7 Best Universities in Panama for International Students

While Panama is more famous as a vacation destination, the country is gradually becoming an international education hub in South America. In terms of quality education, Panama currently ranks fourth in Latin-America. However, in terms of affordability, Panamanian universities are one of the most accessible, especially to International students. 

The top universities in Panama are mostly located in Panama City, the most cosmopolitan city in Latin America. Thus, foreign students are afforded with an international environment which adds to their global quality of education. 

Panama takes pride in its renowned tertiary academic institutions that provide diverse course offerings and study specializations from architecture, engineering, and technology, social sciences, law, medicine, and education. They also offer postgraduate studies with integral research opportunities. Top universities in Panama have international academic affiliations and certified by international accreditation bodies. 

The educational system in Panama follows international standards. However, Spanish is the primary medium of instruction in the majority of its program offerings. Thus, learning Spanish is an essential requirement. A student visa is also a fundamental requirement to study.

You can apply for the student visa by visiting http://www.ustraveldocs.com 

If you’re planning to study in Panama, here are the top universities that can help you build a promising career in the future:

1. Technological University of Panama (UTP) 

The Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá is the best state university for science and technology in Panama. Also known as “La Tecnológica”, its main campus is located in Panama City. However, it has regional centers in Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Veraguas, Azuero, Coclé, Colón, Oeste and two extensions campuses in Howard and Tocumen.

Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá is an off-shoot of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Panama. It started as a Polytechnic Institute in 1975 under the University of Panama as a brainchild of Dr. Víctor Levi Sasso. The institute later evolved as a separate and independent academic institution and was renamed the Technological University of Panama in 1981 under the auspices of General Omar Torrijos Herrera. Since then the university invested in more buildings and facilities to consolidate its own institutional identity.

To date, the university has produced approximately 70,000 professional graduates, who have played an important role in the development of Panama as a nation. The university’s offerings are closely integrated with the governmental, private and social sectors allowing it to align its curriculum to the technological, social, political direction and development of the country. Also, its affiliation to international academic and research institutions facilitates its productive integration in the international arena.

Considered as the national leader in engineering research and technology, UTP currently offers one of the widest ranges of technological and engineering degrees. 

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

  • Submit a letter addressed to Secretary-General, Mgr. Ricardo A. Reyes requesting a Certificate of Admission for Foreign Students. The letter should indicate the applicant’s name, nationality, passport number, address, telephone, email, course applied and other information.
  • Attach the following documents: original and one (1) copy of complete high school credits; Original and one (1) copy of the diploma or certificate of completion of secondary studies; One (1) passport-sized photo; Identification (valid passport or immigration card), original and one (1) copy. For a student in his last year of high school, credits as to date must be included.
  • Credits and high school diploma from a foreign country must be authenticated by the Consul of Panama in the country where the applicant studied, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama or the Hague Convention (Apostille Seal). The documents must also be revalidated by the Ministry of Education of Panama (MEDUCA).
  • All documents must be translated in Spanish by an authorized public translator.
  • After verification, pay B50.00 (Fifty Balboas) in the General Fund of the Technological University of Panama. 
  • Submit cash receipt (1 original and 1 photocopy) to get the Certificate of Admission for Foreign Students
  • You will be assigned a foreign student number to enrol in the admission tests and to perform any paperwork within the University Technological of Panama. 
  • Once you have secured your student number, you can now proceed with your online registration. http://matricula.utp.ac.pa/siu/paso1.aspx. Note that you need to enter your assigned student number and a digital photo taken from a webcam, digital camera to register online. 

Contact Details

Technological University of Panama
Address: Avenida Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Vía Puente Centenario, Víctor Levi Sasso Metropolitan Campus, Panama City
Phone: (507) 560-3000
Email: buzondesugerencia@utp.ac.pa
Website: http://www.utp.ac.pa/

2. University of Panama

man wearing backpack on high ground

One of the oldest state universities in Panama with over 80 years tradition of academic excellence, the Universidad de Panamá was instituted in May 1935 through the Presidential Decree of Harmodio Arias Madrid. It started as a night shift school housed in a pavilion of the National Institute with an initial enrolment of 175 students taking up different courses in education, business, natural sciences, engineering, and law.

