Santiago: Catholic University of Chile Exchange Program

Final App Deadline: 
Friday, February 5, 2021
Language Requirement: 
Lauren Schneider

The College’s program at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (CUC), in Santiago, Chile, affords qualified Chicago students an opportunity to study at one of the strongest and most respected universities in Latin America. This is an intense academic immersion program in which students study their subject by taking regular courses at the CUC alongside degree-seeking students at that university. The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, founded in 1888, is a highly regarded comprehensive university, offering instruction in most of the normal “arts and sciences” subjects. It plays host to hundreds of international students, many of them coming through exchange agreements with major American universities (including Chicago). Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, is a major financial, political, and cultural center.

Because of the mismatch of academic calendars between CUC and Chicago—the former, as a Southern Hemisphere institution, operates on a two-semester calendar running from March to December—students will normally participate in this program during Chicago’s autumn quarter, taking courses in CUC’s second semester (August to December). Normally students take three or four courses, each equivalent to one credit at Chicago (and yielding the normal three or four credits for the quarter). Note that one of these courses will be a Spanish language course, while the other two or three will be substantive courses chosen from the CUC course catalog.


You will arrange your own housing in Santiago. Normally students will choose accommodation in a private home, arranged through a homestay agency in Santiago. These placements include a private room, all meals (lunches may be prepared to go), laundry, and internet access.  Alternatively, you may choose to secure an apartment or a student residence, though you will have to do this on your own. Whatever living situation you choose, you must make direct payment in Santiago. Chicago does not act as a billing agent, go-between, or guarantor in these transactions.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Santiago Exchange Program remain registered as full-time students in the College. As an autumn-term (CUC second semester, Chicago autumn quarter) participant in this program, you will enroll in four semester courses, a comfortably manageable load according to past participants. You will normally receive one credit (=100 units or one course) for each of your CUC courses. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on your Chicago transcript.

CUC offers courses in the following disciplines:

Aesthetics (Art history) Journalism
Agriculture Law
Architecture Letters, Literature
Arts Mathematics
Astronomy Medicine
Biochemistry Music
Biology Nursing
Business Pharmacy
Chemistry Philosophy
Civil Construction Physics
Design Political Science
Drama Psychology
Economics Social Work
Education Sociology
Engineering (IT, Tel., others) Theology
Geography Translation
History Urban Studies

The following academic areas have restrictions:

  • Music: Only theory courses.
  • Medicine: Only certain theoretical courses in public health and clinical rotations.
  • Economics and Administrative Sciences: Courses restricted to applicants who fulfill the requirements of each course.
  • Psychology Courses: Students in their second to fourth year in the major may apply.
  • Biological Sciences: Marine Biology courses are restricted.
  • Art Courses: Art courses are available just to art major applicants.
  • Physical Education Courses: Students must bring their personal equipment to class, according to the sport of interest.

You may browse CUC’s course catalog online.


Santiago Exchange Program participants pay regular College tuition and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition is paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Students pay living expenses, including housing, food, books, travel, and incidentals while in Santiago. Precise figures for the Santiago Exchange Program for the 2020-21 year are listed below:

Autumn Tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Out-of-pocket expenses include:
round-trip airfare to and from the program site
transportation on site
course materials
personal entertainment and travel
communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
health insurance and upfront payments for care
other miscellaneous expenses

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section. 

Eligibility and Application

The Santiago Exchange Program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

For most students the third or fourth year is the most appropriate time to participate in this program. It is open to all majors. Because you will be attending regular CUC courses, taught largely in Spanish to native Chileans, there is a firm expectation that your Spanish will be at a high-functioning level. Officially, you will be required to have Spanish coursework beyond the intermediate level (at least one course beyond SPAN 20300) before the beginning of the program and to have earned a minimum average of B+ in these courses. While the program specifies no minimum overall grade-point average, the admissions process is competitive, and you will be expected to present a transcript showing solid and sustained work, not only in Spanish, but in your major courses. In general this is a challenging program, which assumes a high level of independence and resourcefulness.

In order to apply to this program you must first complete Chicago’s study abroad profile via the online application. Once you have completed this profile you will then select “Santiago Exchange Program” under the program list for program applications and click apply.Here you will be able to submit your intent to apply and will be given explicit instructions for completing the Santiago Exchange Application

Further Information

To discuss the Santiago: Catholic University of Chile Exchange Program program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Lauren Schneider.

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