Universities

University degrees, tuition and application process

The Mexican higher education system is divided into three steps. The first Mexican university degree is the Licenciatura, which normally takes four years to finish.

Universities

In some careers like architecture, medicine or engineering the Licenciatura takes five years, in medical studies six years. The Licenciatura is completed with a final exam and a thesis. If you do a Masters (Maestría) after your Licenciatura, this can often replace the thesis of the Licenciatura (which means you finish your Licenciatura studies, then go onto a Masters degree and get your final Licenciatura degree together with your Masters degree).

The Mexican Licenciatura is often compared to a US-Bachelor degree, though in reality the studies are longer than those of a Bachelor. Many Mexican students finish their studies with their Licenciatura and start working in a professional field.

Alternatively you can move onto a Masters (Maestría) degree after your Licenciatura, which usually takes two years. Mexican Masters degrees are comparable to those of the US and other countries.

The Doctorado is the highest university qualification in Mexico. To be accepted to a doctoral programme you usually need a Maestría, although in some exceptional cases universities also accept a Licenciatura. Foreign titles are also accepted for entering a Doctorado, but in most cases they have to be equivalent to a Masters degree (some special foreign degrees like the German Magister or Diplom are also accepted). The recognition of foreign titles can be done by the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Publica) or a Mexican university. Ask your preferred university for details.

A Mexican Doctorado usually takes three years to finish. In general Mexican Doctorados are much more regulated than in many other countries and usually include a fixed plan for classes and examinations.

Mexican universities

There are more than 500 public and 700 private universities in Mexico, with the vast majority still visiting a public university. The biggest university is the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) with 250.000 students.

The quality of education varies greatly between universities: while the best institutions reach top international education standards, there are also some universities with education standards far below those of Western Europe or the US.

Some of the best universities in Mexico (though not all of them) are private institutions. If you want to study at a private university in Mexico, be aware that tuition fees can be very high and often reach US-standard. You should also make sure that the private university is recognised by the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Publica), as only state-recognised diplomas are officially valid for many careers in Mexico.

Applying to a Mexican university

Due to high demand and limited places, many Mexican universities only accept a fraction of Mexican applicants each year. Nevertheless foreign students are usually very welcome, though some universities require a formal entry test from them. The exact application requirements can usually be found at the website of the respective university.

If you are going to study in Mexico through a university exchange programme you will usually apply through your home university.

Since almost all university courses are held Spanish in Mexico you usually need a good knowledge of Spanish to study there. Many universities offer special Spanish courses for foreign students during the semester. You can find more information on this at the website of the Mexican university association ANUIES .

In some careers like architecture, medicine or engineering the Licenciatura takes five years, in medical studies six years. The Licenciatura is completed with a final exam and a thesis. If you do a Masters (Maestría) after your Licenciatura, this can often replace the thesis of the Licenciatura (which means you finish your Licenciatura studies, then go onto a Masters degree and get your final Licenciatura degree together with your Masters degree).

The Mexican Licenciatura is often compared to a US-Bachelor degree, though in reality the studies are longer than those of a Bachelor. Many Mexican students finish their studies with their Licenciatura and start working in a professional field.

Alternatively you can move onto a Masters (Maestría) degree after your Licenciatura, which usually takes two years. Mexican Masters degrees are comparable to those of the US and other countries.

The Doctorado is the highest university qualification in Mexico. To be accepted to a doctoral programme you usually need a Maestría, although in some exceptional cases universities also accept a Licenciatura. Foreign titles are also accepted for entering a Doctorado, but in most cases they have to be equivalent to a Masters degree (some special foreign degrees like the German Magister or Diplom are also accepted). The recognition of foreign titles can be done by the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Publica) or a Mexican university. Ask your preferred university for details.

A Mexican Doctorado usually takes three years to finish. In general Mexican Doctorados are much more regulated than in many other countries and usually include a fixed plan for classes and examinations.

Mexican universities

There are more than 500 public and 700 private universities in Mexico, with the vast majority still visiting a public university. The biggest university is the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) with 250.000 students.

The quality of education varies greatly between universities: while the best institutions reach top international education standards, there are also some universities with education standards far below those of Western Europe or the US.

Some of the best universities in Mexico (though not all of them) are private institutions. If you want to study at a private university in Mexico, be aware that tuition fees can be very high and often reach US-standard. You should also make sure that the private university is recognised by the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Publica), as only state-recognised diplomas are officially valid for many careers in Mexico.

Applying to a Mexican university

Due to high demand and limited places, many Mexican universities only accept a fraction of Mexican applicants each year. Nevertheless foreign students are usually very welcome, though some universities require a formal entry test from them. The exact application requirements can usually be found at the website of the respective university.

If you are going to study in Mexico through a university exchange programme you will usually apply through your home university.

Since almost all university courses are held Spanish in Mexico you usually need a good knowledge of Spanish to study there. Many universities offer special Spanish courses for foreign students during the semester. You can find more information on this at the website of the Mexican university association ANUIES .

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