Under the leadership of President Enrique A. Jimenez, construction for its new campus commenced in El Cangrejo in 1947. The campus was initially comprised of the Administration and Library, Humanities, Engineering and Architecture and Science Laboratory. The new campus was officially inaugurated in 1953 in time with Panama’s 50th anniversary as a republic. Between 1960-1970, 15 more buildings were added which included Dentistry and Law and the Experimental Center for Agricultural Research in Tocumen. 

With its growing role in educating the Panamanian people across the country, regional university centers in Chiriquí and Veraguas were constructed in 1972. More regional centers were built in the succeeding years.

Today, UTP is the biggest university in Panama. Its central campus alone has more than 83 academic buildings offering the most diverse and broadest course disciplines available including architecture, agriculture, education, science and technology, social sciences, medicine, dentistry, and nursing, business, computer and electronics, and engineering.

The university also has different specialized institutes dedicated to the advancement and research of certain disciplines. Among them included the Institute of Food and Nutrition, Central American Institute for Education Administration and Supervision, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Biodiversity and Women’s Institute, among many others.

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

The admission of international students is primarily facilitated through an online registration system.

  • Register online by filling up the online registration form at https://sirex.up.ac.pa/estudiantes/registrate
  • In filling up this form, you need to prepare the following documents (in digital format) which will be uploaded.
  • Request letter, addressed to the Secretary-General, Magister Nereida Elizabeth Herrera Tuñón, writing down the career you want to take and data general
  • Passport type photo
  • High school diploma and credits duly authenticated by the Panamanian consular of your country and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama or Apostille Seal.
  • Documents (Diploma) must also be revalidated by the Ministry of Education located in Ancón, Bolivar Institute)
  • Passport or migration card
  • All documents must be properly translated into Spanish by an official translator. Digital copies of original documents must be submitted.
  • Once the online form is completed, the system generates request number
  • Visit the online registration system for foreigners of the University of Panama at https://sirex.up.ac.pa/estudiantes/home_est#
  • Enter your passport number, email address, and request number.
  • Pay fee for the Certification for Foreign Students.
  • Go to General Secretariat and show payment receipt and number request. You will be assigned an appointment schedule.
  • On your scheduled appointment, bring all physical documents for verification.
  • Get your student number which may be sent via email along with further instructions.
  • Take Admission tests.

Contact Details

University of Panama 
Address: Transistmica Highway, Urbanization of El Cangrejo, corregimiento of Bella Vista, District of Panama, Panama City
Phone. (507) 523-5000
Email: secretaria.general@up.ac.pa
Website: http://www.up.ac.pa

3. Latin University of Panama

Founded in 1991, the Universidad Latina de Panamá started as a graduate school for education. It was established in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica near Chiriquí province.

Through the Ministry of Education of Panama Decree 606, the school was granted to offer undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. Subsequently, two campuses in Panama City and the City of David were established which provided Business Administration and Education programs. In the subsequent years, three new satellite campuses were opened in Veraguas, Herrera, and Cocle.

More than just providing education, the university aims to help students in the execution of their life plans. They aspire to create citizens who are humanistic, innovative, environmentally conscious and in harmony with continuous improvement and technology. They intend to produce competent professionals committed to excellence and the social values founded on technological advances and infrastructure and with unceasing desire for self –improvement.

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

Submit the following documents: 

  • 1 passport photo
  • 1 Copy of the valid passport datasheet.
  • 1 Copy of duly apostilled diploma of completion of studies of secondary education
  • 1 Copy of duly apostilled academic credits (apostilled).
  • Certification of MEDUCA (Ministry of Education of Panama) that validates the completion of studies at the secondary education level.

All documents must be translated into Spanish by an accredited translator.

