Studying in Bolivia: What foreign students need to know about getting education in this country



Studying in Bolivia: What foreign students need to know about getting education in this country

Bolivia comes in 50th place in the world ranking for quality of education. Local universities offer a wide range of majors and high-quality knowledge but are also considered among the cheapest in South America.

It is not difficult for foreign students to get into a Bolivian university. It is important to know the features of the enrolment and study campaign, visa requirements, documents, payment system, and meet certain requirements.  More on this topic can be found further in the article.

What do you need to do to come to this country to study 

First of all, foreigners need to choose an educational institution to pursue their education. Below is a list of universities that, according to ratings, are considered the best in the country:

  • Greater University of San Simon
  • Bolivian Catholic University  
  • San Francisco Xavier University 
  • Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra 
  • Gabriel René Moreno Autonomous University 
  • Bolivian Private University 
  • Valle Private University 

Once you find an educational institution, choose the right major, programme, and course. The most popular subjects in Bolivian educational institutions today are:

  • Business and Finance;
  • Engineering;
  • Pharmacy;
  • Health;
  • Technology;
  • Management;
  • Psychology;
  • IT;
  • Law and jurisprudence;
  • Arts;
  • Economy;
  • Mass media and PR;
  • Architecture;
  • Humanities, etc. 

Each university has its own website with the necessary information and contacts. Be sure to contact the administration of the educational institution and ask about all the requirements for admission, documents, studying, etc.

If you have doubts and do not have enough information, use the services of consultations on studying abroad, or checklist with all the nuances of entering Bolivia.

To study in Bolivia, foreigners must have a student visa, which is issued for 60 days and entitles them to apply for a temporary residence permit for up to three years. The stay in the country can then be extended until graduation.

A student visa to Bolivia can be of two types:

  • exchange visa with government agreement;
  • exchange visa without a government contract.

Also, applicants who plan to study in Bolivia must collect all higher education documents and be ready to take exams. The application period for Bolivian universities runs from January 20 to February 17.

What are the conditions

Since each educational institution has its own requirements and conditions, check all information in advance, including:

  • what documents are required for admission;
  • whether it is necessary to have insurance;
  • what courses and programs are available;
  • whether and how entrance exams must be taken;
  • whether English is used in the establishment.

In most Bolivian educational institutions, students are taught in Spanish. Therefore, it is better to master at least basic language skills. Some institutions may ask for proof of Spanish language skills at a level sufficient to study and live in the country.

More information about each country can be found here.

Required documents

To obtain a student visa, foreigners must submit the following documents:

  • a completed application;
  • a foreign passport valid for at least six months;
  • yellow fever vaccination certificate and/or another health certificate;
  • a passport-size colour photograph
  • documents relating to secondary or higher education;
  • original letter of admission to the university or a copy issued by the target institution of higher education;
  • a copy of the inter-university agreement or contract if the type of student exchange is determined (applies to student visa with private contract);
  • a certificate of no criminal record;
  • confirmation of payment of the visa fee.

Learn all the details of the document package and requirements at the embassy before applying.

Applicants who intend to pursue a bachelor's degree must prepare the following documents:

  • high school diploma and certificate;
  • A completed and signed online application;
  • foreign passport or travel document;
  • medical certificate.

Students planning to pursue a master's degree must have the following documents:

  • Bachelor's diploma;
  • academic certificates from the bachelor's course;
  • a foreign passport or travel document;
  • medical certificate

If the student is taking a PhD degree program, it is necessary to have:

  • foreign passport or travel document;
  • Master's diploma;
  • Bachelor's diploma;
  • transcripts from the master's course;
  • transcripts from the bachelor's course;
  • biography/ CV.

Students must also attend an interview, which will be evaluated by the admissions committee and university faculty.

Study Tuition

The pricing policy at each educational institution is different. For example, studies at less expensive universities will cost as much as $1,000 per year, and at more prestigious ones - from $2,000 to $5,500 per year. The cost will depend on the institution itself, the discipline, the course chosen, the program and other factors.

Universities usually accept payment by both cash and card. Also in Bolivia, there are loan programs for students to make instalment payments. In particular, universities in Bolivia use the CLAR loan system.

Free Education Opportunities

Bolivian citizens can count on free education at the country's educational institutions. Education for foreign students is paid. However, you can save money and reduce costs through several methods:

  • taking advantage of discounts offered by universities;
  • by participating in an international student exchange programme;
  • by applying for a scholarship. 

In addition, students who work at the same university where they study can also count on a significant discount.

Preparatory courses

At Bolivian universities, studies are conducted in Spanish. Therefore, foreign students need to know the language at a sufficient level to gain education and live in this country.

You can take online courses and learn the language before you arrive. In addition, educational institutions usually provide preparatory courses. In such classes, students communicate with native speakers, learn basic skills and become familiar with more complex vocabulary.

University education system

Bolivia has about 39 universities with 828 degree programmes. In educational institutions, students are offered bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees. A wide range of programs and disciplines are also available.

Usually, bachelor programmes last three to four years, master programmes last one to two years, and PhD programmes last two to four years.

The academic year in Bolivia lasts two semesters: from mid-February to early July and from late July to late November.


Bolivia is considered one of the cheapest countries, with the cost of living almost the lowest compared to other South American countries. At the same time, local educational institutions provide a high-quality education. Therefore, the country very often attracts foreign students. Among the main advantages of getting an education in Bolivia, we can mention: affordable education, low cost of living, easy admission procedure, and a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a multicultural environment.