The Federico Santa María Technical University (USM) was founded in 1926 in Valparaiso, a city on the Chilean coast.
The university is named after its founder, who left his fortune to be used to build a university in his hometown of Valparaiso. Over the years since its founding the number of campuses has grown and today there are five campuses in 4 of the main cities of Chile, Valparaiso, Santiago, Concepción and Viña del Mar.
The university was recognized in 2017 has the first place in Latin America in Engineering and Technology, and in 2018 in second place in the region ( Times Higher World University Ranking by Subject) and has the biggest engineering School in Chile.
Besides being known as one of the best Engineering Schools in Latin America, its Valparaiso Campus was awarded as the second most beautiful university campus in Latin America.
USM prides itself on attracting students from some of the poorest areas of Latin America although it is one of the most highly selective institution in Latin America, participating in degree courses that are among some of the most rigorous in the region. USM also receives every semester a large number of exchange students from some of the most selective Universities in the world.
The university primarily offers bachelor’s degrees, with undergraduates making up around 95 per cent of the total student population.
There are 16 university departments offering a wide range of courses, although the majority are subdivisions of engineering, technology, there is a Business School, Arquitecture, Product Design and Sciences, there are several Phd programs including Biotechnology, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Sciences and many engineering fields.
Each year USM holds the university graduation ceremony on the same date, December 20, in commemoration of the death of the university’s founder.
Students and alumni are known as "Sansanos", and among the former USM students are poet Raul Zurita, who won the 2000 Chilean National Prize for Literature, composer Abelardo Quinteros and mathematician Robert Frucht.