Study in the Dominican Republic | Top Universities

Interested in studying in the Dominican Republic? Click on the tabs below for details on universities, lifestyle and practical information.


Studying in the Dominican Republic

As many as 11 universities in the Dominican Republic appear in the QS Latin America University Rankings, with the Universidad Iberoamericana - UNIBE the highest ranked at 123rd.

Like the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, founded in 1962, many of the nation’s higher education institutions are relatively young, founded in the second half of the 20th century. Many are colleges specializing in technology subjects – such as the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). Private non-profit institutions such as the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña (UNPHU) for example, offer courses in a broad range of subjects – ranging from arts and humanities to science and technology.

As you’d expect, fees are lower in the public system, and private institutions vary in cost, often charging per credit. In general, however, higher education in the Dominican Republic is a relatively affordable option. Dominican universities follow the bachelor's, master's, PhD path – though the graduate market is relatively new.

See the results of the QS Latin America University Rankings


Life in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic may not be a traditional destination for international students, but it does have a well-established tradition of higher education. In fact, it claims to have been the site of the first university founded in the Americas: the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, founded in 1538.

Though the university no longer exists in that form, its legacy is continued by the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo – the country’s only public university, which has around a dozen regional branches in addition to its main campus in capital city Santo Domingo.

As in most of Latin America, the national language is Spanish, and cultural heritage draws on a mixture of indigenous, European and African influences.

The influence of the US – the Dominican Republic’s main trading partner – is also apparent, for example in the country’s love of baseball. It has its own national league, as well as being a prime exporter of talent to the US.

As in much of Latin America, it is typical for students to live at home while they study, rather than living in student accommodation. Living with a host family is definitely an option to consider, but private accommodation is also available if you’d prefer. Universities or agencies will be able to help in either case.

See the results of the QS Latin America University Rankings


Practical Information

The Dominican Republic enjoys tropical weather – so expect it be fairly hot all year round. A wet season generally occurs around May, or towards the end of the year on the north coast. A down side of this tropical climate is that hurricanes and other such extreme conditions do occur occasionally.

Much of the region is mountainous, and the country is home to Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean. The temperature is a little cooler in these areas. There are also areas of semi-arid desert plains, and of rainforest.

Getting around in the Dominican Republic can be a pretty unique experience. For travel in cities, there are guaguas, caro publicos or motoconchos – privately owned vans, taxis and motorcycles – which you can flag down at the side of the road.

Apart from the bikes, these are communal forms of transport, so you’ll be sharing with whoever else has piled in. For that reason, try and find one that’s heading in roughly the right direction in the first place.

Santo Domingo has a metro system, which currently only consists of one line, running from north to south. A second line is under construction, and four more are planned. The most popular form of public transport however, is the bus – which you can use both within cities and for longer distance journeys.

See the results of the QS Latin America University Ranking

Fast Facts

  • Shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with its neighboring country, Haiti
  • Second largest Caribbean nation by both area and population (after Cuba)
  • Population: 10.8 million (2017 estimate)
  • Capital and largest city is Santo Domingo
  • Main language is Spanish
  • Currency is the Dominican peso (one peso = 100 centavos)
  • Major exports include sugar, precious metals, coffee, cocoa and tobacco
  • National dance is the meringue
  • Popular sports include baseball, boxing, basketball and volleyball