Contact Details

Latin University of Panama
Address: Ricardo J. Alfaro, Panama, Panama 87-877
Phone. (507) 230-8600
Email: web@ulatina.edu.pa
Website: https://www.ulatina.edu.pa/

4. Santa María La Antigua Catholic University 

students and woman carrying white and green textbook

The Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua is the first private university in Panama City that was founded on May 27, 1965. The name of the school served as a tribute to the Marian invocation with which the first diocese was founded in Tierra Firme, in 1513. This Catholic school which is formally affiliated with the Augustinian Recollects has five branches located in Panama City, Colon, Chiriquí, Herrera, and Veraguas. In 1976, the university started operating at its current central campus in Ricardo J. Alfaro Avenue.

After over five decades of academic excellence, the university prides itself on graduating over 30,000 alumni in different disciplines who are now playing key positions in both the public and private sectors in Panama. Their alumni equally shared the values of optimal professionalism, humanistic sense and disposition to help and improve society. The tertiary school offers more than 80 academic undergraduate and graduate programs under the following disciplines: Business, Architecture and Design, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences, Law and Political Science and Humanities and Religious Sciences. Programs are spread in its satellite campuses across the country.

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

Prepare and Submit the following documents to the office of admissions:

  • Original and one (1) copy of duly apostilled secondary studies/ baccalaureate diploma. For students in the last year in high school, school certification of that they are in the last year to graduate.
  • Original and one (1) copy of credits of completed secondary studies (last two quarters) 7th to 12th.
  • Credits from foreign schools outside Panama must secure a certificate of revalidation from the Ministry of Education of Panama
  • Original and one (1) copy of a Birth certificate
  • 2 passport size photos (no photocopy)
  • Certificate of good health
  • Admission fees (non-refundable)

Pass specific admissions tests/ personality test/ aptitude test required for your specific course choice.

For further inquiries, you can register online in the university’s preadmission application, which can be accessed here https://sys.usma.ac.pa/usmalib/admision.aspx

Contact Details

Santa María La Antigua Catholic University
Address: Ricardo J. Alfaro, Panama
Phone. (507) 230-8206
Email: admission@usma.ac.pa
Website: https://www.usma.ac.pa/

5. Inter-American University of Panama 

The Universidad Interamericana de Panamá is a private tertiary academic institution that started its operations in 1994 with the mission to produce a citizenry with a firm commitment to the development of the country.

In less than a decade, the university has established itself as a premier educational institution and became a member of the Laureate International Universities network, the world’s largest private university network that spans 5 continents dedicated to fostering quality higher education services.

The inclusion of the University in the network of the best private universities in the world prompted it to offer postgraduate programs and expand its operations in La Chorrera and Vía Brasil.

The academe dedicates itself to preparing students to acquire knowledge, skills, and values that will allow them to effectively can join the work world productively contribute to the development of their company, the general society and the nation at large. It adopts an educational approach that takes into consideration the different types of students, their learning preferences and inclinations. They focus on the development of the unique talents of each student so that they can positively contribute to the development of the country.

The Inter-American University of Panama offers over 70 academic programs in the following disciplines: Health Sciences, Hospitality, Gastronomy and Tourism, Engineering, Architecture and Design, Administrative, Maritime and Port Sciences and Law and political science. All programs are continuously updated and abreast of the latest trends and development in every discipline. 

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

The Admissions Department will help applicants seeking admission to the university to help them prepare their future career at the University.

  • Personally visit the admissions office at the University. An admissions advisor will help the student in the application process.
  • Fill up and submit full admission form
  • Attach the following documents with the form:
    • Two (2) passport photos
    • Apostilled baccalaureate diploma and original
    • Apostilled original high school credits
    • Copy of passport
    • Credits from foreign schools outside Panama must have a revalidation certificate from the Ministry of Education of Panama

Contact Details

Inter-American University of Panama 
Address: Avenida Manuel Espinosa Batista Panama City
Phone: (507) 323-6677
Email: info@uip.edu.pa
Website: http://www.uip.edu.pa

6. Metropolitan University of Education Science and Technology

Educating with relevance for the future, the Universidad Metropolitana de Educacion, Ciencia y Tecnologia (UMECIT) was established on December 16, 2002, and was approved by the Ministry of National Education of Panama in 2004.

