Most people know little about Chile. That may be due to the geographic location of the country … Studying in Chile is a great opportunity to get to know this extraordinary country better.
Get to know Chile
Located behind the majestic Andes, as a country located in South America according to timedictionary, Chile extends over a length of 4,300 kilometers and an average width of just 180 kilometers along the southwest coast of South America . Here it can seem as if you are at the “end of the world” – that means chili in the language of the indigenous people.
The unique landscapes of Chile reinforce this impression. In the north lies the dry Atacama Desert, where as far as the eye can see nothing but cacti and bizarre lunar landscapes. Active volcanoes, hissing geysers and picturesque lakes are found in the high plateaus of the Andes. In the south stretch the ice fields of Patagonia, impressive fjord landscapes and evergreen rainforests. In the middle of the country, on the other hand, there is a Mediterranean climate. There are extensive, green wine-growing areas and also the capital of the country, Santiago de Chile.
University landscape in Chile
For a long time, the Chilean university landscape was very manageable. In 1980 there were only eight universities in Chile. These were predominantly state or church sponsored and some had several regional branches. A comprehensive university reform in 1981 led to the separation of many regional locations from the existing universities and the establishment of numerous new, mainly private universities.
What types of universities are there in Chile today?
Today there are a total of 61 Universidades with almost 560,000 students in Chile . The Universidades can be assigned to different groups depending on how they were created and sponsored:
The Universidades tradicionales emerged from the eight universities that existed before the university reform. They include:
- the currently 16 Universidades estatales with state sponsorship
- the nine Universidades particulares with predominantly church sponsorship
These universities are united in a joint university rectors’ council: the Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Chilenas (CRUCH).
In addition to the Universidades tradicionales, there are currently 36 private universities , the Universidades privadas . All private universities must be checked and officially recognized by the Consejo Superior de Educación (CSE) , which is subordinate to the Ministry of Education . In the first few years after their establishment, they are also considered to be Universidades bajo supervision and are assigned to an older, established university. This controls their curricula and examination regulations. Most of the private universities in Chile have already passed this phase and belong to the independent Universidades privadas autónomas .
In addition to the universities, there are other educational institutions in Chile . Although these are assigned to the university sector, they mainly offer vocational programs :
- the 45 Institutos Profesionales
- the 108 Centros de Formación Técnica de Nivel Superior
There are also around ten Establecimientos de Educación Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas y de Orden . They can best be compared with the German armed forces and administrative colleges.
Study system in Chile
Just like the German, the Chilean university year is also divided into two semesters. The academic year in Chile starts in March, which is why the time frame for a semester abroad should be clarified in advance.
The ideal period for studying abroad in Chile is the autumn semester, which begins in February at the earliest and ends in July.
The study system in Chile is divided into two different study levels. These study levels can be used to explain the Chilean higher education system in comparison to the German degrees.
A first specialty of the undergraduate courses in Chile is the two-year Bachiller. Despite the similar spelling, this first undergraduate degree does not correspond to the German Bachelor’s degree. Only the four to seven-year license courses are comparable to the German bachelor’s degree. The licensing qualification is also the prerequisite for obtaining a title in protected professions. These include, for example, disciplines such as medicine, law or architecture.
Following the Licenciatura degree, there is the option of acquiring a Maestría or doctoral degree, depending on the subject. A Maestría course lasts two years and is equivalent to a master’s degree. The highest academic degree in Chile is the doctoral degree. The doctoral program lasts three to five years.
Studying in Chile: Admission Requirements
The basic requirement for admission to a Bachillerato or Licenciatura course at a Chilean university is a school leaving certificate that corresponds to the Chilean Nivel Secundario . For German applicants, this requirement is fulfilled by acquiring the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) .
In addition to the requirement regarding the school leaving certificate, the Chilean universities are largely free to determine their own entry requirements and restrictions. The allocation of study places at the state and church universities, which have come together in the Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Chilenas , takes place via a central aptitude test : the so-called Prueba de Selección Universitaria (PSU).
Most private universities also use the results of the PSU to select their applicants. However, some of them also have their own entrance exams or selection procedures. International applicants usually have to pass the same tests as domestic applicants. This makes access to complete courses at Chilean universities quite difficult . Especially if the university of your choice is one of those at which taking the PSU is compulsory.
However, it is easier to get admission to a semester abroad in Chile . Proof of having passed the Abitur or a transcript of records from the home university is often sufficient . This must list all courses taken so far. It also serves as proof of enrollment.
Generally speaking, good to very good knowledge of Spanish is required for admission to study in Chile . In fact, classes at almost all universities are exclusively in Spanish.
An exception is once again the admission to a semester abroad : Some Chilean universities offer their international guest students also courses in English as part of special semester programs . These often have a cultural or regional reference. They can often be supplemented by Spanish language courses .