Skip to content

University of Chile School of Law, Santiago

The University of Chile is the country’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, and remains closely linked to the country’s political, economic, artistic and cultural life. The study of law and politics has been part of the University’s curriculum since its founding in 1842.

Today, the University of Chile School of Law has ten academic departments, focused on subjects ranging from commercial law to public and private international law, and six renowned research programs including the Center for Human Rights, the Center for Environmental Law, and an interdisciplinary center of law, economics and business (LEXEN).  The School also has a large clinical law program that includes South America’s first environmental law clinic.

Courses at the graduate level are offered via master’s specializations in areas such as: environmental law, criminal law, family law, labor law, tax law, comparative and international contracting law, and the law of new technologies.  HLS students have recommended mining, telecommunication, and human rights law classes as particularly challenging and worthwhile. The School of Law’s faculty is made up of practicing lawyers as well as professional academics, lending course material substantive practical elements alongside of theoretical context.

“I very much enjoyed my academic experience at [University of Chile School of Law] because the courses I chose were, for the most part, specialized, practical, and very different from the subjects offered at HLS. I would recommend the Chile program for students interested in well-defined subject areas (e.g. human rights, industry regulation, labor law, urban and municipal law, etc.).”

– Sunjung Kim ‘09 (past participant in semester abroad program, University of Chile School of Law)

Course Offerings and Credit

HLS students enrolled in the program can choose from hundreds of undergraduate and graduate courses at the School of Law. Please see the University’s online course catalogue for a listing of courses, including information on how often each class meets.

The grading scale at the University of Chile runs from 0.0 to 7.0, with 4.0-4.9 signifying a Pass, 5.0-5.9 a Pass with Distinction, and 6.0-7.0 a Pass with High Distinction.

Course loads will vary from student to student. HLS students may receive a total of 10 to 12 ungraded classroom credits in relation to work done through the semester abroad program. Please see Semester Abroad: Academic Requirements for more information about course requirements and how semester abroad credits are calculated.

“My time studying abroad at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago was an incredible and enriching experience. The insight I gained into the inner workings of a Latin American legal system and how it interacts with the international human rights movement was well worth the time and extra effort it took to plan the semester.”

 – Jacob Kopas ‘07 (past participant in semester abroad program, University of Chile School of Law)

Language Proficiency

Nearly all courses at the University of Chile are offered in Spanish. HLS students interested in spending a semester at the School of Law are expected to have a level of Spanish fluency that will enable them to perform well in class and on exams.

The presumption of the HLS Study Abroad Committee is that students applying for a semester abroad are proficient in the primary language of the destination country such that they are able to navigate university systems and take one or more law classes in that language. If not, the students must explain how they propose to manage these challenges and derive full benefit from a program of study abroad.

Prior to study abroad, HLS students may improve their language proficiency and receive credit for foreign language courses at Harvard College in accordance with the HLS cross registration policy.

Students may also find it helpful to arrive in Chile early for language acclimation and/or to take an intensive language training course before law classes begin. HLS students studying in Chile have access to the support and resources of Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. The Center’s Santiago office offers a range of support services, including an orientation program offering both language training and an introduction to Chilean culture, politics, and history upon arrival.

Academic Calendar

The academic year at the University of Chile is divided into two semesters. The first semester runs from the beginning of March through mid-July, and  the second semester runs from the beginning of August through in mid-December. The academic calendar is posted on the school’s website.

Application Process

Students interested in the University of Chile exchange program should follow the HLS Semester Abroad application process described on the Semester Abroad: Planning and Application page.

Students approved by the HLS Study Abroad Committee will also be asked to complete the University of Chile application form. HLS will provide more information about this process to students nominated to study at the University of Chile.

The exchange agreement stipulates that the University of Chile reserve at least one spot for an HLS J.D. student each year. HLS may recommend more than one candidate but ultimately selection of the student will be made by the University of Chile.


The University of Chile is located in the Bellavista area of Santiago, well within reach of the city’s world-class cuisine, fine museums, and flourishing arts scene. Santiago, the capital of Chile, is conveniently located approximately one hour west of the spectacular Andes Mountains and one hour east of the Pacific Ocean.


The University of Chile does not have on-campus housing for exchange students. To enhance the cultural and linguistic experience of study abroad, many visiting students choose to live with local host families in Chile. The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Regional Office works closely with a local housing coordinator to facilitate home-stay opportunities, but can also assist students in finding other housing options.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact Sara Zucker at (617) 495-9030 / or Andre Barbic at (617) 496-8732 /

For questions about studying at the University of Chile, please contact Aude Argouse, Director of International Relations, at,  or Christian Guerrero Rojas, Assistant Director of International Relations, at