Higher Education in Nicaragua

The oldest institution of higher education in Nicaragua is the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, which was founded in 1812, which dates back to the Spanish colonial period. Nicaragua became a part of the Central American Federation in 1821 and declared its independence from Spain. It left the Federation in 1838 for full independence.

There are many commercial schools and eight universities throughout the country. Between 2002 and 2003, a total of 100,363 Nicaraguan students attended universities and other institutions of higher learning. The National Council of Universities is the body responsible for strategic planning in Nicaragua.

Admission to higher education is on the basis of the Bachillerato, the leading secondary school qualification. Students are also subject to an entrance examination. The Licenciado, the main undergraduate degree, is a four- or five-year course of study. A professional title may be awarded depending on the subject. Following the Licenciado, the first postgraduate degree is the Maestria, which lasts two years and culminates with the submission of a thesis.

Institutions of higher learning can offer two- or three-year courses in technical and vocational education. The main qualification studied for is the Tecnico Superior.

There are over 30 public universities and over 75 private institutions.