Qualifications and entrance to university
Dominican schools accredited by the Ministry of Education award Bachillerato certificates upon completion of secondary education, which enables students to apply to Dominican, European and U.S. universities.
However, if you intend to send your kids to a U.S. university it is advisable to attend a school in the Dominican Republic that is accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), these are usually schools that teach in English.
If planning university study in Europe you should be looking at a school that offers the International Baccalaureate. The Saint George School is the only school in the Dominican Republic that is a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization and was the first in the Caribbean to teach the programme.
Higher education in the Dominican Republic is regulated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. The majority of universities in the Dominican Republic are private. Founded in 1538, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo is the oldest in the Americas and is the only public university in the Dominican Republic; however it has some 12 campuses across the country.
There are universities specialising in technology, such as the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).
The universities in the Dominican Republic, both public and private, follow the Bachelor’s degree, Master’s and PhD system.
The fees at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo are considerably cheaper than at the private universities that are available, where tuition is often charged by number of credits. The cost of university education in the Dominican Republic, however, is relatively low as a rule. This does however only apply for Dominican citizens, so it is important for expats to organise citizenship before applying so as to not have to pay the inflated fees for international students. Upon completion of a degree the graduate job market in the Dominican Republic is limited, so you may need to look further afield after qualifying.
A list of universities in the Dominican Republic by ranking can be found here.
There are a couple of companies that can help you organise your study abroad experience in the Dominican Republic:
In the city of Santiago, the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) offers a study abroad semester for international students. No previous Spanish experience is required, as there is a programme especially designed for international students taught in English. However, visiting students can choose to take the same classes as the Dominican students which are taught in Spanish; there is also a dedicated Spanish language school on campus.
For Dominican university students it is common to live at home whilst studying rather than in student accommodation. Whilst this is available at some university campuses it may be worth considering staying with a host family during your studies.
International students in the Dominican Republic will often be placed in home-stays this is advised in order to integrate as much as possible within the community; as well as for the purpose of learning Spanish.
Without being a citizen of the Dominican Republic the fees for university courses are similar to those of the USA.
For information on visa requirements for international students in the Dominican Republic, please see our Dominican Republic Visas and Permits guide.