Different forms of education
Nicaragua offers higher education institutions in five different categories. The most popular one is the Universidad Pública (Public University). The second one is the Universidad Privada (Private University), the third is the Centro Técnico Superior (Higher Technical Center) and the fourth is the Centro de Investigación y de Capacitación (Training, Research and Environmental Development Center).
Nicaragua also has vocational training possibilities (the fifth category), which are mostly in the hands of the private colleges. The Nicaraguan government runs the Tecnologico Nacional, where students receive vocational and technical education during 2 or 3 years. Another option you have is vocational schooling, there are programs and schools that offer courses in technical, agricultural, industrial and commercial directions.
Nicaragua has more private than public universities, of which there is a comprehensive list of both.
Diplomas and fees
Higher education consists of two main stages: the Grados (undergraduate degrees) and Postgrados (specialists, masters and doctoral degrees). When you finish the Grados stage you will obtain your Licenciatura. This takes four to six years of studying, depending on your subject. When you graduate and obtain your Licenciatura, you can choose to continue studying to obtain your Maestría (Masters) (part of the second stage, Postgrados). This involves two more years of study and the writing of a thesis. These masters, or postgraduate courses, can be taken in various subjects: medicine, health sciences, law, education, social sciences, economics or psychology.
The Doctorado (doctoral degree) is the last part of the Postgrados stage, which you will receive if you continue studying for two years after receiving your Maestría. Students will have to write another thesis. There are Doctorado programmes for the following subjects: health sciences, psychology, law, education and administration. Generally, people attend higher education institutions between the ages of 18 and 26.
Public higher education is free if you are accepted by a government university but there can be small costs per semester which amount to about $160 per year. The information on private university tuition is not readily available.
To get into a university, students must have a secondary school qualification, pass the entrance examination and be able to afford the fees. Foreign students should have a secondary school diploma and must be proficient in Spanish in order to be admitted to Nicaraguan universities. Terms of admission can vary per university, and are stricter for private universities.