Reggae music, Bob Marley, Rastafarianism, crystal-clear waters, and white sand beaches are some of the things that come to mind when thinking about one of the biggest countries in the Caribbean: Jamaica. Beyond touristic places and fun activities, Jamaica has many more elements the world should get to know. Their cultural mixture, historical background, and amazing citizens make it not only a great country to visit, but also a fantastic destination to study. In this article, we will be looking at cheap universities in Jamaica.

Jamaica’s higher education system has gone through important reformations in recent years. Considering that it became an independent country less than 60 years ago, the governments have made important efforts to leave the traces of slavery and colonialism behind.

That’s why they now have different universities that have adapted to the necessities of today’s job market. They also have many affiliations and cooperation programs with other countries, and the country has become the location for satellite campuses of other universities.

How is the higher education system in Jamaica?

Tertiary education in Jamaica is divided into many types of institutions to address the necessities of the population. They have vocational schools, which grant certificates to those who need to enter the job market faster. Teachers are educated at colleges specifically made for them.

Besides universities, Jamaica also has colleges, but they aren’t accredited to grant bachelor, master, or doctoral degrees. Universities are the only institutions that grant them. There are some exceptions, which is the case of colleges that are affiliated with universities and grant bachelor degrees through special programs.

Bachelor’s degree programs last between three and four years. Majors related to health last for five years. Master’s degree programs usually last for two years and doctoral degree programs last for three years.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


How is the admissions process at Jamaican universities?

As Jamaica has a parliamentary constitutional monarchy and its education system is based on the British model, A-levels are usually required to be admitted. The Caribbean also has its own equivalent for A-level exams, which is called Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). Universities accept any of those two examinations.

There’s another option for students that already have a certificate from a college. Some universities accept these certificates instead of examinations. In most cases, they require diplomas from a 3-year program.


Are universities in Jamaica expensive?

There are many factors that will determine the cost of your studies in Jamaica. Besides the major and the university, your nationality and the program you choose are important.

Universities calculate tuition based on the nationality of the student. There’s usually a fee for local students, one for students from the Caribbean, and one for students that come from other countries. However, some universities have cooperation programs with countries outside the Caribbean, so in that case, students from that country will pay a different fee.

Then, there is the program you choose. As it happens in other countries, technology and health majors are more expensive. If the program you choose is affiliated with universities in other countries, especially those that offer joint degrees with British universities, the program will have different fees. There’s also a wide variety of online programs, which are usually cheaper.

It is hard to calculate a general average, but you expect to pay between 2,000 USD and 10,000 USD per academic year.


What is the language of instruction at Jamaican universities?

English is Jamaica’s official language; therefore, all programs at universities are available in English.

We encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of the cultural richness of Jamaica by learning another language! Jamaican Patois is spoken everywhere in the country and mixes elements from English, Spanish, African languages, and Portuguese.

They also learn Spanish at school, so a good portion of people who completed secondary education can speak it to a certain degree.


Is living in Jamaica expensive?

Living in Jamaica can be affordable if you avoid tourist areas and shops. Remember that tourism is the most important industry here, but you won’t be a mere tourist, so be smart and get the prices locals pay.

Their official currency is the Jamaican Dollar (JMD), and 10,000 JMD are 74 USD approx.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment can cost between 35,000 JMD (260 USD approx.) and 70,000 JMD (520 USD approx.) depending on the area. Most universities have dormitories with cheaper rent, so make sure to apply early to get a place.

If you buy your groceries at local markets instead of malls, 100 USD per month will be more than enough. You may find that some basic products are surprisingly expensive, and it’s because most of them are imported.

As for transportation, if you use public transportation regularly, your monthly budget should be of 45 USD approx.


Cheap Universities in Jamaica

1. University of the West Indies at Mona (UWI)

Opened 71 years ago, the University of the West Indies (UWI) was created with the objective of addressing the necessities in the field of education in the Caribbean. It provides education to 17 Caribbean countries and has five campuses in different nations. One of them is located in Mona, Jamaica.

Around 18,000 students receive education in one of the six faculties at this cheap university in Jamaica. UWI ranked between the 501st and 600th best universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

The admissions process depends on your nationality and requirements depend on your student status and major. Some majors have age restrictions and ask for specific documents. We suggest carefully reading the admissions section. Download the handbook, and please read the international section.

Tuition fees are divided into different categories which are for students that come from contributing countries and for students that are from a non-contributing country. Students that entered through special admissions pay a lot less than the rest.

Tuition fees go from 2,050 USD to 15,000 USD. Be careful when checking the list because they mix JMD and USD in the same table and depending on the program, fees are calculated in different ways (per course, per credit, full time, part-time, etc).


2. Northern Caribbean University (NCU)

Established more than 100 years ago, the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has four different campuses throughout Jamaica. These are located in Mandeville, Salem, Kingston, and Montego Bay.