As an institution of higher learning, the university is directed towards the search for truth and the consolidation of the divine values ​​of man. With special emphasis on science and technology, the agents to the modern development of the world, the university is oriented on humanistic tradition and the maintenance of social values described as the Cyber-Humanist model. This is characterized by an integration of teaching, research, and technologies with the end objective of improving humanity and the environment.

UMECIT heavily relies on the use of modern technologies in learning. Traditional classrooms are supplemented by virtual classrooms. The use of simulators in the teaching and learning process is intensely implemented as part of the learning process of students. It has a Business Simulator for its Business and Entrepreneurship programs and Maritime Simulator for Nautical Sciences, among others. 

Among the program offerings provided by the university included undergraduate and postgraduate programs in administrative, health, technology, construction, environment, maritime, law, forensic sciences, humanities, and education.

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

  • Go the Admissions Office and complete the registration form
  • Submit the completed form with the following documents:
    • Original and (1) copy of the Baccalaureate Diploma approved by MEDUCA
    • Original and (1) copy of duly apostilled high school credits
    • Passport
    • Certificate of good physical and mental health
    • Two (2) passport-size photographs
  • Make a payment of fees for registration and admission exams.
  • After passing the exams, you will be scheduled for an interview with the selection team of the specific program you are applying for.

Contact Details

Metropolitan University of Education Science and Technology
Address: Av Simón Bolívar, Panama City, Panamá
Phone: (507) 2649908
Website: https://www.umecit.edu.pa/

7. University of the Isthmus

With a tradition of excellence of over 30 years, the Universidad Del Istmo (UDI) is a higher education institution dedicated to providing students an unforgettable, viable, global, adaptable and socially responsible educational experience, underscored by its academic distinction. It aims to revolutionize tertiary education through viable actions of excellence, integrity, leadership, attachment, entrepreneurship, and novelty.

The university is built around the values of fraternity, innovation, commitment, and flexibility. It promotes the sense of family within the academic community to facilitate the integral development of every member. It employs an innovative, competent, and structured university system for individual and collaborative learning. It dedicates itself to producing professionals of excellence that act on the needs of today’s world. Finally, it fosters educational services that are aligned with the academic community, within the context of accountable, impartial and open-minded accessibility.

The programs the university offers focuses on four disciplines namely: administrative and Financial Sciences, Engineering and Information Technology, Law and political science and Education and Social Sciences. 

Admission Requirements for Foreign Students

The University of the Isthmus is one of the most foreign-friendly academic institutions of Panama. You can simply visit their website and request a free consultation with your needs.

  • Access this link, to learn the process of admission as well as other requirements. This will also serve as your preadmission registration.
  • Communicate with an academic advisor who will provide you detailed instructions on how to go about with your application. Please take note of the regular schedules.
  • Visit the admission office to formalize your registration.
  • Submit the following documents to the admissions office:
    • Original and (1) copy of the diploma of completion of studies of secondary studies duly apostilled from the corresponding Panamanian Foreign Ministry or consulate or apostille of the Hague Convention.
    • Original and (1) copy of the credits of bachelor’s studies duly apostilled from the corresponding Panamanian Foreign Ministry or consulate or apostille of the Hague Convention.
    • (1) Copy Passport.
    • Two passport-sized photographs
    • Updated Resume

Contact Details

University of the Isthmus
Address: Local 7D, Los Pueblos 2000, Av. José Agustín Arango, Panamá, Panama
Phone: (507) 800-0606
Website: https://www.udelistmo.edu/

In the end

The admission policies of every tertiary academic institution in Panama may slightly vary. However, they also share common requirements that you should keep in mind. This includes student visa, authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama of your highschool diploma and credits, MEDUCA revalidation certificate of your documents, passports, and photos. All documents must also be translated in Spanish by an authorized translator.

Time to get to study and finally graduate!

Matt Romero

I’m Matthew Romero, one of the guys behind PanamaLifeInsider.com I am incredibly passionate about Panama, its beautiful territory, and all the incredible opportunities which offer to people coming here from all over the world both either visiting and settling. In this blog, I decided to share my passion with you!

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