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About Chile
Country Handbook

Universidad Católica del Norte - Coquimbo

The city of Coquimbo is located 290 miles (465 km) north of Santiago and houses the Guayacan Campus. This port city is known for its nearby beautiful beach resorts, and the main industries are agriculture, fishing, and mining. Placed on the northern coast of the bay known as La Herradura, the Guayacán Campus has a privileged position for the study of Marine Science. This region is also internationally recognized for its astronomical activity and has many observatories, thanks to skies that are clear most of the year and very low light contamination. The 4th Region of Coquimbo, Chile, Capital La Serena, is also the region of the mystic Elqui Valley, and the small villages of Pisco Elqui and Montegrande, origin of the famous Chilean Poetess Gabriela Mistral and the famous liquor “pisco”.

The city of La Serena, a well known tourist center, is very close to Coquimbo. It offers visitors a long and attractive seafront of fine sandy beaches, bays and temperate, unpolluted waters.

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
Coquimbo, Chile (pop. 163,036)
Language of instruction: Spanish
University Home Page
International Office Home Page

Marine Sciences (Aquaculture Engineering; Marine Biology, Environmental and Risk Management Engineering); Business (Business Administration; Management Information Systems and Control Engineering); Civil Engineering (Computer Science and Informatics; Industrial Civil Engineering); Law; Health Sciences (Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Nutritionist); Theology (Bachelor's Degree in Religious Sciences, Philosophy and Religion Pedagogy)

Academic Notes
UCN-Coquimbo is particularly strong in Marine Sciences, Business and Health Sciences.

Students typically enroll in 5-6 classes per term which averages to 20-22 class hours per week. A term runs for 17 weeks.

TRANSCRIPT DETAILS Transcripts are generally released by the last week of August for Semester 1 and by the last week of 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 students with an insufficient level of Spanish or students who need to practice before the semester starts . 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-Coquimbo.
2. Click on the carreras (majors) to see its general description, syllabus, professors, and 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: Oceanografía I (Biología Marina).
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.

Note: The courses may not be available each semester. 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 is not 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. (USD150) Books are an additional $80.000 Chilean pesos (USD120) per semester.


There are no additional fees for incoming students.

Orientation lasts 2-3 days and during these days students are welcomed and advised about their courses and student visa status. They also will be introduced to Chilean culture and family, Coquimbo and LaSerena city, local transportation, university facilities, academic calendar, etc.


Students arriving on the Official Arrival Date will be picked up at the local airport in La Serena or the Bus Station in Coquimbo.

Student Activities
International students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities as part of the benefits such as theatre, choir, jazz dance, folk dances, guitar, percussion, yoga, capoeira, salsa, piano, photography, volleyball, basketball, football (men and women), kayaking, aerobics, running and others.

Community Engagement (Internships, Service-Learning, Volunteering, etc.)
The Pastoral Department and the Student Health Center provide many opportunities for volunteering in the community through campus organizations. Contact your ISEP Coordinator upon arrival for more information.

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 an 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.