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About Chile
Country Handbook

Universidad Católica del Norte - Antofagasta

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Antofagasta is truly one of the world's unique locations and is known as the Mining Capital of Chile. With 20 km (12 miles) of beachfront and ocean to the left and the desert and Andes Mountains to the right, this resort area offers year-round sunshine (average temperature of 17°C/64°F) in a dry climate. With the clearest skies in the world, with no more then 20 cloudy days in a year, this region of Chile is internationally recognized as an ideal location for astronomical observation. A number of national and international observatories and some of the world's largest telescopes are found here.

The area is surrounded by picturesque mountain villages, beautiful sites such as the Atacama Salt Flat and the Valle de la Luna, interesting fauna, and archaeological treasures. A tourist center of international renown, and Chile's “archaelogical capital ”, San Pedro de Atacama, is located 200 miles (320km) from Antofagasta. It is known for its natural attractions, rich historical heritage, archeological sites and Andean indigenous settlements.

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

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Very Good .
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Very Good.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates
Academic year: March through December
Semester 1: March through July
Semester 2: August through December
Please note that this site observes the Southern Hemisphere academic calendar. If you want to study for a full-year in the southern hemisphere, consider starting your program at the beginning of their academic year in February or March. Some institutions offer annual rather than semester courses. For southern hemisphere programs, ISEP benefits do apply during the recess between semesters (June-July), whereas they do NOT apply between the end of one academic year and the beginning of a new academic year (December to February-March).

Fast Facts
Antofagasta, Chile (pop. 296,905)
Language of instruction: Spanish
University Home Page
International Office Home Page

Arts (Architecture); Sciences (Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (Major in Astronomy), Chemistry and Pharmacy, Statistics, Bachelor"s Degree in Mathematics, Teacher Training in Mathematics, Chemical Analyst, Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Extractive Metallurgy Chemistry); Engineering & Geological Sciences (Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering; Geology, Computer Science and Informatics/ Industrial/ Metallurgy/ Chemistry/ Environmental) Economy & Administration (Business Administration, Public Accountant, Auditor); Humanities (Journalism, Psychology, English as a Foreign Language Teacher and/or Translation, Law)

Academic Notes
UCN-Antofagasta is particularly strong in architecture, sciences (including geological sciences), and engineering.

Students typically enroll in 3-5 classes per term which averages to 20-22 hours in class per week. A term runs for 18 weeks.


Transcripts are generally released by September for Semester 1 and by January for Semester 2. Full year transcripts are sent as per the final 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.
Language Courses: Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year or semester for Intermediate and Advanced levels.
Pre-session: A 2-week pre-session, intensive Spanish language course is offered before both semesters for an additional fee for Intermediate level students. Contact hours per course: 40

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

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

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.

UCN requires that you have a student visa before arrival. US Students - In order to obtain a student visa, you must provide an FBI Background Check (for most Chilean Consulates in the US; see ISEP Country Handbook for Chile). Since this process can now take up to 12 weeks or more, be sure to time your request appropriately.

Hints for Researching Courses
1. Go to the Carreras page to find a list of the programs offered at UCN-Antofagasta.
2. Click on the carreras (majors) to see its general description, syllabus, professors, courses, among other useful information.
3. On the next page, look for a link titled “Malla curricular” to see courses offered.
4. IMPORTANT: When listing courses on the Course Request List, you must include the semester in which it is being offered, the title of the course, and the name of the Carrera from which the course is being offered. EXAMPLE: Semestre 5: Psicología Educacional I (Psicología).
5. If you are studying March-July, only the classes listed in the ODD-NUMBERED semesters will be available to you. If you are studying August-December, only the classes listed in the EVEN-NUMBERED semesters will be available to you. The annual courses are year-long courses instructed during the Southern Hemisphere academic full year (March – December)

Note: The courses may not be available each semester. Some courses are full-year only (March – December) and these are known as annual. Upon receipt of your application, the ISEP coordinator at UCN will confirm whether or not your desired courses are available during your requested study period.

Housing and Meals
All students are housed with host families and receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the host family. Housing for students traveling with their dependents may be 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 $100.000 Chilean pesos. Books are an additional $30.000 Chilean pesos (approximately) per semester.

Orientation lasts 2-3 days and during these days, students are welcomed and advised about their courses, student visa status, Chilean culture and family, transportation, university facilities, academic calendar, etc.


Students arriving on the Official Arrival Date will be picked up at the local airport in Antofagasta.

The Universidad Católica del Norte (Catholic University of the North) is a Catholic and pluralistic university. Founded in 1956 in the city of Antofagasta, it was the third Catholic university to be established in Chile and in 1964 it was recognized by the Government of Chile as an autonomous university, integrated with the Council of Presidents of Chilean Universities as the eighth oldest university in Chile. UCN is a accredited institution by a National Commision (CNAP), an autonomous institution created by the Ministry of Education of Chile.

The strategic objectives of the University place an emphasis on educating the student as a complete person and pursing UCN’s international vocation, promoting the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities at the academic level while cultivating spiritual values in the personal realm.

UCN has two campuses: the main campus in Antofagasta, and the Guayacan Campus in the city of Coquimbo.