Happy Day of the Dead! In honour of this big celebration in Mexico, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best universities in the large and fascinating country.

Mexico has a population of about 130 million inhabitants and it’s almost 2 million square kilometres in size. With such huge numbers, it’s no wonder that the country has several great universities. If you’re interested in studying in Mexico, whether it’s for your whole degree or for a student exchange year, check out this post for some ideas on what university might be a good choice for you. Once you’ve found a university you like, you’ll need to find some student housing. For that, look no further: here at Student.com we list over one million beds in hundreds of cities worldwide, making us the largest student accommodation marketplace in the world.

The rankings in this article are based on the prestigious QS rankings and their World University Rankings 2024.

1. National Autonomous University of Mexico

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Global university rank: 93rd

UNAM is a university with a lot of history: its founding goes way back to 1551. It was opened in its current form in 1910 when it was re-created to offer a secular alternative to the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico. A portion of UNAM’s campus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the campus hosted events in the 1968 Summer Olympics. Today the National Autonomous University of Mexico is known for its very strict admissions policy, with acceptance rates often below 10%. The low acceptance rates are no wonder though, considering how prestigious the university is: it’s the top ranking university in Mexico and all Mexican Nobel Prize winners are either staff or alumni of UNAM.

2. Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Location: Monterrey

Local name: Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)

Global university rank: 184th

The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, often known as Tecnológico de Monterrey, or simply Tec, was founded in 1943. It’s main campus is in Monterrey, but the university has several satellite campuses across Mexico. It has always been known as a great school for those who are interested in business, and has produced more current billionaires than any other university in Latin America according to Times Higher Education. ITESM has always been in the forefront of technology and research, and was the first university in Latin America to be connected to the internet. It’s also one of only a few dozen universities in the world that has been given a 5-star rating by QS.

3. Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Global university rank: 651-660th

The Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology was originally opened as an economics school in 1946. Today it’s especially well known for its great social sciences programs and, as a consequence, many officials of the Mexican Foreign Service are ITAM alumni. A fairly small university of only about 5,000 students, its campus is located in the Mexico City neighbourhood of San Ángel. While it’s known for its many political alumni, such as the former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, ITAM has also produced some notable business alumni such as María Asunción Aramburuzabala, the richest woman in Mexico.

4.Panamerican University

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Universidad Panamericana (UP)

Global university rank: 661-670th

Panamerican University is a private, Roman Catholic university originally established in Mexico City in 1967. Today it also has campuses in Guadalajara and Aguascalientes, and also another campus in Mexico City, which was opened in 2011. Originally founded as a business school, today UP offers 66 different undergraduate programs and 160 graduate programs to its 15,000 students. Especially strong programs are Philosophy and Hospitality and Leisure Management. In both UP was ranked as one of the 100 best universities in the world by QS, and for Hospitality and Leisure Management Panamerican University was also ranked as the best university in Latin America.

5. El Colegio de México

Location: Mexico City

Local name: El Colegio de México, A.C. (Colmex)

Global university rank: 681-690th

El Colegio de México, A.C. can trace its origins to the founding of the House of Spain in Mexico in 1938, created to host Spanish intellectuals who were in exile in Mexico because of the Spanish Civil War. The house was then turned to an institution of higher education in 1940 and so Colmex was born. Today it specialises in social sciences and humanities. It’s a tiny university of less than 500 students. Just over 10% of these students are from outside Mexico though, so despite the small size, Colmex has an international atmosphere. The university has student exchange and cooperation arrangements with dozens of prestigious universities around the world, such as Yale University, University College London and the Free University of Berlin.

6. Ibero-American University

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Universidad Iberoamericana (Ibero)

Global university rank: 691-700th

The Ibero-American University is another private Roman Catholic university on this list. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Ibero was founded in 1943. Today the university has the largest library in any private university in Mexico. The 48-acre (19-hectare) campus is located in the Santa Fe neighbourhood of Mexico City. Ibero ranks especially well in the subjects of Art and Design, Hospitality and Leisure Management, Modern Languages, and Communication and Media Studies. In all these fields, QS ranks UIA among the 200 best universities in the world.

7. National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN)

Global university rank: 741-750th

The National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico was founded in 1936. Today it’s a huge university with over 170,000 students. As the university’s motto, The Technique at the Service of the Fatherland, suggests, IPN is heavily focused on technical and engineering subjects. Its strongest programs are Petroleum Engineering, Computer Science and Information Systems, and Chemical Engineering. In all these fields, IPN ranks among the best 200 universities in the world according to QS. Notable alumni include Guillermo González Camarena, one of the pioneers of colour television, Evangelina Villegas, one of the developers of Quality Protein Maize (a more healthy type of corn), and Ernesto Zedillo, a former president of Mexico.

8. Anahuac University

Location: Huixquilucan

Local name: Universidad Anáhuac México

Global university rank: 771-780th

Anahuac University was established in 1964 and is another private Roman Catholic university on this list, being run by the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. One of only three universities on this list with its main campus outside Mexico City, it’s located in Huixquilucan, just outside the capital, even though it does have another campus that is located in Mexico City. The name Anahuac means “near the water” in the Nahuatl language. The university’s strongest programs are Art and Design, Business and Management Studies, and Social Sciences and Management.

9. University of Guadalajara

Location: Guadalajara

Local name: Universidad de Guadalajara (UDG)

Global university rank: 851-900th

The University of Guadalajara was founded way back in 1792, making it the second-oldest university in Mexico and the 14th oldest in Latin America. It has over 100,000 university students (as well as another 100,000 high school students), and is one of only two universities on this list to be located outside the State of Mexico. The university has particularly strong programs in Linguistics, Communication and Media Studies, and Modern Languages. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that many of the most famous alumni of the university have been artists and linguists, such as the filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, actor Cristo Fernández, poet Ali Chumacero and José Luis Martínez Rodríguez, a former president of the Mexican Language Academy.

10. Metropolitan Autonomous University

Location: Mexico City

Local name: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM)

Global university rank: 901-950th

The Metropolitan Autonomous University was established in 1974. Today it has just over 60,000 students. Only a few hundred of these students are from abroad, so if you’re in search of a truly Mexican experience, UAM might be the place for you. Some of the strongest programs at UAM are Sociology, Art and Design, and Architecture and Built Environment. The university fosters a creative environment for innovation, being among the top universities in Mexico for new patents.

So there you have it, the top 10 universities in Mexico. As you can see from this list, Mexico City dominates the academic life in Mexico, with seven out of the top ten universities in the city and eight in the state of Mexico. Monterrey and Guadalajara get one university each. UNAM also makes it to the global top 100 list, while Tecnológico de Monterrey is in the global top 200. All of the universities on this list provide very high-quality education though, with them all being among the best 1,000 universities in the world. So no matter which one of these universities you choose, you’re going to get a great education. You just need to choose the right university and the right degree program for your needs. Good luck!

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