Degree Programs in Central America

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A Guide to Degrees Abroad in Central America

Central America is one of the most culturally and ecologically diverse regions of the planet, and can be a tremendously enriching place where to earn your degree abroad. While the region as a whole remains in the fairly young stages of development, there are nonetheless more and more universities beginning to sprout up in cities all across the Central American landscape. If you are looking for a rewarding academic destination that can challenge you to see the world in new ways, then consider earning your degree abroad in Central America.


While Central America is technically part of the North American continent, it is generally thought of as belonging to a separate sphere of influence from both the North American and the Caribbean nations.  From north to south, the seven countries which constitute Central America are Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

All these countries have universities where you can earn a degree abroad in Central America, but a few stand out above the rest for various reasons. Belize, for instance, is a popular destination for international students because it is the only Central American country whose national language is English, making an easy transition for students whose Spanish is not yet fluent enough to earn a full degree elsewhere in the region.

Other top countries where you can earn your degree abroad in Central America include Costa Rica and Honduras. The University of Costa Rica is often considered to be the most prestigious school on the subcontinent, amid one of the most highly developed countries in the region no less. With branches located all over the country, the National Autonomous University of Honduras can be a gateway to experiencing another of Latin America’s most fascinating countries as well.

Academics & Degrees

Ranging from public and private universities to specialist schools of all different types, there are a wide variety of options to select from for earning a degree abroad in Central America. Generally you will be expected to have a comprehensive control of the Spanish language to enroll in a full degree program in Central America, and many schools will offer a proficiency exam prior to enrollment. If you meet this prerequisite, then the door is open to exploring many different degrees in many different locations throughout the region.

Some of the most popularly pursued subjects for international students who earn a degree abroad in Central America include history, development studies, and environmental studies. You will by no means be limited to these areas, however, generally benefitting from a full course catalogue to choose from. Other popular subjects range as widely as biology, international business, and anthropology.

Degrees are conferred across Central America at the undergraduate and graduate levels, typically lasting three to four and one to two years respectively. The structure of each degree will vary between countries, so spend time thoroughly researching what universities offer the best programs for the specific degree abroad in Central America that you wish to obtain.

Scholarships & Costs

Going abroad to earn your degree in Central America is a great way to experience something new while also saving money. While international students may be charged more in tuition fees than local students, earning a degree abroad in Central America nonetheless remains significantly more affordable than in most of the world’s advanced economies. 

Beyond tuition, most living expenses are relatively inexpensive as well, so it’s a great way to get a bang for your buck. You can also check out our Scholarship Directory to learn about additional financial aid opportunities in Central America.

Accommodation & Visas

International students earning their degree abroad in Central America will have the option of choosing from a variety of different accommodation options. Homestays are sometimes available for shorter degree programs, while student dormitories and off-campus apartments are more popular options for students who are digging in for the long haul. If you will be in Central America for multiple years, why not experiment with any combination of the above?

You will generally also need to apply for a student visa with the endorsement of your host school in order to earn a degree abroad in Central America. Different countries throughout the region maintain distinct visa policies, so check out our Embassy Directory for more information relevant to your individual circumstances.

Benefits & Challenges

Regional History. Central America has a dynamic history encompassing a breadth ancient civilizations, colonization efforts, and political upheavals. Living here as an expatriate will give you insight into an under-the-radar take on the American continental landscape.

Diversity. In cultures, languages, ethnicities, landscapes, and endemic species, Central America boasts an incredible amount of diversity in a concentrated geographical area.

Language Immersion. If you are not already fluent in Spanish, then enrolling in a degree program abroad in Central America is a great way to get there fast. It can be a challenge at first, but learning a new language is a sink or swim affair.

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