Top universities in Latin America and the Caribbean | Top Universities
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Top universities in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated Sep 20, 2023
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The recently released QS World University Rankings: Latin America & The Caribbean 2024. is QS’ biggest Latin America and the Caribbean rankings yet. It features 430 of the most prestigious institutions in the region. 

This year, Brazil takes the lead, with 97 of its universities featured in the Latin America and Caribbean rankings, followed by Mexico with 63 universities and Colombia with 61. Find out what it is like to study in Latin American countries with our guides

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

In this article, we will be counting down the top 10 universities in Latin America. Alternatively, you can view the full rankings here

Rank 

University 

Location 

Universidade de São Paulo 

Brazil 

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) 

Chile 

Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) 

Brazil 

Tecnológico de Monterrey 

Mexico 

Universidad de Chile 

Chile 

Universidad de los Andes 

Colombia 

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) 

Mexico 

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro 

Brazil 

Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) 

Argentina 

10 

UNESP 

Brazil 

10. Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) 

Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)

Location: Brazil

Coming up a rank from the previous year, UNESP has managed to get included into the list of the 10 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded in 1976, UNESP holds a strong focus on all experimental and theoretical sciences fields with their priorities being set at upholding the production of accomplished members, offering fully accredited programmes, and maintaining a strong research base.  

The university has distinguished achievements in teaching, research and extension services while also being recognised as one of the largest and most important universities in Brazil. UNESP also has a decent proportion of academic staff bearing a PhD. 

9. Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

universidad_de_buenos_aires

Location: Argentina

The top university in Argentina this year and ranking in ninth place in the Latin America and the Caribbeans rankings is Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). Four Nobel Prize winners, several presidents and the Marxist guerrilla fighter Che Guevara are counted among UBA’s notable alumni.  

The university earns a perfect score in both the academic reputation and employer reputation indicators in 2024 and is highly respected by academics and graduate employers. Undergraduate degrees are free of charge for both domestic and international students. 

8. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Universidade Federal do Rio

Location: Brazil 

Ranked 371st in the QS World University Rankings 2024, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) used to rank ninth in the list but is now placed eighth this year in Latin America and the Caribbean. UFRJ is the largest federal university in Brazil and is internationally recognised for its excellent teaching and research. 

The university earns a high score for international research work and the web impact indicators while also achieving a near-perfect score for the faculty staff holding PhDs. This proves that UFRJ is enhancing its international engagement with a strong online presence while facilitating this with their strong international research work. 

7. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Location: Mexico

Improving their rank to 93rd in the QS World University Rankings 2024 and maintaining their standing at seventh in the Latin America and the Caribbean ranking this year is Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The university has over 269,000 students this year and has several campuses in Mexico City as well as others across Mexico and throughout the US, including San Antonio, Chicago, and Hull. 

UNAM proves itself to be an all-rounder this year. It earns perfect scores for academic and employer reputation, international research work and web impact. 

6. Universidad de los Andes Colombia

Universidad de los Andes Colombia

Location: Colombia

Maintaining the same spot from last year in the Latin America and Caribbean rankings, Universidad de los Andes Colombia (Uniandes) earns its highest score in employer reputation. It also achieves a near-perfect score in academic reputation this year, demonstrating the university’s popularity among both graduate employers and academics. The university contains a wide range of facilities, including a sports centre with a semi-Olympic swimming pool. 

Uniandes offers over 100 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and has around 15,600 students. Founded in 1948, Uniandes is ranked 198th in the World University Rankings 2024 and is located in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá

5. Universidad de Chile

Universidad de Chile

Location: Chile

Facing a small dip in scores from last year, Universidad de Chile has come down from fourth to fifth place this year. Founded in 1842 and inaugurated in 1843, the Universidad de Chile is the oldest university in Chile and has a rich history in academic, scientific, and social outreach. 

The university earns perfect scores in academic and employer reputation, reflecting the compelling reputation of the university’s graduates among employers and academics and near-perfect scores in international research work and web impact. Notable alumni include 20 past Chilean presidents, two Nobel Laureates and 155 National Award recipients in different fields. 

4. Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)

Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)

Location: Mexico

Over to Mexico now, where Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) ranks fourth this year. Established in 1943, today ITESM has 26 campuses across Mexico. 

ITESM scores well across most of the indicators but earns its highest score for employer reputation. It’s also worth noting that Tecnológico de Monterrey was rated 5+ QS Stars and achieved full marks in the categories of internationalisation, innovation, employability, facilities, and specialist criteria. 

3. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

Location: Brazil

Rising by an impressive two places this year, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)scores highest in the staff with PhDs and papers per faculty indicators: a reflection of the high level of research productivity of the university’s teaching staff. As a result, Unicamp is now responsible for around 10 percent of all Brazilian research.  

As with all public universities in Brazil, there are no tuition fees for domestic or international students.

2. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)

Location: Chile

After having ranked in first place for three years straight, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) is now the second-best university in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2024. UC is also ranked 103rd in the most-recent world university rankings. 

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. It scores highly across all the indicators, with perfect scores for employer reputation and academic reputation – meaning that employment prospects for the university’s graduates are incredibly positive. 

1. Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Location: Brazil

Taking a leap from the previous rank of being the second-best university in Latin America and the Caribbean, Universidade de São Paulo (USP) is now the top university in the region in 2024. In the most recent world university rankings, USP is ranked 85th.  

USP was officially founded in 1934, but its law school was established much earlier, in 1827. Today, it is the largest public university in Brazil. USP earns perfect scores across five of the eight indicators, including academic reputation, web impact and international research network. This demonstrates the wide scope of the university’s achievements and dedication to preparing graduates for employment.  

USP has quickly achieved a leading role in many different fields as a research centre and is now responsible for a significant percentage of all Brazilian academic output. 

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