Founded in the city of Antofagasta in 1956, the Catholic University of the North was Chile’s third Catholic university and in 1964, it was established by the Government of Chile as an autonomous university and as the eighth oldest university in Chile.
It is based around two campuses: the main campus in Antofagasta and the Guayacan campus in the city of Coquimbo. The Antofagasta campus’ strengths lie in architecture, sciences (particularly geological sciences) and engineering, while Coquimbo is strong in marine sciences, business and health sciences.
Students can choose to study with one of eight faculties, four schools, 38 undergraduate programmes and 30 graduate programmes.
Its priority areas for research are mining, geology, astronomy, archaeology, social sciences, marine sciences, water resources, energy and health.
There are several museums, specialising in geology, archaeology and the Atacama Desert, which is also nearby.
Antofagasta is known as Chile’s mining capital and is recognised globally as the ideal location for astronomy – it offers the clearest skies in the world and no more than 20 cloudy days a year. It is home to several national and international observatories, as well as some of the world’s largest telescopes.
The port city of Coquimbo, meanwhile, is famed for its nearby beach resorts and is in the perfect position for studying marine science. It is surrounded by small villages, such as Pisco Elqui and Montegrande, where the famous Chilean liquor, pisco, originated.