Mexico has a population of 129 million, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. It may be part of North America (bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas), but it has its own unique Latin American identity and a rich, fascinating history.
Home to 34 Unesco Heritage Sites, Mexico offers endless opportunities to explore its pre-Hispanic civilisations and archaeological monuments, including Chichén Itzá (one of the new Seven Wonders of The World), the Mayan temples of Palenque and Teotihuacán’s pyramids. Much of the colonial architecture – a remnant of Spain’s 300-year rule – has been perfectly preserved and the country is bursting with museums and galleries documenting its cultural dynamism and creative energy.
Visitors from around the globe are drawn by its breathtaking and varied landscape, comprising 10,000km of pristine coastline, lush rainforests, arid desert and rugged mountains. It is also known for its distinctive musical output, such as mariachi, the country’s traditional folk music.
After Brazil, Mexico is the biggest economic player in Latin America and is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its excellent transport infrastructure, emergent higher education system and buzzing capital city make it an enticing and exciting choice in which to pursue further education.
Below are some of the best universities to study at in Mexico, based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.
Best universities worldwide
Top universities in Mexico
Founded in 1974 with the help of then-president Luis Echeverria Alvarez, the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) is spread over four campuses around Mexico City: Azcapotzalco, Cuajimalpa, Iztapalapa and Xochimilco. The fifth is based in Lerma, a city just outside the country’s capital.
As soon as it opened, UAM began offering an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering, making it the first Mexican university to do so. It offers 75 undergraduate and 75 postgraduate programmes.
UAM is involved in a wide range of social enterprise projects, with the aim of supporting and resolving the problems of Mexican society’s most vulnerable. These include stomatology clinics, legal services for those who cannot afford them and a research and training centre in Chiapas.
On-campus facilities include foreign language centres, a library, several bookshops, medical centres and sports grounds.
Established in 1943 by a group of local businessmen, the Monterrey Institute of Technology is one of the largest private, non-sectarian and co-educational campus universities in Latin America, with more than 90,000 students at high school, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Based in Monterrey, the institute has 31 campuses across 25 Mexican cities. Known for becoming the first university in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world to connect to the internet, it also has one of the most prestigious graduate business schools in the region and leads the way for patent applications among Mexican universities.
One of the largest collections of Don Quixote incunabula (early printed books) is held at the Cervantean Library, along with an original edition of L’Encyclopédie and the Mario Pani Archives.
Notable alumni include the former Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto and many members of the Latin American business community.
Dating back to 1551, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is the oldest and largest university in Latin America. It has several campuses in Mexico City and in other locations across the country, as well as four foreign campuses in San Antonio, Chicago and Hull (Canada).
It generates several strong research publications and patents in diverse subjects, such as human-computer interaction and robotics. It is also home to several excellent research centres, including the Centre for Applied Sciences and Technological Development, which focuses on the integration of science with real-world problems.
UNAM’s main campus was designed by some of Mexico’s finest architects and is now a World Heritage Site. It also features murals by some of Mexico’s most famous artists, including Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
It has produced three Nobel laureates – Alfonso García Robles (peace), Octavio Paz (literature) and Mario Molina (chemistry), as well as six presidents of Mexico, including the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador and many famous journalists, politicians and philosophers.
Top universities in Mexico 2021
Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2021 profile
|World University Rank 2021||Mexico Rank 2021||University||City|
|601–800||=1||Metropolitan Autonomous University||Mexico City|
|601–800||=1||Monterrey Institute of Technology||Monterrey|
|801–1000||3||National Autonomous University of Mexico||Mexico City|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Baja California||Mexicali|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Hidalgo State (UAEH)||Pachuca|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Nuevo León||San Nicolás de los Garza|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Puebla||Puebla|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Querétaro||Querétaro|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi||San Luis Potosi|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of the State of Mexico||Toluca|
|1001+||=4||Autonomous University of Yucatán||Mérida|
|1001+||=4||University of Guadalajara||Guadalajara|
|1001+||=4||University of Guanajuato||Guanajuato|
|1001+||=4||Michoacán University of San Nicolás of Hidalgo||Michoacán|
|1001+||=4||National Polytechnic University (IPN)||Mexico City|
|1001+||=4||University of Sonora||Sonora|
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