The Federico Santa María Technical University (UTFSM) 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 UTFSM campuses in Valparaiso, Santiago and in Guayaquil in Ecuador, as well as branch campuses in Viña del Mar and Talcahuano.
UTFSM prides itself on attracting students from some of the poorest areas of Latin America although it is a highly selective institution and the degree courses are among some of the most rigorous in the country.
The university primarily offers bachelor’s degrees, with undergraduates making up around 95 per cent of the total student population, most of whom are Chilean nationals.
There are 14 university departments offering a wide range of courses, although the majority are subdivisions of engineering, technology and the sciences. Bachelor’s degrees take between two and four years to complete, while master’s degrees are two years and doctoral degrees between three and five years long.
Each year UTFSM 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 UTFSM students are poet Raul Zurita, who won the 2000 Chilean National Prize for Literature, composer Abelardo Quinteros and mathematician Robert Frucht.