Background information on Chile

Useful dates to remember when visiting Chile

Academic Calendar: March – December
Winter vacations: 2-3 weeks in July
Summer vacation: mid-December to February
Chilean Independence: September 18 -19. Most schools and universities close for the week.

Primary and secondary Education

The Ministry of Education is responsible for pre-primary, primary and secondary education in Chile. Primary education consists of eight grade levels (grades 1-8) and secondary education consists of four grade levels (grades 9-12). Schools are divided by curriculum into either “Scientific-humanistic”, aimed at preparing students to enter university or “technical-professional” aimed at preparing students for the workforce. In 11th grade, students in the “scientific-humanistic” path must choose to take advanced lessons in science (math, physics, chemistry or biology) or humanisties (literature, history or philosophy). Upon graduation, students graduate with a High School Degree. Students may then choose to work or continue their studies at a professional institute, technical center or university.

Tertiary Education


Students that plan to attend university must take the “Prueba de Selección Universitaria” (PSU), a national college entrance exam that consists of two mandatory exams in math and language and two additional exams in science and history. The maximum score in each section is 850.

According to the Chilean Ministry of Education, there are 60 universities in Chile with a total of 707, students. Of these 60 universities: 25 universities belong to the “Consejo de Rectores” and 35 are private universities created after 1980. 48% of students are enrolled in a university that belongs to the Consejo de Rectores, while private universities hold 52% of students (1st semester 2015).

At the time of admission, most students are required to apply to their field of study. Students study four to seven years, leading to an undergraduate degree. Degrees in engineering, medicine and law are given after six to seven years of university.

Click here for complete list of universities.


Professional Institutes and Technical Schools

There are 43 Professional Institutes and 56 Technical Schools (Centro de Formación Técnica) throughout Chile and together account for 47% of total students in tertiary education. Professional Institutes grant a Professional Degree (Título Professional) after 4 years of study or Senior Level Technician (Técnico nivel superior) after 2-3 years of study. Technical Schools grant Senior Level Technician (Técnico nivel superior) after 2-3 years of study.

Click here for list of Professional Institutes.
Click here for list of Technical Schools.


Other useful websites: