Tufts in Chile

Location: Santiago, Chile
Program options: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, or Academic Year
Language of instruction: Spanish

The Tufts-in-Chile program allows students to study at the University of Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, two of the region's leading universities, for the semester or the academic year (please note program calendar is based on the Chilean academic terms). Students are urged to stay for an academic year, and admission preference is given to students applying for the full year. 

Since the restoration of democracy in 1990, Chile has regained its place as a regional model of stable democracy, economic prosperity, and social concern, and has signed a free trade treaty with the United States. It is a country of great natural beauty, with climates that range from tropical to Antarctic, and landscapes that include the world's driest desert and one of the hemisphere's highest mountains. It has rocky coasts and beaches that recall California, verdant valleys that seem Mediterranean, upland forests that resemble the Alps, and fjords that evoke Norway—along with something all its own. Its population is predominantly European in origin, but with significant indigenous groups in the north and south, and a large population of mixed descent.

Santiago, Chile’s capital, is a metropolis of over six million set in a valley 2000 feet up in the foothills of the Andes in central Chile. It is the transportation hub of the country, with easy access to both north and south, two hours from world-class Andean ski resorts, and an equal distance to famous Pacific beaches. Santiago is one of Latin America’s leading intellectual and cultural centers, home of the regional United Nations and of many other international organizations, as well as a vibrant center for the performing and visual arts.

The University of Chile, founded in 1738, is one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious universities. It includes thirteen faculties that range from arts and sciences to law and medicine. The university has 23,000 undergraduate students and 55 libraries that contain some two million volumes, divided among the various departments. Tufts-in-Chile students are fully integrated into the life of the university and are able to take regular courses in any of its faculties, which are located across five campuses that are accessible by public transportation. The faculties of Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences are all located on the same Juan Gomez Millas campus.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), founded in 1888, was granted academic autonomy by the Chilean government in 1931. It is a private (with public support) urban, multi-campus university. Its 18 faculties are distributed across four campuses in Santiago and one regional campus in southern Chile, each with its own identity and linked to a different moment in the university's history. PUC continues to have a permanent commitment to quality in their service, in fulfillment of their founding mission. PUC also holds strict and rigorous academic standards that adopt international best practices from top universities around the world.

Program Staff

Director: Loreto Pomar, Business and Administration Engineer with a specialization in Marketing, Universidad Gabriela Mistral.

The onsite director advises students on academic and extracurricular activities, arranges for homestays with Chilean families, and organizes special trips and activities. A full-time Tufts professor serves as a faculty adviser for the Tufts-in-Chile program.


The Tufts-in-Chile program is open to undergraduate juniors and seniors who meet the general eligibility requirements. Additionally, since students take regular courses at the university, fluency in Spanish is important, and participants are expected to have completed Spanish 21 and 22 (Composition and Conversation) or the equivalent to six semesters of college-level Spanish.

The program may be of particular interest to students in Latin American studies, international relations, environmental studies, and the social sciences, but the university's course offerings are comprehensive and interested students from all majors are invited to apply. Preference will be given to students who apply for the full-year option and who have taken coursework on Latin America or have shown, in other ways, an interest in the region.


$41,001 for the semester, $82,002 for the academic year includes:

  • Round-trip airfare to Santiago from a city in the continental United States
  • Twelve-day orientation
  • Full room and board, semester break excluded (full-year program); laundry is also provided by host family
  • Full tuition and fees at the University of Chile and/or PUC
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Cultural events and excursions
  • Allowance for books and photocopies


Students in the program take courses at the University of Chile and at the Pontificia Universidad Católica, choosing from hundreds of courses taught across a wide range of disciplines. Normally, foreign students take four courses a semester, chosen in consultation with the resident director. A Spanish language course equivalent to Spanish 121 is arranged for program students and is required, unless you are a native speaker or have already completed Spanish 121. If you are interested, you can also be placed in internships and community service positions. Evaluation at the two universities is similar to that at Tufts, including papers and exams.

