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Top 10 Universities in Latin America 2020

Top 10 Universities in Latin America main image

Out today, the QS Latin America University Rankings 2020 features 400 of the most prestigious universities in Latin America. Discover what it’s like to study in different Latin American locations with our guides.

The index was compiled using eight indicators; academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty to student ratio, staff with PhD, International research network, citations per paper, papers per faculty and web impact. Find out more about the methodology used here.

Read on to discover the ten highest ranked universities in Latin America in 2020.

QS Latin America University Rankings 2020: Top 10

Rank

University

Location

1

2

3

4

5

Brazil

6

Mexico

7

Chile

8

9

Brazil

10

Colombia

10. Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Location: Colombia

Kicking off our list of the best universities in Latin America is the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in tenth place for the second year in a row. Founded in 1867, the university is the largest in Colombia, with eight campuses around the country and more than 53,000 students. The Universidad Nacional de Colombia offers the largest selection of courses in the country and scores highest in the academic reputation indicator, ranking seventh – a reflection of the institution’s high quality of teaching and research.

9. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Location: Brazil

In ninth place we have the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, which ranks 358th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020. UFRJ is the largest federal university in Brazil and is internationally recognized for its excellent teaching and research. The university earns its highest scores in the international research network and web impact indicator and is an indication of the university’s international outlook and strong online presence

8. Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

Location: Argentina

The Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) moves up one place in the Latin America university index this year, ranks 74th place in the world and is the top university in Argentina. UBA is one of the largest universities in Latin America, has produced four Nobel Prize winners, several presidents and the Marxist guerilla fighter Che Guevara. The university is highly respected by graduate employers and academics, earning its highest scores for the academic reputation and employer reputation indicators, with perfect scores in both. It is also worth noting that undergraduate degrees are free of charge for both domestic and international students.

7. Universidad de Chile

Universidad de Chile

Location: Chile

Heading over to Chile now, we have the Universidad de Chile in seventh place. Founded in 1842 and inaugurated in 1843, it is the oldest university in the country, and has a rich history in academic, scientific and social outreach. This top university places joint 189th in the world and has a very high research output; earning its highest score in the international research network indicator. Notable alumni include 20 of the past Chilean Presidents, two Nobel Laureates and 155 National Award recipients in different fields.

6. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Location: Mexico

Sixth in our countdown of the best universities in Latin America is Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), placing 103rd in the global world ranking. The university is the largest in Latin America, containing over 143,000 students and has several campuses in Mexico City, as well as many others across Mexico, and four campuses in San Antonio (Texas, USA), Chicago (Illinois, USA) and Hull (Quebec, Canada). UNAM earns its highest score in the international research network indicator, where it places third – a reflection of the university’s substantial national and international presence.   

5. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

Location: Brazil

Dropping two places this year to fifth place we have Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp). Unicamp places 214th in the most recent world university rankings and scores highest in the web impact and papers per faculty indicators – showing the university’s high research productivity and use of new technologies. As a result, Unicamp is now responsible for around 15 percent of all Brazilian research. As with all public universities in Brazil, there are no tuition fees for domestic or international students.

4. Universidad de los Andes Colombia

Location: Colombia

Back in Colombia we have Universidad de los Andes Colombia (Uniandes), dropping two places to fourth place this year, and joint 234th in the world. Uniandes offers over 100 undergraduate courses and has around 12,964 students. Founded in 1948, Uniandes is situated in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, and contains a wide range of facilities (including a sports center with a semi-Olympic swimming pool!). The university ranks the highest in the employer reputation indicator in seventh place – showing the university’s graduates’ popularity amongst graduate employers.

3. Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)

Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)

Location: Mexico

Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) rises three places in our countdown of the top universities in Latin America  to third place. ITESM ranks 158th in the world university rankings in 2020 and earns its highest score in the employer reputation indicator. Established in 1943, ITESM has grown to include 31 campuses across 25 Mexican cities, becoming one of the most recognized universities in Latin America.

2. Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Location: Brazil

The second-best university in Latin America in 2020 and ranking joint 116th in our most recent world university rankings is Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Despite not making first place overall, USP remains the top university in Brazil in 2020. The largest public university in Brazil, USP was officially founded in 1934, but its law school was established much earlier, in 1827. The university earns its highest scores in the papers per faculty and international research network indicators (with perfect scores in both), reflecting the high quality of research output. In fact, USP has quickly achieved a leading role in many different fields as a research center and is now responsible for around 20 percent of all Brazilian academic output. 

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)

Location: Chile

In first place, and once again the top university in Latin America in 2020, is the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC), which ranks 127th in the world. Established in 1888, UC is one of the six Catholic universities in Chile; with four campuses in the country’s capital, Santiago, and one in Villarrica. UC scores well in all of the indicators, but earns its best score in the employer reputation indicator, placing first and displaying excellent employment prospects for the institution’s graduates.

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Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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