graduateshotline logo
Last Updated: April 11, 2022

Study in Colombia

Colombia is one of the popular hubs in South America for international students due to the top universities and research institutions in the country. Around 41 universities from Colombia have been ranked among the top 300 educational institutions in Latin America according to Quacquarelli Symonds which is a British organization. The country has 288 institutions for higher education offering over 9,000 university-level programs. Out of these, 112 are registered universities.

The country offers rare programs that are not easily found in other countries, especially for international students. Most of the institutions here are privately managed. Students who enroll in universities here will be able to learn about the culture and ethnicity of the country. The best student cities in Colombia are Bogota and Medellin.

Popular Programs for International Students

A few of the popular programs that one can pursue in Colombia are-

Major Universities in Colombia

The best universities in Colombia include- A few of the major universities in Colombia include-

National University of Colombia

This university was established in the year 1867 and is a publicly funded university that focuses on research. It has a student population of 53,000 along with over 3,000 academic staff. It offers 329 postgraduate degrees in all which include 56 doctoral programs, 152 master’s programs, and 38 specializations along with 38 medical specializations. The university also has 30 research institutes and 29 research centers making it the main research center in Colombia. It has the highest number of academic staff in the entire country.

Universidad del Norte

This university was established in the year 1966 and it is privately funded. It has a student population of around 16,000 along with over 600 academic staff. The main fields of study under which they offer programs include business and engineering apart from which they offer programs in law, medicine, psychology, architecture, etc. The facilities offered at the campus include fully equipped classrooms, wi-fi and computer labs, a gym, library, separate study spaces, restaurants, bookstores, and even grocery stores.

Universidad de los Andes

This university was established in the year 1948 and is the first private university to have its accreditation renewed for 10 years by the National Ministry of Education. The university was created as a study and research center and has been removed from all political and religious influences since the beginning. It is dedicated to upholding the truth through the different educational programs they offer. The university offers 39 undergraduate programs, 63 master’s programs, and 16 doctorates along with 25 postgraduate diplomas. It has a student population of 19,000 along with over 600 academic staff.

Universidad del Rosario

This university was established in the year 1653 and though it began based on religious principles, the university is more focused on secular ideas now. It has a student population of around 12,000 along with over 1,600 academic staff. International students are offered exchange and double degree programs, incoming mobility programs, academic programs, and Spanish language courses in general. The university has been ranked as the 62nd best university in Latin America and the 6th best in Colombia. It is also popular among students of international law.

Pontifical Xaverian University

This university is otherwise known as the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and was established in 1623. It is privately funded and is also one of the oldest universities in the country. The university is ranked 23rd in Latin America and is popular for the exchange programs they have with places like Europe, Asia, and North America. It has a student population of 23,000 along with over 3,400 academic staff. The university offers 99 specializations, 75 master’s degrees, and 13 doctoral programs in all.

Universidad de Antioquia

This is a publicly funded educational institution that was established in the year 1803. It has a student population of over 30,000 along with over 1,300 academic staff. The university is acclaimed for having the best faculty of medicine in the country. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees along with specializations and medical specializations to all students. It is ranked number 15 among Latin American educational institutions and number 4 among the universities in Colombia.

Universidad del Valle

This university was established in the year 1945 and is a publicly funded university. It has a student population of 30,000 along with over 1,100 academic staff. The university is ranked 65th among universities in Latin America and 5th among universities in Colombia. It is known for its programs in clinical medicine. It has been acclaimed for meeting international education standards by the Ministry of National Education.

Working While Studying in Colombia

Colombia does not allow students to work on a student visa. This runs true for candidates who have either an M-9 visa or a V student visa where the M-9 visa is for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the latter is for short courses. The duration of these visas is 1 year and 6 months respectively. The M-9 visa has to be renewed yearly. The M-9 visa was formerly known as the TP-3 visa.

Student Visa in Colombia

There are two types of student visas that international students can apply for in Colombia. These student visas are based on the program the candidate has chosen. For programs that have a short duration like language courses, one will be able to take the Colombian visitor student visa. On the other hand, students who have taken up degree programs will be able to take a Colombian migrant student visa (M-9 visa). This visa generally has the duration of the program the candidate has enrolled in.

