The Education System of Uruguay
Uruguay is located in south-eastern part of South America and is bordered by Brazil to its east and north, and Argentina to its west.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the education system in Uruguay. The education system of Uruguay is defined by the General Education Act, No. 18437. Education in Uruguay is free of charge at the public educational institutions from the pre-school educational level through the university level.
Education Profile of Uruguay
The education system of Uruguay starts with school education
that includes preschool, primary and secondary education. Upon successful completion of the school education, students can go for higher/tertiary education.
Pre-School Education/Early Childhood Education
The pre-school education is for children up to 5 years of age. Early childhood education is for children aged 0 to 3 years.
Initial education is for children aged 3 to 5 years. Education in Uruguay is mandatory for children aged 4 to 5 years.
In Uruguay, compulsory education last for 9 years covering primary education and basic cycle of secondary education.
The primary education in Uruguay is mandatory to attend and last for 6 years. Primary education is free of charge in Uruguay.
- Ages: 6 to 11
- Grades: 1 to 6
Secondary education is divided into two cycles of 3-years each:
- First or basic/middle school
- Second cycle/upper secondary education
First Cycle: Basic Cycle
This education is compulsory and last for 3 years. This secondary education level comprises of two streams- general education and technological education.
This educational level is optional and last for 3 years. This cycle education is provided by high schools and prepares students for higher education.
Secondary Technical and Vocational Education
Technical education is split up into 4 areas: Services, agriculture, artistic and industrial.
Vocational education prepares pupils for a particular profession/trade.
University higher education: In Uruguay, there are both public and private universities. University higher education consists of 1 public university-Universidad de la Republica and 4 private universities- Universidad de la Empresa, Universidad Catolica, Universidad de Montevideo, and Universidad ORT.
Non-university higher education: The non-university higher education consists of teacher training centres and institutes, the Industrial design centre, Military Academy, Naval School and Military Aviation School, and National Police Academy.
Higher Education Qualifications
At undergraduate level, bachelor’s degree is offered that last for 4 years.
At graduate level, programmes are offered that lead to specialisation, master or doctorate/PhD degree.
- Specialisation last for 1 year
- Master’s degree last for 1 to 2 years
- Doctoral last for 3 years
Admission requirements vary according to the study level, programme and institution. Students must have finished secondary education in order to gain admittance into the first level of higher education in Uruguay. Read the post “Admission Requirements for Higher Education
” to get detailed information on the admission requirements and procedure in Uruguay.
Language of Instruction
The language of instruction in Uruguay is Spanish.
The academic year in Uruguay commences in March and ends in December, with summer holidays in January and February. The academic year is divided into two semesters:
- First semester runs from March to July
- Second semester runs from August to December
Grading scale 1-12 is used, where in grade 1 is the lowest and grade 12 is the highest. Grades of 10, 11, and 12 are considered outstanding. Some private universities in Uruguay grade their pupils on a percentage basis, 60% or 70% being the passing grade.
| Grading Scale|| Grade||Grade description || Grade description (In English)|| Notes|
| 12,11,10|| S|| Sote|| Outstanding|| Highest Grade|
| 9|| SMB|| Sote Muy Bueno|| Excellent|| |
| 8|| MBS|| Muy Bueno Sote|| Very Good, close to Excellent|| |
| 7|| MB|| Muy Bueno|| Very Good|| |
| 6|| MBB|| Muy Bueno Bueno|| Good, close to Very Good|| |
| 5|| BMB|| Bueno Muy Bueno|| Good|| |
| 4|| B|| Beuno|| Approved|| |
| 3|| BR|| Bueno Regular || Almost Approved|| |
| 2|| RB|| Regular Bueno|| Not Approved|| |
| 1|| R|| Regular|| Very Bad/Poor|| Lowest Grade|
Cost of Study and Living
Uruguay is an affordable study and living destination. The cost of study and living
in Uruguay is within the students' budget.
International students may or may not require visa in order to study in Uruguay. Stays for up to 90 days in Uruguay do not need visa, but longer than this require a visa. Read the post "Study Visa for Uruguay
" to know about the Uruguayan Student Visa application and documentation.
Many of the higher education institutions in Uruguay offer scholarships to students in Uruguay. To know the scholarships offered for UG and PG studies in Uruguay, read the post "Scholarships to Study in Uruguay