University of Chile

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University of Chile
Universidad de Chile
Coat of arms of the University of Chile.svg
Type Public
EstablishedNovember 19, 1842;178 years ago (1842-11-19)
Academic affiliation
McDonnell International Scholars Academy
President Ennio Vivaldi Véjar
Academic staff
Students38,456 (2020)
Undergraduates 33,274
Postgraduates 5,182
CampusCampus Andrés Bello
Campus Beauchef
Campus Juan Gómez Millas
Campus Norte
Campus Sur
MascotChuncho (Austral pygmy owl)

The University of Chile (Spanish : Universidad de Chile) is a public university in Santiago, Chile. It was founded on November 19, 1842 and inaugurated on September 17, 1843. [1] It is the oldest and the most prestigious in the country along with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. It was established as the continuation of the former colonial Royal University of San Felipe (1738) [2] (Spanish: Real Universidad de San Felipe), and has a rich history in academic, scientific and social outreach. The university seeks to solve national and regional issues and to contribute to the development of Chile. It is recognized as one of the best universities in Latin America for its leadership and innovation in science, technology, social sciences, and arts through the functions of creation, extension, teaching, and research.


Its five campuses comprise more than 3.1 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) of research buildings, health care centers, museums, theaters, observatories, and sports infrastructure. [3] The institution has more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students, offering more than 60 different bachelor and professional degrees, 38 doctoral programs and 116 master programs. [4]

Notable alumni include Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, and twenty Chilean presidents. [5]

Rankings and quality accreditation

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World [6] 301–400 (2020)
QS World [7] 180 (2021)

The QS University Ranking ranks the University of Chile as the fourth in Latin America and 180 in the world for year 2021. The school boasts an outstanding 100 points in both Academic and Employer Reputation categories. [8] The world ranking of universities, elaborated by Shanghai JiaoTong University (China) and the European Union based on research sciences indicators, places it among the 400 best universities in the world. [9] SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) makes a characterization of institutions based on research, innovation and visibility on the web, and in 2017 report on investigation, which included more than 4,500 institutions of higher education and other centers in the world, the University of Chile ranked first in Chile, 10 in Latin America and 424 in the world. [10]

Another study which highlights the performance of this institution is the Ranking Web of Universities (Webometrics), which measures the presence and impact on the web of over 11,000 universities and qualifies this college as leader of the country, six in Latin America and 371 worldwide. [11]

In the 2016 version of the ranking made by AméricaEconomía, University of Chile was ranked first in Chile with the top rating in quality indicators of research, accreditation, infrastructure and inclusion. [12]


In December 21, 2011 the University of Chile was notified by the National Accreditation Commission (CNA) of the positive evaluation in all obligatory areas (institutional management and undergraduate teaching) and electives (research, teaching graduate and linkage with medium). Thus the University is accredited by seven years, the maximum awarded by the agency, for the period between 2011 and 2018. [13]

The University of Chile, the Catholic University and the University of Concepción are the only institutions in this country that have the highest accreditation.


Andres Bello, founder and first president of the institution AndresBello cropped.png
Andrés Bello, founder and first president of the institution
Main House in 1872 U de Chile 1872.jpg
Main House in 1872

In 1841 the minister of public education, Manuel Montt, conceived the idea of funding a corporation for the "advancement and development of sciences and humanities". Andrés Bello a Venezuelan poet and humanist, formulated the project which with small modifications became a law on November 19, 1842, creating the Universidad de Chile. [1]

The foundation answered the need to modernize the country which a little more than two decades before had become independent from Spain. It replaced the Real Universidad de San Felipe, which was established in 1738. [2]

The University was formally opened on September 17, 1843. During this period, the university consisted of five faculties (facultades): Humanities & Philosophy, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Law & Political Sciences, Medicine, and Theology. During its first years the University gave considerable support to education, institutional organization (such as the "Civil Code", a model for America), the building of the road network to join together the territory, and the energy and production infrastructure.

By 1931, the number of colleges had increased to six: Philosophy & Education Sciences, Legal & Social Sciences, Biology & Medical Sciences, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Agronomy & Veterinary, and Fine Arts.

The institution has also contributed to the formation of the intellectual elites and leaders of the country. Most of the Chilean presidents have studied in its lecture halls, as well as people with prominent roles in politics, business and culture.

Major reforms during the military regime of 1973–1989

During Augusto Pinochet's military regime from 1973 to 1989, the University experienced many profound changes. On October 2, 1973, Decree number 50 of 1973 stated that the University's presidents would be designated by the military regime. [14]

The second major change came on January 3, 1981, when another decree completely restructured the University. All of its provincial campuses were separated, [15] cojoined with provincial campuses of the Universidad Técnica del Estado (now Universidad de Santiago de Chile and Universidad de Atacama) and designated as separate universities, such as the Universidad de Talca, Universidad de Valparaiso, the Instituto Pedagógico (Pedagogical Institute, now the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación), the Universidad de Antofagasta, the Universidad de Tarapacá, Instituto Professional de Osorno (now Universidad de los Lagos), Instituto Professional de Chillán (now Universidad del Bío-Bío), Universidad de la Frontera, and Universidad de la Serena. Some faculties, such as the one located in avenida Portugal and which now belongs to the Universidad Mayor, were privatized and sold at bargain prices to Pinochet cronies.

These changes were orchestrated by influential advisors to the dictatorship as a way to moderate the University's influence on the nation's politics, economics, public policies and intellectual movements, considered leftist by Augusto Pinochet and other right-wing government officials.

