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Study in Costa Rica

Everything you need to know about studying in Costa Rica as an international student.

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Why study in Costa Rica?

Costa Ricans (or “Ticos” as they’re also known) are said to live some of the happiest lives in the world, in part down to their relaxed surroundings and way of life. Costa Rica is a mix of ethnicities and cultures, making it an interesting and tolerant society to experience when studying abroad.

The standard of universities in Costa Rica has been improving, and now international students can choose Costa Rica for a great quality of life and education.

Search for a university

What are the best programs in Costa Rica?

The majority of programs in Costa Rica will be taught in Spanish, however an increasing number of options are available in English. In general, public universities teach a wide range of subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The country can also offer specialist vocational programs from private institutions including business schools, medical universities and engineering universities.

Whether you’re looking to study for a BA, BSc, MBA or doctorate degree, Studee can help you find the perfect place to study in Costa Rica.

Popular subjects to study in Costa Rica

How Studee can help you

  1. Universities & programs

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations

  2. Application assistance

    Be guided through your application process

  3. Visa & embassy guidance

    Maximise your chances of being granted a visa

  4. Enrollment & travel advice

    Get support all the way to your first day at university

Speak to a personal advisor (free service)

What is the cost of studying in Costa Rica?

Many universities in Costa Rica charge on a per credit basis. This means that tuition costs are around $25,000 a year, but can also be lower depending on the university. Living costs in Costa Rica are noticeably cheaper than parts of Europe and the US.

Student reviews for Costa Rica

  • Jacinta Astles
    Australia
    Overall experience 5 stars
    Academic
    5 stars
    University social
    5 stars
    Accommodation
    5 stars
    University facilities
    5 stars
    University for Peace Peace Studies
    What's it like to study in Costa Rica?
    Locals are very friendly, there are many places to visit and it is easy to travel by bus. There are beaches, rainforests, volcanoes, mountains.
  • Pedro Fonseca
    Nicaragua
    Overall experience 3 stars
    Academic
    3 stars
    University social
    2 stars
    Accommodation
    2 stars
    University facilities
    2 stars
    University for Peace Dispute Resolution
    What's it like to study in Costa Rica?
    Is really expensive, people don’t have identity or culture and food is really bad.
  • Yumiko Takano
    Japan
    Overall experience 5 stars
    Academic
    4 stars
    University social
    4 stars
    Accommodation
    4 stars
    University facilities
    3 stars
    University for Peace Peace Studies
    What's it like to study in Costa Rica?
    The locals are friendly and very patient even you do not speak fluent Spanish.
  • Kathryn Fahey
    United States
    Overall experience 5 stars
    Academic
    3 stars
    University social
    5 stars
    Accommodation
    4 stars
    University facilities
    3 stars
    University for Peace Human Rights
    What's it like to study in Costa Rica?
    Super friendly, safe, beautiful, adventurous. The best!! There are some things that can be frustrating - such as an overly 'pura vida' and slightly delayed lifestyle, but for the most part that is great. Some people had issues with robberies in the nearby 'city' but in remote areas we didn't find that to be the case at all. The biggest downfall for me is the food - not the best, lacks flavor and spice.
  • Tiyamike Mkanthama
    Malawi
    Overall experience 5 stars
    Academic
    4 stars
    University social
    4 stars
    Accommodation
    4 stars
    University facilities
    3 stars
    University for Peace Environmental Science
    What's it like to study in Costa Rica?
    Costa Rica is definately one of the most beautiful places on Earth with at least 5 percent of the world's diversity concentrated here. The beaches are amazing with both the Pacific and Carrebean coasts accessible. Costa Rica is one of the countries to abolish an army and that adds the cherry on top for a peace orientated country like UPEACE to be located here. The people are cordial and easy going.

Key facts

  • Costa Rican colón ₡ Currency
  • 4.9 million Population
  • Spanish Language
  • 17 Universities

Where can you study in Costa Rica?

Many of the country’s universities are in San José, Costa Rica’s capital. The busy city is home to many student friendly attractions with a vibrant cultural scene and green spaces. From the city it’s easy to get transport to some of the natural attractions the country is known for such as volcanoes and beautiful beaches.

Universities in Costa Rica

What are the requirements to study in Costa Rica?

Qualifications

Depending on the exact program and level you choose to study, you may need to have a qualification that shows the completion of secondary education, good progress with your current degree program, or a bachelor’s degree. Each institute will have their own program requirements you need to meet, so make sure you know what these are before deciding where to apply.

English language tests

Either IELTS or TOEFL test results are usually accepted by Costa Rican universities. Alternatively, if you can show that you've studied in English before, this may be accepted as proof of your ability.

Costa Rica student visa

Some international students planning to study in Costa Rica must apply for a temporary tourist visa first in order to travel into the country to begin their studies; to get one of these you must have a copy of your birth certificate and a criminal record check. Many countries do not require this.

All international students must request in writing a “Special category of student” visa once in Costa Rica from the Office of International Affairs and External Cooperation (OAICE).

How to study in Costa Rica

  1. Choose a university and program you want to study in Costa Rica
  2. Go to the chosen university’s website to apply
  3. You will receive a code to access your application
  4. Fill out your personal information including your educational background
  5. Upload the requested scanned documents, this may include transcripts, a passport, diplomas, and certificates
  6. Submit your application and wait for an offer
  7. Accept an offer and pay any necessary deposits to secure your place
  8. Start applying for your Costa Rica student visa

Alternative countries to consider