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Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

National University of San Marcos
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
Latin: Academia S. Marci Vrbis Regvm in Perv
Motto Universidad del Perú,
Decana de América
Motto in English University of Peru,
Dean of the Americas
Established May 12, 1551
Type Public
Rector Pedro Cotillo Zegarra
Academic staff 2559 (full time)
674 (part time)
Undergraduates 29,710
Postgraduates 3,549

Lima, Peru
Coordinates: 12°03′30″S 77°05′00″W / 12.05833°S 77.08333°W / -12.05833; -77.08333

Campus Urban
170 acres (69 ha) (Main campus)
Colors      Magenta
     Steel blue
Mascot Lion

The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is the most important and respected higher-education institution in Peru.[1] Its main campus, the University City, is located in Lima. It was chartered on May 12, 1551 by a royal decree signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, which makes it the oldest officially established university in the Americas and, as such, one of the oldest universities in the world.[2] Academically, the University of San Marcos ranks alternatively as first[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] or second in Peru.[11][12][13][14][15]

San Marcos has 60 academic-professional schools,[16] organized into 20 faculties, and these, in turn, into 6 academic areas. All the faculties offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. The student body consists of over 30,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students from all the country as well as some international students. The university has also a number of public institutions under its government such as the San Marcos Cultural Center and the Museum of Natural History of Lima.

San Marcos' prestige in Latin America mainly arises from its renowned faculty and alumni. It is the only university in Peru with a Nobel Prize laureate among its alumni: Mario Vargas Llosa (Literature). San Marcos is also recognized for the quality of its curricular contents, its very competitive admission process, as well as for being a leading center of scientific research.[17] Several Peruvian and Latin American influential thinkers, researchers, scientists, politicians and writers have studied there, which underscores San Marcos' leading role as an educational institution in the history of Peru and the world.


Oldest University of the Americas

San Marcos was officially established by a royal decree (signed by Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was chartered the same year as San Marcos (by a royal decree of September 21, 1551) as the Royal University of Mexico, making it the second oldest in the Americas.

Although the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was founded in 1538, it was not officially recognized by Royal Decree until 1558, and, as many other universities in the Americas that closed during independence wars and other political conflicts, it was closed due to the occupations of the Dominican Republic by Haiti and then the United States. San Marcos often states the National University of Santo Domingo's founding Papal bull In Apostolatus culmine, was not officially recognized by the King of Spain at the time; hence making into an apocryphal document. The Peruvian institution also states that the document in question was discredited by Pope Paul III.



The university was originally headed by members of the clergy. During the Enlightenment, Bourbon reforms transformed it into a secular institution. Nowadays, the university is governed by:

  • The University Council
  • The University Assembly (composed of professors and students, with the latter holding a third of the seats).
  • The Rector (president)
  • Two Vice-Rectors:
    • Academic Vice-Rector
    • Vice-Rector of investigation.

Academic areas and faculties

The original faculties at San Marcos were Theology, Arts (the old Scholastic term for what is now known as academic Philosophy) and Law; Jurisprudence, and Medicine were added later in the colonial period. The Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce were created in the mid-19th century. The Faculty of Science was subdivided by specialities in the 20th century. The Faculty of Theology was closed in 1935.

In the mid-1990s San Marcos' departments were grouped into four academic blocks. Nowadays, San Marcos' falculties are grouped into 6 academic areas, as shown below.

Health sciences

Academic area I: Health sciences

  1. Faculty of Human Medicine:
  2. Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry:
  3. Faculty of Dentistry:
  4. Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine:
    • Veterinarian Medicine
  5. Faculty of Psychology:


Academic area II: Humanities

  1. Faculty of Letters and Human sciences:
  2. Faculty of Education:

Social sciences

Academic area III: Social sciences

  1. Faculty of Law and Political science:
  2. Faculty of Social sciences:

Basic sciences

Academic area IV: Basic sciences

  1. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical engineering:
  2. Faculty of Biological sciences:
  3. Faculty of Physical sciences:
  4. Faculty of Mathematical sciences:


Academic Block V: Engineering

  1. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical engineering:
  2. Faculty of Physical Sciences:
  3. Faculty of Geology, Mining, Metallurgy and Geography engineering:
  4. Faculty of Industrial engineering:
  5. Faculty of Electronics and Electrical engineering:
  6. Faculty of Systems engineering:

Business sciences

Academic Block VI: Business sciences

  1. Faculty of Administrative sciences:
  2. Faculty of Accountancy Sciences:
  3. Faculty of Economic sciences:

Notable alumni and academics


See also


  • (Spanish)
  • (Spanish)
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  • (Spanish)


External links

  • (Spanish) Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos website
  • (Spanish) Faculty of Medicine website

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