In spite of the complete restructuring of the University of Chile, it still remains Chile's most prestigious university in terms of research, applicant preferences and social impact.[ citation needed ]


The university's community involves the collaboration of academics, students and staff, who perform the tasks that establish its mission and functions.


Vice Presidencies

The University of Chile is organized into five Vice Presidencies (Vicerrectorías): [16]

Faculty and institutes

Faculty of Economics and Business Tecnoaulas Building at night Fen nocturna.jpg
Faculty of Economics and Business Tecnoaulas Building at night
School of Medicine, North Campus FacmedUCh PC02.jpg
School of Medicine, North Campus

Currently there are 14 faculties and four interdisciplinary institutes which perform academic tasks undergraduate, graduate, research and extension.

Academic information

The University of Chile offers undergraduate and graduate programs in all areas of knowledge, whose quality has been recognized by the National Accreditation Commission with the maximum score in both areas (2011–2018). [17]


The University has a total of 69 study programs, 55 of which are conducive to professional degrees and 14 degrees terminales. Alongside this imparts the Academic Bachelor's Program, which reports directly to the Vice Presidencies of Academic Affairs. [18]

The admission to the programs is through a selection test (Prueba de Selección Universitaria) or the Academic Bachelor's Program. The University also offers special admission to outstanding athletes, blind students, people with media studies in other countries, ethnic agreements, internal career changes and people with studies in other schools. [19]

Alongside this the institution implemented in 2012 an exclusive way of admission called the Sistema de Ingreso Prioritario de Equidad (SIPEE) for students of public system with special vacancies in all careers. Also, in 2014 the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences initiated the Programa de Equidad de Género (PEG) [20] with special vacancies for the first 40 women applicants who remain on the waiting list.


The University of Chile has the largest and most complex postgraduate system in the country, formed with 36 doctoral programs, 116 master's programs, 38 graduate programs and 69 specialized courses. [21]


Chemistry laboratory Laboratorio Quimica U de Chile.jpg
Chemistry laboratory

Basic research projects

The University of Chile is the main Chilean institution in scientific and technological research. It is responsible for a third of the scientific publications and also for the implementation of a high percentage of competitive research projects in most academic fields, including basic sciences, technologies, humanities, social sciences and arts. [22]

Applied research projects

Projects funded by the Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDEF): 30 projects currently ongoing, in the areas of Education, Health, Engineering and Agriculture, Forestry and Animal Sciences. Financed by CORFO (Corporation for Fostering Production): [23]

Campuses and infrastructure

School of Engineering Entrance in Beauchef Campus. The Bello orthography used in it was developed by Andres Bello. FrontisEscueladeInjenieria.jpg
School of Engineering Entrance in Beauchef Campus. The Bello orthography used in it was developed by Andrés Bello.

The University has 3,168,373 m2 of urban land, 648,502 m2 of built land in use and 103,884,600 hectares of agricultural land. [24]


The institution has five campuses, all distributed within the metropolitan area.

Main House. Casa Central de la Universidad de Chile.jpg
Main House.

Main House

In 1872 this emblematic building was opened, with neoclassical frontage that spans in the Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins in Santiago's downtown. The design is the work of Lucien Ambroise Henault, and Fermín Vivaceta was in charge of the construction.

Libraries and digital resources

The catalog has more than 3 million books, journals, theses and other bibliographic records available to 48 libraries of the University. The libraries are distributed in 27,536 square meters, where there are 5.278 reading places and 1.082 computers for use of the University community. [24] The Digital Library [25] provides access to over 50,000,000 documents: books, theses, journals and articles, and digitized historical value as maps, manuscripts, sheet music, crafts, photographs, audio and movies objects

The electronic publications of the University of Chile are available freely accessible through the following resources: Institutional Repository, [26] Academic journals [27] and Portal of books. [28]


Through the stable artistic sets of Extension Center Arts and Culture "Domingo Santa Cruz" (CEAC), museums, exhibition halls and theaters University performs dissemination and extension work. [29]

Ballet Nacional Chileno (BANCH) Banch by La pollera.jpg
Ballet Nacional Chileno (BANCH)

Performing arts

Museums and galleries


Significant facts

Caracolas (shells) collection donated by Pablo Neruda in the Central Archive Andres Bello Caracolas de Neruda.jpg
Caracolas (shells) collection donated by Pablo Neruda in the Central Archive Andrés Bello

The University of Chile is in charge of a variety of nationwide services and institutions, including:

There are more than twenty other centres of national and international importance.


Notable alumni

From this university have graduated, or done academic work, many intellectuals and prominent Chilean leaders. Among them are 20 presidents of the Republic of Chile, 3 presidents of other Latin American countries, 172 Chilean National Award recipients and two Nobel laureates. [43]

The university granted the academic title of Spanish Professor in 1923 to Gabriela Mistral, although her formal education ended before she was 12 years old. Gabriela Mistral 1945.jpg
The university granted the academic title of Spanish Professor in 1923 to Gabriela Mistral, although her formal education ended before she was 12 years old.

Nobel laureates

Presidents of Chile

Presidents of other countries

Notable professors

See also

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  18. Requisitos generales de postulación
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  29. Memoria chilena, Eloísa Díaz y Amanda Labarca
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  31. Educarchile, Amanda Labarca.
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  35. "Oración del Rector de la Universidad de Chile, don Juan Gómez Millas" 21 de enero de 1957
  36. Grandes figuras, Premio Nobel “Pablo Neruda como estudiante”
  37. Donación de los libros y caracolas del poeta, a la Universidad de Chile
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  39. Eolian: Primer auto solar chileno parte a la World Solar Challenge Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
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