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University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras - Intl


Program Snapshot

Trying to decide if a city is the place for you to study? Check out the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, located in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Caribbean island, alongside parks and historic landmarks; it’s hard to get around this city without walking by a piece of history. When you’re not immersing yourself in the culture of the city, you’ll be studying at the largest and oldest university in Puerto Rico, learning Spanish, and maybe even working towards your master’s degree!

“I was the first student from my home university to ever do an exchange in Puerto Rico. The list of exchange agreements from my home university include many exotic places and it is easy to fall in love with all of them, but I would encourage those interested to try something new that goes beyond what at first seems "established", "safe" and "convenient" like I, in some ways, did - it pays off!” -- Anders Thammawat Birkedal Pedersen, Aalborg University

The Rio Piedras campus is located in the outskirts of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital and one of the Caribbean's most important cities.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement is generally Excellent for US students. For the most current availability, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students.

Program Dates
Academic year: early August to May; Semester 1: early August to December; Semester 2: January to May.

Fast Facts
San Juan, Puerto Rico (pop. 437,745)
Student Enrollment: 21,561
Language of instruction: Spanish
University Home Page

Aerospace Studies; Business Administration* (Accounting*, Computerized Information Systems, Economics*, Finance*, Human Resources, Management*, Marketing*, Secretarial Sciences, Statistics); Education (Elementary* [K - 3, 4 - 6, Special Education*, Teaching English as a second language*], Home Economics* [Childcare & Development, Nutrition & Dietetics], Secondary Education* [Art, Biology*, Chemistry*, Business Education, Foreign Languages, History*, Home Economics, Industrial Arts, Mathematics*, Physical Education, Physics*, Recreation, Sciences, Social Studies, Spanish*, Teaching English to Spanish Speakers, Theater, Vocational Education]); Humanities (Art History, Drama, English* [Language & Expression], French, Hispanic Studies*, History* of the Americas, European History, Comparative Literature*, Interdisciplinary Studies [Latin American, Puerto Rican], Modern Languages, Music, Philosophy*, Plastic Arts); Military Science; Natural Sciences (Biology*, Chemistry*, Computer Science, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics*, Physics*); Planning (Economic, Environmental, Social, Urban); Public Communication*; Social Sciences (Anthropology, Cooperativism, Economics*, Geography, Political Science, Psychology [Labor Relations, Sociology*]), Architecture, Environmental Design.

Courses for Graduate (Masters) Level
Students applying for exchange placements at the graduate-non degree level must be enrolled in a graduate-level program at their home institution and have the equivalent of a 3.0 grade point average. Graduate non-degree placements are restricted and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate degree programs are not available through an ISEP-Exchange.

Academic Notes
Particularly strong academic offerings include Architecture, Environmental Design, Natural Sciences (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics), Spanish Literature, Languages, History, Translation, Public Administration, Library Sciences, Education (TESOL), Caribbean Studies, Comparative Literature, Home Economics, Labor Relations, Art, Music, Psychology, and Cooperativism.

Students typically enroll in 4-5 classes per term which averages to 12-15 hours in class per week. A term runs for 15-16 weeks.


Transcripts are generally released about a month after the end of the semester. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
Language Requirement: A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent must be completed prior to program. It is important to note that while most textbooks are in English, the language of instruction is Spanish.

For more information on courses and language options, see the:
ISEP Spanish Language Advising Guide for US Students

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.

Special Academic Conditions
Enrollment in courses in the following fields may be limited due to space availability: biology, chemistry, physics, business administration (accounting and computer systems), modern languages, and psychology. Enrollment in public communication is only possible on a space-available basis. Counseling and Social Work are closed to ISEP students.

Students admitted as undergraduates do not have access to graduate courses. If approved, participants may enroll in one, three-hour graduate course per semester. This may require additional tuition costs if expenses are not covered by the outgoing participant.

Special ISEP Application Instructions

ALL applications MUST include a Language Proficiency Report (LPR) regardless of language level or having a background as a native/heritage speaker.

IMPORTANT: Due to regulations set by the university system, students attending the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras will be required to purchase the university’s health insurance (approximately USD$400-$600 per semester) in addition to the ISEP health insurance.

Hints for Researching Courses
To find information on course schedules, check out the Registrar Homepage.

Housing and Meals
All students are housed in double-occupancy rooms in the Campus Residence Hall, within a block of the campus, and receive a monthly meal stipend. No married student housing is available.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month are estimated at $300 - $350 USD. Books are an additional $600 USD (approximately) per semester.

During Orientation, students will be given information on the university rules and regulations, class schedules, calendar dates. They will be taught about their rights and which officials to contact for any problems that might arise. Students will be given a campus tour, which includes the health facilities and the procedure for using them.


Students arriving on the Official Arrival Date will be picked up by a representative from the university at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

Public and co-educational, the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) serves a population of 3.6 million American citizens in Puerto Rico. Founded in 1903 as a small Teacher’s College in Rio Piedras, UPR encompasses a modern system with three main campuses, two university colleges, six regional colleges and other units throughout Puerto Rico. UPR"s 55,126 students account for six percent of all Hispanics enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher learning.

The Rio Piedras campus is Puerto Rico’s oldest and largest university campus and UPR’s main institutional unit with 36 percent of total enrollment. Its high admission standards make it the most competitive Puerto Rican university. It is also recognized as the leading and most comprehensive university in the Caribbean and one of the best in Latin America. Some campus buildings are included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Sites. In addition to the university library, other university facilities include an arts collection, computer center, museum, and audiovisual foreign language libraries. There are also centers for archaeological research and educational technology.

What Past Students have to Say
“The most positive thing about my experience was my extremely improved fluency in Spanish, wrapping my mind around "forgotten" vocabulary, and of course the overwhelming hospitality of Puerto Ricans. Many speak both Spanish and American English flawlessly and are willing to speak whatever you prefer - their English abilities come in handy in emergency situations where you cannot afford misunderstandings - it was perfect.” -- Anders Thammawat Birkedal Pedersen, Aalborg University