and other offices of the Vice Rectory of Student Affairs.
  • The Scholarship and Socioeconomic Assistance Program is intended for students with limited financial resources, and for those who stand out for academic excellence or participate in certain areas of institutional interest. The purpose of this program is to help students during their course of studies until they graduate.
  • The Office of the Student Ombudsperson (DEFEU, for its abbreviation in Spanish) is responsible for ensuring compliance with the University of Costa Rica students’ rights. It is an autonomous, non-partisan body serving undergraduate and graduate students from all the University’s Campuses.
  • The DEFEU offers dialogue-oriented counseling and agreement resolutions between students and the Administration, complying with the institutional regulations. It addresses complaints related to order and discipline, handles plagiarism cases, and student academic procedures such as grades and tests claims, disputes between faculty and students, scholarship and additional benefits applications, and course load justification.
  • The Libraries, Information and Documentation System (SIBDI, for its abbreviation in Spanish) offers the University community a range of on-site and online services in order to stimulate creativity in scientific work and promote the assimilation, transformation and generation of knowledge. Some of the services offered by the SIBDI are the lending and returning of bibliographic materials; meeting rooms, auditorium and audiovisual equipment loan; photocopying service, map library, projection and hearing of audio and visual material.
  • With over 5300 copies of exclusively Costa Rican production, the University Bookstore offers a wide range of books in all genres and related to the fields of study of the institution. The store is located south of the Saprissa building in San Pedro, Montes de Oca, and there are tables and chairs available for reading inside. The bookstore also offers a layaway program with small payments and long-term installments, as well as a catalog and an online shopping system for local and international customers.
  • The Student Mobility Section of the Office of International Affairs and External Cooperation has agreements with various foreign universities to promote a bilateral exchange of undergraduate, graduate and independent students.
  • The Information Technology Center (CI, for its abbreviation in Spanish) provides computing services to the students of the University of Costa Rica on telephone, networks, equipment, support and consultancy.
  • The University of Costa Rica maintains a zero tolerance sexual harassment policy, confirmed through regulations that protect the University community. To achieve this, the University has specialized personnel who handle queries, complaints and denouncements. An interdisciplinary team is available to support the victims legally and psychologically. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, occurring once or several times, causing detrimental effects on the victim.
  • Assigned to the Department of Health and Welfare, part of the Vice-Rectory of Student Affairs, this unit seeks to promote, encourage and assist on the integral formation of the University community through Representative Sport, Recreation, and Artistic Practice.
  • The Representative Sport Area offers Minor League programs in disciplines like fencing, judo, karate, swimming and taekwondo. It also offers talent developing in chess, male and female soccer, swimming and taekwondo; and fencing, judo, karate-do and masters swimming Sports Clubs. The Recreation Area offers yoga, personal defense, archery, jujitsu, mountaineering, rugby, aerobic choreography, taekwondo, swimming, tennis and aquatic therapy classes. Additionally, the Recreation Area manages the University Fitness Center, open to students, staff, alumni and the general public.
  • The University of Costa Rica offers the university community and residents of Montes de Oca and Goicoechea, a sports complex with large green spaces and optimum facilities to practice various sports such as swimming, athletics, volleyball, basketball, tennis and softball. This space also includes the iconic Ecological Stadium, home of University of Costa Rica Soccer Club.
  • The Ecological Stadium has a natural grass field and a synthetic athletic track that allow high performance athletes to train. The stadium is surrounded by trees and vegetation that protect the public from the sun.To facilitate access, the institution provides an internal shuttle bus that transports users from Rodrigo Facio Campus to the Sports Complex, stopping by the Research Complex and vice versa.
  • The School of Modern Languages offers English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and German courses for people over 18 years of age, (14 years old and older for Japanese courses), bimonthly (10 weeks) or quarterly (13 weeks). At the end of the program or level (varies by language), the student receives a certificate of achievement.
  • The Confucius Institute of the University of Costa Rica is in charge of the Program for Dissemination of the Chinese Culture, which offers Mandarin and Chinese culture courses to the general public, under the international certification HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) issued by the Chinese Confucius Institute.
  • The Office of Financial Management (OAF, for its abbreviation in Spanish) provides financial services like certified accounting and budget control. For this purpose, teller stations are available to the University community on the first floor of the Administrative Building A at the Rodrigo Facio Campus as well as at the Regional Campuses. Users can pay there for their tuition, for certified statements, copies of the academic records, and admission or sufficiency tests.
  • The Bank of Costa Rica offers the University community a range of financial services such as savings options, current accounts and credit options.
  • The School of Statistics has a Statistical Services Unit offering free consulting to staff and students from public universities of the country. Private consulting is available for the general public.
  • The Office of General Services (OSG, for its abbreviation in Spanish) manages contracted services such as security and surveillance, institutional and students photocopying, multifunctional equipment renting, fumigation, cleaning and catering.
  • At the Línea U Store, the Office of Communication and Information (ODI, for its abbreviation in Spanish) offers promotional products designed under the principles of the new graphic line of the University of Costa Rica.
  • Child care centers are located at the different campuses of the University of Costa Rica and they are part of the Institutional Comprehensive University Care Program for children under 6 years, of the Vice Rectory of Social Outreach.

Student Life

The University of Costa Rica houses a permanent average population of 40 000 students, distributed between its main campus and its regional campuses.The main campus of the University of Costa Rica is the Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, named after Rodrigo Facio Brenes, former President of the University who in the 50s and 60s led the reform that had made of the Institution one of the best known in the hemisphere.The Rodrigo Facio Campus is located in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, very close to the heart of the capital city, just three kilometers eastward of San Jose downtown, and it is divided into three large sectors:

  • The first and oldest covers a total area of 31.5 hectares and consists of most of the academic and administrative buildings with more than 200 000 square meters constructed.
  • The second sector is the Ciudad de la Investigación of the University of Costa Rica. This research city is located to the north-east of the main campus and houses in 21 hectares twelve research units, two academic units, a daycare center for students’ children, a student residence, and a planetarium donated by the Government of Japan.
  • The third sector is composed of the sports facilities. In an area of 25 hectares, it includes the School of Physical Education and Sports, three multipurpose gyms, a swimming area with two pools, and a stadium – the Estadio Ecológico. It also has areas to practice tennis, beach volleyball, soccer, basketball, and outdoors athletics.
  • The delicate balance between the colorful buildings and the natural beauty of the campus is its most striking feature. Abundant green areas, an impressive variety of trees that flourish at different times of the year, birds species that have set their roots in this natural context, and even the presence of two biological reserves, plus the many areas for students to coexist, interact, and study constitute the permanent scenario of the Rodrigo Facio campus. These features have turned the campus into a must-see destination for the many tourists that visit our country every year.


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