Located in the Caribbean Sea, Cuba is the largest archipelago in the region. Besides the main island, Cuba is also formed by more than 4,000 cays, islets, and other small islands. Cuba is known around the world for many things: its beaches, its rum, its friendly people, its communist government, the lifestyle of its people, its music, and much more. Despite the difficulties and poverty, Cuba is also famous for its good higher education system and healthcare. In this article, we will be looking at the Cheapest Universities in Cuba for international students.
Many people could think that studying in Cuba is odd, but a lot of international students choose this country to complete their education every year. Studying in Cuba is not only an affordable option but is also an opportunity to get to know a culture with a completely different way of living.
People often suggest prospective students visit the island first since life there can be really different. There aren’t many stores, restaurants, or malls, the variety of food is limited, salaries are less than 30 USD per month, getting access to the internet can be tricky (unless you have a good international plan), etc. However, some really love the vibe of the cities and enjoy learning about life in the country.
Although it is possible to study a complete program in Cuba, the country is often chosen as the destination for studying one or two semesters abroad. Let’s see how the higher education system works so you can decide whether to go there for a semester or for studying the full program.
How are Cuban universities?
Cuba has more than 60 universities. All of them are public. The most important is the University of Havana, which was founded in the 18th century and has exchange programs and courses in English.
Bachelor’s degree programs last for five years, master’s degree programs last for two years, and doctoral degree programs last for three years or more. They also have an undergraduate distance learning option in which programs last for six years.
The government recently announced some changes that include reducing undergraduate programs by one year, so getting a bachelor’s degree would take four years. However, programs are still being adjusted and these changes will be implemented in the future.
How is the admission process at Cuban universities?
Most Cuban universities have entrance exams divided into subjects depending on the major you are interested in. The process may also include interviews.
You will also need to complete the legal procedures, as you will need a student visa and medical insurance to study in the island.
Can I study in English in Cuba?
Choosing Cuba as your university destination is great for learning Spanish. If you go abroad for a semester, it is possible to take different courses in English, but finding a program that is completely taught in English will be really hard.
Universities offer language courses for international students. This will not only be helpful for studying but also for communicating outside the classroom.
How affordable are universities in Cuba?
All universities in Cuba are public, so they are free for Cubans. As an international student, you will have to pay tuition fees that go from 20,000 USD to 40,000 USD for the complete program. This means that you will pay between 5,000 USD and 8,000 USD per year at cheap universities in Cuba.
Take into consideration that Cuba has cooperation programs with different countries in Latin America and Africa. Depending on your nationality, your studies may be cheaper or even completely free!
Is there something else I should know before moving to Cuba?
Cuba has two currencies. The Cuban Peso (CUP), which is used at local markets and for transportation, and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), whose value is close to 1 USD and is used for restaurants, payment of fees, and imported products. Be aware of this and don’t be ripped off in the streets. Learn the difference between CUP and CUC bills.
Regarding living costs, it is hard to calculate how much you will spend per month. You should budget around 250 USD for renting a one-bedroom apartment, less than 10 USD for transportation, and around 50 USD for utilities. Just make sure to avoid getting prices for tourists, which are much higher.
Cheap Universities in Cuba
1. University Marta Abreu of Las Villas (UCLV)
The University Marta Abreu of Las Villas, also called Central University Marta Abreu of Las Villas (UCLV), started working in 1952. It has two campuses: the main one located in the city of Santa Clara, and a remote campus located in a Topes de Collantes (a reserve park), which is often called the University of the Mountain.
With around 11,500 students, the university is divided into 13 faculties of humanities, economics, industrial engineering and tourism, construction engineering, social sciences, law, information science and education, psychology, mechanical engineering, agriculture, chemistry and pharmacy, electrical engineering, and mathematics, physics, and computer science. It offers 54 undergraduate programs and different master’s and doctorate programs.
Prospective students can be admitted through government scholarships or as self-funded students. Besides bachelor, master, and doctoral programs, UCLV has short courses, internships, and training courses available for international students. They also have student residences for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Regarding tuition fees, the full program for undergraduate degrees costs 23,500 USD that will be divided between the number of years of your program. Master’s degree programs at this cheap university in Cuba cost 4,500 USD and doctorate degree programs cost 6,500 USD. Contact them to get more information.
2. University of Havana (UH)
The University of Havana (UH) was founded more than 250 years ago, in 1728, which makes it the oldest in the country. It is also the biggest, with 15 faculties, almost 40,000 students, 14 research centers, and multiple learning centers throughout the island along with the main campus.
The UH ranked among the best universities in the world. This cheap university in Cuba was between the 501st and 510th best universities according to the 2020 QS World University Ranking.
It has 16 faculties of biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, pharmacy and foods, mathematics and computer science, geography, economics, law, communication, arts and literature, foreign languages, tourism, accounting and finance, and philosophy and history.