Academic Departments

University of Chile

Faculty of Architecture and Urban Studies

  • Architecture
  • Geography

Faculty of Chemistry and Image Institute

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry and Pharmacology

Faculty of Economics and Business

  • Accounting
  • Information Systems and Financial Management
  • Commerce: Economics; Administration

Faculty of Arts

  • Drama
  • Studio Art
  • Musical Interpretation
  • Theater Design
  • Theory and History of Art
  • Music Theory
  • Dance
  • Sound

Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities

  • Philosophy
  • History
  • French Language and Literature
  • Hispanic Language and Literature
  • English Language and Literature

Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Anthropology: Social Anthropology; Archaeology
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Faculty of Agricultural Science and Forestry

  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Forestry

Faculty of Sciences

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science

Faculty of Physics and Mathematics

  • Astronomy
  • Computational Science
  • Human Studies
  • Physics
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mathematical Engineering
  • Engineering Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Basic Chemistry
  • Sports, Recreation, and Culture


  • Institute of International Affairs
  • Institute of Public Affairs
  • Communication and Image Institute

Academic Departments

Pontificia Universidad Católica

Faculty of Arts

  • History and Theory of Art
  • Drama
  • Music

Faculty of Biological Sciences

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology

Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Psychology
  • Sociology: Social Anthropology

Faculty of Philosophy

  • Aesthetics: Oriental Arts and Aesthetics; Aesthetic of the Latin American Culture; Aesthetics of Photography; Aesthetics of Cinema; History of Art
  • Philosophy

Faculty of Physics

  • Physics
  • Astronomy

Faculty of Communications

  • Media Communications

Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences

  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship Management

Faculty of History, Geography, and Political Science

  • Geography
  • Political Science: International Relationships
  • History

Faculty of Letters

  • Hispanic Linguistics and Literature
  • English Linguistics and Literature
  • Greek and Latin Classical Studies
  • Literary Studies

Faculty of Mathematics

  • Math
  • Statistics

Faculty of Chemistry

  • TBA

Program Details

Accommodations and Meals

As a student in the program, you will live with a Chilean family that is carefully screened by the resident director. You usually have breakfast and dinner with your host family, giving you an experience of Chilean life and culture that will complement your experience at the university. To ensure one-to-one contact with the culture and the language, no more than one student is placed with a family. You will receive a weekly allowance for lunch (which can be purchased at university cafeterias or outside), transportation, and incidental expenses.


Santiago is a modern city located in a temperate climate without unusual health problems, but it does have a smog problem (from May to September) that may affect those who have asthma. Health care is provided for a fee by the University of Chile, which has a world-class medical school, at its hospital.


The program Director leads a ten-day orientation program prior to the start of classes. During the orientation, you will be introduced to Chilean history, society, politics, public health, human rights, environment and sustainability, and culture of Chile. The orientation includes cultural activities and trips to the coast, mountains, and more.

Student Activities

The two host institutions offer a full range of extracurricular activities. The athletic teams at the University of Chile are at a professional level (visiting U.S. basketball players have made the team), but it also offers both intramural and recreational sports, including soccer, tennis and basketball. The University of Chile and PUC both have a range of cultural groups— including chorus, orchestra, and ballet. Students receive inexpensive tickets to view performances by these university cultural groups. In addition, the resident director organizes special enrichment activities, including cultural events and excursions to places of interest in Santiago and other regions of Chile. Santiago has a rich cultural life, with first-rate theater, opera and classical music, as well as popular and folk music, art exhibits and poetry readings—in the land of Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral. World-class ski slopes and beaches are located within two hours of Santiago, with one ski center an hour away.

Program Dates

Dates are approximate and subject to change.

The fall-semester program runs from late July to mid-December, while the spring-semester program runs from mid-February to mid-July. Students participating in the full-year program will have a break between the two semesters from mid-December to mid-February, which is considered the 'summer' break in Chile.

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