Uruguay: the second smallest country in Latin America but also one the most prosperous. In Latin America (2018), Uruguay had the third-highest GDP per capita, was the third country with the highest human development rate, had the highest literacy rate, and had the lowest rates in the Corruption Perception Index. It has a great higher education system with quality universities. This makes it one of the best destinations for international students in the region. In this article, we will be looking at the cheapest universities in Uruguay.

Uruguay’s Higher Education System

Universities are divided into public and private. There are also technological universities that offer professional certificates for those who want to join the job market faster. Public institutions are free.

There is one public university, one public technological university, and six private universities.

They offer bachelor’s degree programs that last from four to five years, master’s degree programs that last from two to two years and a half, and doctorate degree programs that last for three years.

The Admission Process at Uruguayan Universities

Private universities usually require taking admissions tests. The content of the tests is usually adjusted to each faculty, so there will be different tests depending on the majors you are interested in.

International students will also have to validate their high school diplomas and certificates in Uruguay. In the case of the student visa, they recommend starting the process at the Uruguayan embassy in your country.

The only exception is for studies that last for less than a year. The majority of the nationalities can enter the country for 90 days. If you are studying for less than a year, you can ask for an extension of your stay permit once the 90 days finish.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Language of Instruction at Uruguayan Universities

Spanish is the official language of Uruguay, therefore, programs at Uruguayan universities are mostly available in his language. This means that if you want to study a program in English, your options will be really limited.

Fortunately, universities offer Spanish programs for foreigners. You can take advantage of them if you want to learn it or improve your level before choosing a major.

Living Costs in Uruguay

The only downside of living in Uruguay is that it is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America. Uruguay’s official currency is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU). 1,000 UYU is around 27 USD.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around 16,700 UYU (460 USD) monthly, but prices can be higher depending on the area. Outside of the center, prices drop to about 12,800 UYU (360 USD) per month.

Regarding food, the basic food basket costs around 100 USD. You can expect to pay 10 USD for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant and 35 USD at a mid-range restaurant for a meal for two people. Your budget for transportation should be of around 50 USD per month.

Cheap Universities in Uruguay

1. University of Montevideo (UM)

The first cheap university in Uruguay is the University of Montevideo. This university was established in 1986 as a private university and was accredited in 1997. According to the 2020 QS World University Ranking, it is the best university in Uruguay and the 491st best in the world.

The university is located in Montevideo and has seven building throughout the city. It has five faculties of law, communication, humanities, engineering, and business and economic sciences. It also has a business school and five innovation and research centers.

Visit their website to learn more about the programs available. They have dual degree programs with universities abroad and programs in English specifically made for international students. There are also events for prospective students.

Admissions start by booking an interview. After that, students have to take an entrance exam in the faculty they are interested in. To learn more about the required documents, admission dates, and tuition fees click here. You can also contact the university by filling and sending an online form.

2. The Catholic University of Uruguay (UCU)

Established in 1985, the Catholic University of Uruguay (UCU) was the first private university in the country. The main campus is located in Montevideo but there are two campuses more in the city of Salto and in the Maldonado department (Punta del Este).

This cheap university in Uruguay has six faculties of engineering and technology, dentistry, law, human sciences, health sciences, and business sciences. It also has a graduate school, a business school, and research centers with 70 active projects.

In order to be admitted, international students will have to go through an interview which is requested online. They will also have to submit the required documents and legalized their secondary education diplomas. Contact the university to learn more.

3. The University of the Republic (UDELAR)

The University of the Republic (UDELAR) was established in 1849 and is the biggest and the only public university in the country. It has more than 90,000 students and is considered one of the cheapest universities in Uruguay.

It has 15 faculties, different schools, institutes, and research centers, and a university hospital. The main campus is located in the capital city, Montevideo, with buildings throughout the city. They also have regional centers with campuses in different cities. There is the East University Regional Center and the Northern Coast Regional Center. A third Regional Center is being built.

Studying at UDELAR can be difficult as an international student. In order to be admitted, you have to be the child of a diplomat, have been residing in the country for at least three years, have been forced to stay in the country because your familiar nucleus settled down in the country, or have been obligated to interrupt your studies in your country of origin for political, religious, racial or ideological reasons.

If you don’t belong to one of the previous groups, you can still make an application, but the Central Board Council will make a decision based on your application, vacancies available, and other elements.

If you are admitted, the rest of the process has to be done at the specific faculty where you will study. To learn more, visit the foreign students’ page. Remember to select your preferred language on the top bar when navigating through the website.


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

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