In 2019, more than 5,000 students chose one of their 12 graduate programs or one of their more than 60 undergraduate programs.

They accept different examinations and certificates as part of your application. Check their admissions section to see the undergraduate requirements, graduate requirements, the application process, and the guidelines for international students.

Tuition fees at NCU are calculated per semester. They go from 3,402 USD to 6,063 USD for international students. They also have student residences and prices per semester go from 835 USD to 1,947 USD. Contact them to learn more.


3. the University of Technology, Jamaica (Utech, Ja.)

The University of Technology, Jamaica (Utech, Ja.) was founded in 1958 and currently has more than 12,000 students. It has four campuses which are Papine, Arthur Wint Drive, Slipe Pen Road, and the Western Campus (Montego Bay).

Utech has five faculties of education and liberal studies, science and sport, engineering and computing, the built environment, and law. There are also three colleges of health sciences, business and management, and medicine, oral health, and veterinary sciences at this cheap university in Jamaica.

To get more details about admissions, read their guidelines and check the handbook for international students. Check their FAQ section to learn more.

Tuition fees go from 6,715 USD to 29,435 USD. Most undergraduate degree programs stay below 12,000 USD but majors related to health are significantly more expensive. They also have student residences available.


4. International University of the Caribbean (IUC)

The International University of the Caribbean (IUC) is a higher institution that was recently created. It opened its doors in 2005 and has slowly been obtaining accreditation for the programs it offers.

IUC currently has 12 undergraduate degree programs offered part-time and full-time, and seven postgraduate degree programs.

Check their admissions section to learn how to apply and the documents you need.

The academic year at IUC is divided into three periods. If you are pursuing a postgraduate degree, tuition fees are calculated per credit. Each credit costs 220 USD. Undergraduate degree programs cost 255,000 JMD, which is around 2,000 USD.

5. University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC)

The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) is another relatively new higher institution, as it was founded in 2004. However, it was created after merging two Jamaican institutes. This university is partnered with other universities in the Caribbean region, the U.S., and the U.K.

Over 5,000 students are educated at one of the six campuses of UCC, which are located in Ocho Rios, Kingston, Mary Pen, Montego Bay, and Mandeville. It has a college of graduate studies and research and three schools of business and management, technology and mathematics, and humanities and law.

UCC has 22 bachelor’s degree programs, 12 master’s degree programs, and two doctorate degree programs. This cheap university in Jamaica also gives you the option of studying online. There are 8 undergraduate online programs, 3 graduate online programs, and 2 online courses.

Check their prospective students’ section to learn more about admissions and requirements. We also suggest you read the handbook because guidelines for international students are clearer there.

Tuition fees are calculated according to credits. For undergraduate programs, each credit costs 100 USD. For graduate programs, fees per year go from 10,500 USD to 12,500. If you need financial aid, check all the scholarships available at UCC.


6. The Mico University College (The Mico)

The Mico University College or The Mico is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the region. The Mico opened its doors during the British colonies, in 1836, and was the only university from that time that survived to our days. It started as a school to train teachers, and although it now specializes in many areas, The Mico still stands out for its education programs.

The Mico currently has three faculties of science and technology, humanities and liberal arts, and education. It also has two schools, one museum, one research center, and one care center.

Check their admissions section to get details about the process and requirements. Depending on the major, there are extra requirements.

Tuition fees for undergraduate programs vary depending on the year of the program. They are usually cheaper towards the end of the programs. The cost of the first year is 344,802 JMD (2,600 USD approx.). Tuition fees for graduate programs are calculated per credit. The cost of credits goes from 10,000 JMD (75 USD approx.) to 33,440 JMD (250 USD approx.):

They also have student residences available. Additionally, check their scholarships section to get financial aid.


7. All American Institute of Medical Sciences (AAIMS)

If you are interested in pursuing a major in the medical field, the All American Institute of Medical Sciences (AAIMS) is the place for you. It is located in Black River and is partnered with institutions in the U.S.

This cheap university in Jamaica offers two programs: a pre-med program and an M.D. program. The first one grants an Associate Degree in Health Sciences and lasts for four semesters (90 credits). It was designed to prepare prospective students for the M.D. program.

The second one is the M.D. program. The program is similar to medical programs in the U.S.: the first two years consist of foundational work and practices, and the last two years consist of clinical rotations. Actually, students must pass the USMLE Step 1 to start the third year of the program and they have the option of completing their clinical rotations in the U.S.

Click here to learn how to apply to AAIMS and here to learn more about the requirements. They also accept transfer students from other institutions.

Tuition fees are calculated per semester. For the pre-med program, each semester costs 4,200 USD. For the M.D. program, semesters during the first two years cost 6,000 each, and during the last two years, they cost 7,200 USD. Check their student handbook and contact them to get more information.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Jamaica was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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