Studying in Mexico City

university in Mexico City
Updated 2022-08-01 14:58

Being the Mexican capital, Mexico City has no shortage of quality universities. Walking around neighborhoods near the city center, you will find that a distinct student culture permeates much of the city. So here's all you need to know if you're looking to move to Mexico City as an international student.

The Mexican higher education system

If you can think of the program, you can most likely find it, not just in one place but several. For example, many offer great communications programs, such as the University of Mexico City, which has several campuses across the city, including in the illustrious Roma neighborhood. Creative programs abound, and you can find numerous that are affordable. Aspiring filmmakers can head to Churubusco Studios off Tlalpan Avenue to sign up for production classes in a classic site for film and TV.

Take your time as you look into the universities and programs of study in Mexico City, and carefully consider your options. Your decision depends considerably on what area of study interests you the most. UNAM is very popular for medicine and economic programs. UNAM has some of the most innovative in the country.

The most recognized university in the city is la UNAM which stands for the Autonomous National Mexican University. Thus it holds a lot of history and 1st place among the top universities in the country. It has a beautiful main campus situated down south and is a great place to spend time studying as it is nestled amidst a southern nature reserve. As a UNESCO heritage site, it is very much worth a visit. It incorporates elements of traditional Mexican culture, most exemplified in the beautiful murals, but it also combines these themes with 20th-century modernism.

What makes UNAM so attractive for many students is that it has several campuses throughout the country that maintain close relationships. So let's say that you are interested in archaeology or ecology, you can keep up with the latest projects being carried out elsewhere.

Various acclaimed universities are also located outside the city to provide students with an open and illustrious space to learn. A shining example is one of the most widely recognized Tecnológico de Monterrey, which has 31 campuses throughout the country, including two around Mexico City, one in southern Coapa near Xochimilco and another north in Santa Fe. A big draw for this expensive university that runs about $15,000 a year is that it has many undergraduate classes that are taught in English, making it an attractive choice for international students who would just like to spend a year in Mexico.

A public and more science-driven counterpart are the Politechnical National Institute (IPN,) where around 150,000 students are enrolled, most of which are studying physics, computer science and mechanical engineering.

Another important institution is the UAM, the Autonomous Mexican university, the second biggest public university in the city, offering almost all disciplines of study.

Anahuac and Iberoamericana are the farthest universities to get to, but if you are interested in a religious institution, you can't do better. They are private universities that excel in humanistic studies and design.

If you are on a budget, it pays to do your research as there are several smaller universities as well, such as the private Insurgentes University and the University of the Mexican Valley. You can also find with relative ease that different smaller institutes offer all kinds of programs such as minor writing, filmmaking, and fine art academies. What makes them very attractive is that they are very affordable and often have teachers that are very engaged with students.

You could also choose the Facultad de derecho (law school) if you want to specialize in that and start a career as a lawyer. Another highly recommended institute is La Salle, the Mexican Faculty of Medicine.

What are the enrolment conditions at Mexico City universities?

Most universities in Mexico City require passing an entrance exam that they charge for and taking an introductory course to evaluate your academic skills. Most of these exams cover a relatively wide range of subjects, so if you would like to apply, you should improve your writing and critiquing skills. Similar to tests like the SATs, you will be given several passages and asked to answer questions or construct arguments demonstrating your abilities to understand and elaborate.

Also, you need a valid passport, recent proof of studies (no older than 6 months) that shows grades of 80 (Mexico) or a GPA (US) of 2.9, and last but not least, you have to present a letter of recommendation.

In order to get your acceptance letter, you also have to pay the tuition fee.

In terms of being admitted, there is a discrepancy between the competitiveness of private and public universities. The former is much less discerning about who they accept; a student is usually accepted (above 90% rate). While in the latter public sector, it is almost the opposite. In the UNAM, for example, it's 10%, UAM 20%, and the Polytechnic National Institute is on the higher end of the spectrum with 25%. The Autonomous University of Mexico City does things differently by making it a lottery system where acceptance is determined by chance.

How to obtain a student visa in Mexico 

If you decide to study in Mexico, you will have to present a valid student visa for the period. You can find all about the requirements on the government's website.

This usually includes your passport, a photo of you, proof of economic solvency, proof of residence, and the application form. You have to go to your closest Mexican consulate before entering the country and apply for it there.


You cannot legally work in Mexico with your student visa. You would have to apply for a work permit!

Scholarships for international students in Mexico City

Mexico is a very interesting country to visit. But also due to low costs for education and living expenses, it has become an even more important country. There are several options for students to apply for a scholarship in Mexico City, for more information visit this page.

Which Mexican universities have a high number of international students?

Many universities and the most sophisticated ones in Mexico are based in the capital. Although most have outstanding characteristics, international entities recognize some as high-quality institutes.

Measuring the reputation of universities internationally can be a great help when deciding on a professional career. For this reason, there are different organizations and sections of the educational sector where institutions are analyzed.

Mexico City is a great option to start a career and live a very significant cultural experience. In this city, you will find some of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, with very competitive educational programs. As for public and private studies, most universities maintain an international link with other institutions, which allows the exchange and certification of unique plans to start a bachelor's or master's degree in this country.

How to find student accommodation in Mexico City?

If you plan to study in the capital and have an extra room that you want to rent, the university residence is perfect for you. University residences are safe and comfortable spaces where you will enjoy student life in the company of people with the same interests as you.

