Peru is known worldwide for its history, biodiversity, and food. It is the home of Machu Picchu, a big portion of the Andes and the Amazonian River, and it was the place where the Spanish looked for the secrets of the Inca Empire. And if we talk about Peru in the 21st century, it is the fifth economy in Latin America in terms of GDP and investments have significantly increased in recent years. The higher education system is also great, with many universities that have a lot to offer to international students. In this article, we will be looking at the cheap universities in Peru.

Peru has almost five centuries of expertise in the higher education area. The first university of the American continent was founded in this country, back in 1551. Since then, many more quality universities have been founded, and some of them have earned a place on the international rankings.

The Higher Education System of Peru

Universities in Peru divide into public and private. There are also “Superior Schools”, which specialize only in one area, like arts. There are almost 100 universities but only 36 are public.

Universities also have pre-university centers where prospective students receive an education that prepares them for admission exams, which are done at the majority of higher education institutions.

As it happens in other Latin American countries, bachelor degree programs last for five years, and students have to write a thesis. Master degree programs usually last for two years and doctorates last for three years.

In order to be admitted, all documents must be translated into Spanish and validated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tuition Costs in Peru

Public universities in Peru are free for Peruvian students, and although they are not completely free for international students, they are very affordable. The situation is similar for private universities.

Tuition costs will vary a lot depending on the university because they calculate tuition in different ways. Some calculate it based on the economic situation of each student, some have a flat fee for all the programs, some have a specific fee for each program, and some have a specific fee that depends on the program and the semester.

It is also worth mentioning that tuition fees are calculated according to credits and are usually paid monthly. In general, you can expect to pay between 1,000 USD and 5,000 USD per semester if you take 20 credits approximately.

Language of Instruction in Peruvian Universities

Spanish is the official language of Peru. Therefore, most degree programs are taught in Spanish. Big universities offer some courses and a few programs in English, but you’ll have many more options if you choose to study in Spanish.

There are also a few international universities in the country which have more programs in English.

Living Costs in Peru

Peru is not the most affordable country in Latin America but is definitely on the cheaper side, being more affordable than countries like Brazil, Chile or Ecuador. Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/). 1 S/ is around 0.30 USD.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 360 USD per month, but in the outskirts or in smaller cities, rent can be around 250 USD. The cost of the basic food basket per month is of 100 USD and public transportation can cost around 90 USD.

Cheap Universities in Peru

1. Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP)

We start our list of cheap universities in Peru with the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. It was established in 1917 as a private university and has offered quality education since then. Actually, it has a great reputation and each year ranks as the best or second-best university in Peru. According to the 2020 QS World University Ranking, PUCP was the 474th best in the world.

PUCP has 13 faculties that offer 63 undergraduate degree programs. It also has 70 laboratories and 17 research centers where more than 100 research projects are developed each year. Over 25,000 students receive education in the buildings of PUCP.

This university has different scholarship programs. During the second semester of 2018, students received more than 3,000,000 USD in scholarships.

Admissions at PCUP are done through admission exams. There are different admission modalities depending on the major, so you may also have to go to an interview.

Tuition fees here follow a “scale” system. This means that they are calculated according to the socio-economic situation of each student. This means that a credit could cost between 78 USD to 300 USD. Payments are done monthly and there are 5 payments per semester. To learn more, visit their admissions section.

Take into consideration that they only offer programs in Spanish. There also many exchange programs available.

2. Cayetano Heredia University (UPCH)

Along with PCUP, Cayetano Heredia University (UPCH) is another private university that has a great reputation worldwide. It was established in 1961 and specializes in health sciences. According to the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Ranking, it was between the 501st and 600th best universities. Regarding the QS World University Ranking, it scored a little bit lower, being between the 801st and 900th best universities.

As we said, UPCH specializes in the field of health. It has eight faculties: medicine, veterinary medicine and zootechny, nursing, stomatology, public health and administration, psychology, science and philosophy, and education.

The university is located in the capital city, Lima, and has four campuses throughout the city. It also has five research institutes and five research centers where more than 300 projects are done each year.

Admissions are done through entrance exams. There are different exam modalities and students must register online to start the application process.

Tuition fees are calculated according to a scale depending on the major and the socio-economic situation of the student. Monthly payments could go from S/. 800 (around 240 USD) to S/. 4,100 (around 1250 USD). There are five payments per semester. The only exception is for the bilingual intercultural education major, in which payments could cost up to S/. 7,365 (around 2,180 USD).

3. University of Lima (ULima)

The University of Lima (ULima) is another private university that was founded in 1962. It has two campuses in the city of Lima.

It has five faculties of psychology, law, engineering and architecture, business and economic sciences, communications, and law. They offer 12 bachelor degree programs. There are two double degree programs with universities abroad. There is also a post-graduate school that offers four master degree programs.