International students can be admitted through international agreements, through scholarships given by the government, or as self-funded students. To study in an undergraduate program you must be under 25 years old and pass the entrance exam.
Tuition fees for undergraduate degrees are 28,200 USD for the full program. This amount is divided into five payments that are done at the beginning of each academic year. They also have student residences to make your experience in Cuba easier.
Contact them to get more information about the programs available for international students. When exploring their website, click the “Translate to English” button in the menu located in the upper section of the page.
3. University of Holguín (UHo)
Founded almost 50 years ago, in 1973, the University of Holguín (UHo) is located in the city of Holguín and has almost 5,000 students.
The university is divided into eight faculties of law, economics, informatics and mathematics, industrial engineering and tourism, humanities, social sciences, engineering, and agricultural sciences.
In your application, you must submit a list of legalized documents, a curriculum, and a formal request for a place in one of the programs. Make sure to read all the information on their website because only nine undergraduate programs are available for international students. They also offer different specialties, graduate, and postgraduate degrees.
UHo also has multiple research projects and is part of different international programs, like Erasmus.
Contact them to get more information about tuition fees. You can change the language of the website by clicking the buttons at the end of the homepage or on the side of the page in the other sections of the website.
4. University of Information Sciences (UCI)
The next university in our list of cheapest universities in Cuba is the University of Information Sciences (UCI), which was established less than 20 years ago, in 2002. It specializes in the field of technology and is located in the capital city, Havana.
The university offers three undergraduate programs to more than 3,000 students. The programs available are bio-informatics engineering, information sciences engineering, and network and informatics security administration. They also offer master’s and doctorate degree programs in the same areas.
The university has different research centers and a publishing house. It also has student residences.
Regarding admissions, you’ll have to send a letter with a formal request for a place in one of their programs. You’ll have to prove your proficiency in Spanish since programs are not available in English. In case you don’t Spanish, they have a preparatory year so you can learn it.
To get more details about tuition fees and the programs available, contact them.
5. Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE)
The Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE) was opened in 1964 and was recently given the superior category of Excellence by the National Accreditation Board for its outstanding labor in the technology field.
The university is divided into nine faculties of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, telecommunications engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, automation and biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and architecture. These faculties offer 13 undergraduate programs and have ten research centers.
As for admissions, you must submit a list of legalized documents, a health certificate, a criminal record certificate, and you must be under 25 years old. They give assistance regarding legal procedures like the student visa and ask you to have traveling insurance.
Tuition fees for the complete programs are 28,200 USD. During the first two years, you’ll pay 4,800 USD; during the third year you’ll pay 5,400 USD; during the fourth year you’ll pay 6,000 USD; and during the last year, you’ll pay 7,200 USD.
They also have student residences where you’ll pay 1 USD per day and 1 USD for food per day. Don’t forget to select your preferred language when exploring their website in the upper right corner.
6. University of Physic Culture and Sports Sciences “Manuel Fajardo” (UCCFD)
Established in 1961, the University of Physic Culture and Sports Sciences “Manuel Fajardo” (UCCFD) specializes in the field of sports and physical education.
This cheap university in Cuba has two faculties of physical culture and sports. The undergraduate programs last for four years, and they give you the opportunity of specializing in different areas like physical education. They also have different master’s and doctorate degrees. Doctorate programs are focused on research in five different fields. These programs are only available in Spanish.
In the case of admissions for international students, they prioritize those who come from countries that have cooperation agreements with the university. These agreements were made with 16 countries that include the U.S., China, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, etc.
Prospective students will have to send a list of documents, a health certificate, and will have to contact the university to be admitted. Get in touch with them and read their FAQ section to get more information about tuition fees and programs available.
7. Medical Sciences University of Havana (UCMH)
For a long time, the University of Havana was the only institution that educated students to be doctors and nurses. That’s why many people didn’t have the opportunity to study this major and some areas were suffering from the lack of specialists in medicine. To address this situation, the Medical Sciences University of Havana was created in 1976 in affiliation with the Ministry of Public Health.
The university has 13 faculties: nine of them are in the fields of general medicine and three of them are specialized in stomatology, nursing, and health technology. They offer 13 undergraduate degrees, 61 specializations, 21 technical specializations, 47 master degree programs, and two doctorate programs.
The program of the medicine lasts for six years and the rest of the undergraduate programs last for five years.
In order to be admitted, prospective students must send a letter requesting a place in one of the programs along with the documents that have been mentioned above. They will receive a response in around a month and to finish the process, they can do everything online. They are given the option of living in their student residences and in case of being married or with children, international students are allowed to take their families with them.
Contact the UCMH to get more information.
I hope that this article on cheap universities in Cuba was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in America, visit the Global Scholarships Page.