In addition, the purpose of the university residences is to provide you with a service that facilitates your student life. Many offer proximity to the institute, cleaning, laundry, security, study areas, and Wi-Fi.

  • La salle university

This university has a plan for university residences in Mexico City. There are two options, residences for female students and lodging with the neighbors of the university area. You can get more information about La Salle residences on their website.

  • Universidad Iberoamericana

The Iberoamericana has an accommodation system in which residents of the area house foreign and international students during their study period. If you want to participate in the system of this university, either to host students or find accommodation, consider having a look at its official website.

  • UNAM and Politécnico

These universities do not offer residence programs, but many apartments offer lodging services in the surroundings of their campuses. If you plan to study at any of these schools and you still do not have a place to live, we recommend comparing options in nearby neighborhoods.

How to choose your student residences near the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México )

  • Copilco Universidad

Located in the Coyoacán area, it is filled with numerous cultural and entertainment venues, as well as the Coyoacán Center, the Viveros, Frida Kahlo's house, the Arts Center,d the León Trotsky house museum. In short, the best thing about this city region is that you can find a room for USD 140.

  • Santa Úrsula Coapa

If you are a UNAM student, this may be a good option. This neighborhood has beautiful places like the ecological park, an exciting market called “Los pescaditos,” and CASU from Santa Úrsula. In addition to having a good location, Santa Úrsula has different public transport services. You can share a flat for USD 125.

  • Insurgentes Cuicuilco

In addition to Santa Úrsula, this neighborhood is close to the UNAM. In Insurgentes Cuicuilco, you can visit the Perisur shopping center and various cultural areas such as the Science Museum and the Cuicuilco archaeological zone. Besides, you can find an apartment for USD 150.

Discover the pads near the National Polytechnic Institute

Torres Lindavista offers a good location and allows mobility with good public transport services. You can find a room in this neighborhood for USD 150

  • The Valle del Tepeyac colony

It is a neighborhood with good connections and is close to the Polytechnic. Its comfort is vital for students since it is effortless to get to your classes. In its surroundings, there are public spaces where many people gather, such as the Church of Guadalupe, the Tepeyac Park, and a zoo. You can find accommodation in the colony for USD 140.

  • Lindavista

Located in the northern zone, Lindavista is a gorgeous area due to its surroundings. You will find shops in the Parque Lindavista Center and attractive places to have a coffee or spend the afternoon. The best part is that room prices start at USD 140.

Stay near the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana 

  • Xochimilco

Do you like going to cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping malls?

Do you enjoy afternoons in parks and outdoor areas? If so, this neighborhood is perfect for you and the other students. The prices of shared rooms and flats here start at USD 160.

  • The Cafetales colony

Known for its street foods that satisfy students' palates during their final exams, Cafetales is an area surrounded by institutes of all levels. You can find a student rental for USD 150.

Find university residences near the Universidad Iberoamericana

  • El Yaqui

It is just a few minutes from the Santa Fe shopping center and very close to the Ibero-American University. This neighborhood offers apartments from USD 200.

  • San José de Los Cedros

On the other hand, San José de Los Cedros will be another good option for students of the Ibero-American university. You can find rooms for USD 190.

Neighborhoods near La Salle University

  • The Escandón colony

This neighborhood is a perfect spot for students. It has an ideal location and is situated between avenues such as Patriotismo, Revolución, and Viaducto. Likewise, the transport sector benefits the area with proximity to metro and bus stations such as Patriotismo and Chilpancingo and the Escandón Bus station. In short, getting around in Escandón will not be a problem for you. In addition, you can go out to cafes and restaurants in your spare time. Room prices in this area start at USD 195.

  • La Roma Sur

Do not miss this option if you want to share an apartment. La Roma Sur is a location with everything you need to have a good time, from parks, restaurants, or cafes to a shopping center like Delta Park. In addition to having excellent mobility, this is a tranquil neighborhood, and you can walk to Roma Norte, where you will find a club, more cafes and restaurants, and a more social environment. This neighborhood has rooms from USD 200.

  • Nápoles

Characterized by its Californian colonial-style streets and houses, this area fuses modern businesses with traditional markets and street markets. It has places of interest such as the Siqueiros Cultural Polyforum, the Mexico World Trade Center, and the Alfonso Esparza Oteo Park. In a familiar and relaxed atmosphere, this neighborhood offers charming rooms for USD 200.

You can find student rentals on websites like Roomgo to stay or share apartments in University Residences at different prices by choosing the neighborhood closest to your university.

You can also find options on Facebook Marketplace or Mercado Libre. On the other hand, it is also advisable to walk through the chosen area and personally consult about the rent signs in the apartments.

University transportation scholarships for international students in Mexico City

If you are studying for a Bachelor's Degree or University Superior Technician (TSU) and your household's monthly income is equal to or less than four minimum wages per person, this scholarship helps you continue your studies throughout your career.

In addition, if you are registered in the PROSPERA beneficiary registry or spend $500.00 or more in transportation to your IPES, you can request additional support for this concept.

The amount of the complementary scholarship “Support your transportation” is 200.00 pesos monthly, as long as the maintenance scholarship has been previously requested during registration. Moreover, each state and IPES determines its publication schedule and duration period.

In summary, obtaining a degree in Mexico City can lead to rich cultural experiences during student life in addition to the educational level that promises very competitive careers.

Useful links:

Master Studies - Mexico City

Top Universities - Mexico City


Trip Savvy - UNAM campus attractions




Universidad Iberoamericana

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