The university has four specialized laboratories, one science research institute, one ongoing education center, and specialized programs for entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners.

There are special facilities for the communications and architecture majors that include television studios, recording studios, focus group halls, and design and modeling studios.

Admissions are done through entrance exams and students must register online to start the application process. Check their admissions section to learn more.

Tuition fees are calculated according to categories that depend on the socio-economic situation of students. The cost of credits can go from S/. 401 (around 120 USD) to S/. 867 (around 256 USD). This means that the total cost of a semester (20 credits) could go from 2,400 USD to 5,120 USD. Because of that, this university is considered one of the cheap universities in Peru.

4. University of the Pacific (UP)

The University of the Pacific (UP) was established in 1962 by a group of businessmen which is why it specializes in the areas of the economy, institutional management, and law. In 2018, América Economía Intelligence considered that UP had the best Latin American programs in executive business education.

UP has four faculties that offer nine bachelor degree programs and a post-graduate school that offers 14 programs. The university has a research center that divides into seven areas. It also offers many certification courses, workshops, and seminars.

There are different admission modalities in this cheap university in Peru. For example, there is an entrance exam for those who were on the top half of their high school class. In this case, students have to write an essay, go to an interview, and take an entrance exam. Learn more about admission routes here.

As it happens with a business school in other countries, UP is more expensive than the other Peruvian universities on our list. Tuition fees are calculated according to the socio-economic situation of students. As for 2019, credits can cost between S/. 366 (around 100 USD) and S/. 1,140 (around 340 USD). So, a semester (20 credits) can cost between 2,000 USD and 6,800 USD.

5. Scientific University of the South (UCSUR)

Founded only 21 years ago, the Scientific University of the South (UCSUR) already has a great reputation for its programs in the science field. In 2018, the QS World University Ranking rated UCSUR with five stars in terms of employability and inclusion, and four stars in terms of teaching.

This affordable university in Peru has five faculties that offer 23 bachelor degree programs, 14 master degree programs, and many specialization programs. The university has modern facilities that include a research center, a dentistry center, libraries, and laboratories.

UCSUR has different admission modalities. Along with the regular entrance exam, there is a scholarship program and an admission route for those who are 24 or older and have at least two years of work experience. These are just examples because there are more admission routes that include admissions for distinguished athletes and admissions for those who studied in an international high school.

As with the universities above, tuition fees are calculated according to a scale based on the economic situation of students. Monthly payments can go from S/. 1,389 (around 415 USD) to S/. 4,368 (around 1,300 USD). The cost of a semester can go from 2,075 USD to 6,500 USD.

6. The University of Piura (UDEP)

The University of Piura (UDEP) was established in 1969 and is considered one of the cheap universities in Peru. The university has two campuses: one in the city of Piura and another in the city of Lima.

It has seven faculties of medicine, engineering, communications, economic and business sciences, education sciences, law, and humanities. They offer bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees.

It has different centers and institutes. The centers are of languages, culture, major development, and business families. The institutes are of biomedical sciences, family sciences, and the third institute is a cultural exchange center between UDEP and China.

UDEP has different admissions modalities, which include a full scholarship contest. In order to be admitted, students have to take a general entrance exam. Those who pursue a major in medicine will take a different exam.

Tuition fees are calculated according to a five-category scale based on the economic situation of the students. Monthly payments can go from S/. 1,740 (around 515 USD) to S/. 4,500 (1,340 USD). Then, a semester could go from 2,575 USD to 6,700 USD.

7. Le Cordon Bleu University

We finish our list with an international institution. This cheap university in Peru is one of the many campuses of the French University called Le Cordon Bleu. The headquarters is located in Paris, but there are campuses in 20 countries such as Spain, England, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and of course, Peru.

This university is for those interested in the culinary arts and hotel management. It offers the following majors: international business management, nutrition and food techniques, gastronomy and business management, hospitality and tourism business management, marketing and commercial management, businesses and services management, and alimentary industry engineering.

All of these majors last for five years. The university also offers specialization programs.

Along with the educational facilities, the university has a research department and a publishing house.

Although it is an international institution, they follow the local regulations. That’s why there are 12 different modalities to enroll in one of the majors.

Tuition fees are calculated according to the socioeconomic situation for Peruvian students. However, there is a flat fee for international students, which is significantly higher. In 2019, monthly payments go from S/. 7,000 (2,000 USD) to S/. 12,000 (3,500 USD). This is still much less than prices in other campuses.

This university also has an institute that offers shorter degree programs that include gastronomy (three years), cooking (two years), patisserie (two years), bar and cocktails (two years), and hotel management (three years).

Tuition fees depend on the semester. The semester for international students goes from S/. 4,100 (around 1,200 USD) to S/. 21,000 (around 6,200 USD). The first semester is usually the most expensive and then prices reduce by half.


I hope that this article on the cheap universities in Peru was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

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