Career Options in Colombia

Candidates who have completed their higher education in Colombia will be able to work here if they get a decent job offer from an employer who is based in the country. The job offer letter will be required for them to apply for a work visa. Since the student visa expires along with the program the student is pursuing, it is ideal for candidates to apply for a work visa before the course has been fully completed. The best jobs that immigrants can have in the country include-

Major Cities for Studying in Colombia

The best and biggest cities for students to stay in while studying in Colombia can be assessed by considering the number of top universities the city has, the cost of living in the city, the standard of living the city provides, and the post-education employment rate the city offers. Colombia has many cities like Bogota, Medellin, Manizales, Pereira, Ibague, Cali, etc. that are top grade when it comes to all the factors mentioned above. A few of the most popular cities among the student population include-


This city is known as the city of open doors and is well known for the hospitality the people provide. It is also a college town with universities like the National University of Colombia, University of Manizales, Catholic University of Manizales, etc. offering high-quality education in different fields of study. It has been ranked as the best city to study in the country by the University Cities Index.


Bogota is the capital of Colombia and though the city is expensive to live in, it is also one of the most happening cities in the country. There are 30 universities located here including the Universidad de Los Andes, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Universidad de la Sabena, Universidad del Rosario, etc. It is also the largest city in the country. The city offers the best employability rate, especially for candidates who are well versed in Spanish.


Medellin or the city of eternal spring is the second-largest city in the country after Bogota. The Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Medellin, Pontificia Bolivariana Universidad, etc. are famous educational institutions located here. The city is also the business and industrial hub in the country making it easier for international and domestic students to find job opportunities in their field of study.

Cost of Studying in Colombia

Colombia is considered to be an affordable place for international students with low tuition costs and a low cost of living the country has. This is in comparison with countries in Europe and Northern America where tuition and living costs can be extremely high. Students will be able to live on a small budget here depending on the city they have chosen to live in. For instance, students who have chosen to study and live in Bogota will have a higher cost of living than those who live in Medellin or Pereira.

The average cost of staying in Colombia is estimated to be around 1,500,000 Col$ without the accommodation expenses.

Tuition Cost

Education is relatively less expensive in Colombia when compared to other popular international study destinations. Students who study here will find that the tuition in private institutions is higher than that of public universities. But, at the same time, the cost of studying at private institutions is not excessively high and will not require students to incur heavy loans as student debt.

Public universities offer education at an estimated rate of 2,000,000 Col$ per semester whereas private universities can have a tuition fee ranging between 2,000,000 Col$ and 11,000,000 Col$ per semester. The fee is dependent on the field of study the candidate has chosen and the institution they are planning to attend. Business and Engineering schools tend to have the highest tuition fee rates when compared to other fields of study.

Accommodation Cost

Students will be able to choose where they live in Colombia according to the kind of housing facilities they require. The neighborhoods in this country are divided into estates. This means that the neighborhoods are numbered from 1 to 6 where the higher number offers the best amenities. Students generally choose to live in lower-numbered estratos since the rent is cheaper here.

The rent for a single-bedroom apartment in the country can range anywhere between 900,000 Col$ to 1,000,000 Col$ per month. The rate of the rent is decided by factors like how far the location is from the city center, how many people are sharing the apartment, and the estrato it is part of. The utility bill that students will have to pay mostly does not exceed 300,000 Col$.

Grocery Cost

The price for basic grocery items is-

Transportation Cost

Students who live in Colombia will find that the best means of getting around the city is to use local buses. These buses are good for both local travel and interstate travel. The price for a one-way ticket on local buses is 2,500 Col$. Students will also be able to take a monthly pass for the same which costs around 120,000 Col$. Other means of travel include minivans that are available at prime locations. These vehicles have set routes and they leave only when each vehicle is full. Busta, Colectivo, etc. are examples of the same.

Those who live near the coffee plantations will be able to take the pick-up trucks or Willy jeeps to travel from place to place. This is the cheapest option available even though it is the fastest or most comfortable option.

Study in South America