Mexico has a population of 120 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 2018.
Best universities worldwide
Top universities in Mexico
=1. Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education
Established in 1943 by a group of local businessmen, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education 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 current Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto and many members of the Latin American business community.
=1. National Autonomous University of Mexico
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 five presidents of Mexico and many famous journalists, politicians and philosophers.
3. Metropolitan Autonomous University
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.
=4. Autonomous University of Baja California
The Autonomous University of Baja California was founded as a public university in 1957. It is now one of the largest universities in Mexico and is seen as a leader in the north-eastern region, spreading across three campuses and five sub-campuses.
Based in the coastal town of Ensenada, it is best known for the School of Marine Sciences and Centre for Oceanographic Research, both of which were established in 1960.
It is one of 13 Mexican institutions involved in the cross-border CaliBaja educational consortium created in June 2017 by the University of San Diego. The university’s 60th anniversary, four months earlier, was marked by the issue of a special commemorative Mexican national lottery ticket.
The university’s sports teams are known as Cimarrones.
=4. Autonomous University of Hidalgo State
The Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, or the Autonomous University of Hidalgo State (UAEH), began as the Instituto Literario y Escuela de Artes y Oficios (Literary Institute and School of Arts and Crafts) in Pachuca, in 1869.
UAEH is the oldest and largest university in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, and is known as one of the best universities in Ibero-America and Latin America. It is a member of the Consortium of Mexican Universities and is one of the best universities in Mexico for postgraduate studies.
It is divided into six faculties in Pachuca, the capital city of Hidalgo. There are also several other campuses located throughout the state of Hidalgo: Actopan, Apan, Atotonilco de Tula, Ciudad Sahagún, Huejutla de Reyes, Minderal del Monte, Tepeií del Río, Tizayuca, Tlahuelilpan, Tulancingo and Zimapán, plus four preparatory schools in the Pachuca region.
Several other universities have made the fourth place position. Scroll down to see the full list of top universities in Mexico.
Top universities in Mexico 2018
Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2018 profile.
|Mexico Rank 2018||World University Rank 2018||University||City|
|=1||601–800||Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education||Monterrey|
|=1||601–800||National Autonomous University of Mexico||Mexico City|
|3||801–1000||Metropolitan Autonomous University||Mexico City|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of Baja California||Mexicali|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of Hidalgo State (UAEH)||Pachuca|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of Nuevo León||San Nicolás de los Garza|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of Puebla||Puebla|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of the State of Mexico||Toluca|
|=4||1001+||Autonomous University of Yucatán||Mérida|
|=4||1001+||University of Guadalajara||Gudalajara|
|=4||1001+||National Polytechnic University (IPN)||Mexico City|
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