La Universidad de Costa Rica

The status of this exchange is currently under review; students who wish to apply should have at least one other program option. 

Mount Holyoke students may apply to study on exchange at La Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) for one or two semesters. We may nominate up to two students for a full academic year or for one semester. Application for the exchange is open to all qualified students regardless of their financial aid status.

La Universidad de Costa Rica

  • Established in 1843
  • Oldest, largest, and most prestigious university in Costa Rica
  • Approximately 39,000 students
  • Comprehensive university, with 12 Facultades and more than 25 schools of study, institutes, and research centers
  • Main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, located in San Pedro section of San José
  • Free shuttle service connects all university buildings

City of San José

  • Capital and largest city of Costa Rica
  • Located in the Central Valley
  • Population about 350,000 (1,600,000 in the larger metropolitan area)

Academic Program

  • Two semesters: first semester runs from late February to late June, second semester runs from early August to early December
  • Students may apply for one or two semesters
  • All regular university courses (except language courses) are taught in Spanish
  • Students may enroll in special courses taught in English for an additional fee
  • Students may register for courses in any combination of subjects

Living Arrangements

  • Students may request a homestay or make their own living arrangements


  • Minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Must have completed sophomore year (or at least three semesters, for spring entrants) prior to enrolling at UCR
  • Must have completed at least four semesters of college-level Spanish prior to enrolling at UCR; students may be required to enroll in an intensive Spanish language course held prior to the start of the semester, at the discretion of UCR

Financial Arrangements

  • Exchange student pays no tuition to MHC or UCR (tuition waiver applies only to regular UCR courses; UCR will charge tuition for special courses taught in English for international students, and for intensive Spanish course, if required)
  • Exchange student pays directly for room and is responsible for her own meals, as well as any nominal university fees, round-trip travel to Costa Rica, books, and personal expenses
  • Most students will find that their family contribution and federal or outside aid for which they are eligible, will be sufficient to cover their costs
  • Exchange students for whom those resources are not sufficient are guaranteed Laurel Fellowships; financial aid award will be based on total budget, including MHC study abroad fee, any nominal UCR fees, tuition for English-taught courses and/or the intensive Spanish course, and allowances toward room and board, books, personal expenses, and round-trip airfare

How to Apply

  • Submit Mount Holyoke’s Request to Study Abroad (and Laurel Fellowship application, if applicable) according to the instructions on the Deadlines page; applications are ordinarily due early in December for the full year or fall semester, late March for spring
  • Students will be notified by early February (for the full year or fall semester) or early May (for spring) whether they have been selected for the exchange
  • Exchange nominees will submit completed UCR application to the McCulloch Center, for forwarding to UCR (students must also be accepted by UCR)