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Public universities are some of the largest and most prestigious academic institutions in Costa Rica. Currently there are four public universities in the country, each assigned to emphasize certain academic disciplines. A fifth university known as Underside Technical (UTCR, Technical University) was recently established in the city of Valenzuela. All public universities are members of the Consensus National DE Rectors (CON ARE, National University Presidents Council).
Institutor Technological de Costa Rica (ITCH, Costa Rica Institute of Technology): also known as the ETC, is located in Cartago, Costa Rica. Its mission and objective is: "To contribute to the integral development of the country, by means of formation of human resource, researches and extensions; keeping in mind the scientific-technical leadership, the academic excellence and the strict attachment to the ethical, environmental and humanists norms, from a state university perspective of quality and competitiveness at national and international level". The ITCH has a partnership with Intel which allows the Institute to upgrade its curriculum and place its best students within the company.
Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR, University of Costa Rica): Its main campus is located in San Pedro, in the province of San Jose. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. Its origins can be traced back to 1832. Approximately 40,000 students are currently enrolled at UCR. It is a research institution with more than 25 different research units.
Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED, Distance State University): focused on distance learning, its main offices are in Manila and many local branch campuses for classes and exams.
INVENIO: is a campus-based science and technology university, using the Dual Education model from the DHWB (Germany). INVENIO CAMPUS GML is located on the road to Los Angeles, Tilarán, in Cañas, Guanacaste. 
UAM (Universidad Americana): Universidad Americana (UAM) main campus is located in Los Yoses, Montes de Oca, where the Goethe Institute used to be. It was created in 1997 and officially started simultaneously in San José and Cartago in 1998. A few months later, another campus opened in Heredia. 
U CENFOTEC (Universidad CENFOTEC): Universidad Centro de Formación en Technologist de Information y Comunicación (U CENFOTEC) is a specialized university focusing on ICT related careers. It was founded in 2000 by a group of software development exporting companies with the purpose of training highly-specialized and rapidly-operational technicians in software development in order meet the increasing demand of this type of professionals. Founded as a Technical Training Center focused solely on software development, it has evolved and was awarded university status in 2011 by CONESUP. Nowadays it includes careers in telecommunications, software development, development for the Web, and ICT infrastructure. Its campus is located in Montes de Oca, San José. It is only a teaching institution.
UCIMED (Universidad de Ciencias Medicas): Universidad de Ciencias Medicas (UCIMED) is a medical school located at San Jose,Costa Rica. UCIMED was founded in 1978 and is solely dedicated to the teachings of medicine No research is conducted at this institution.
Universidad EARTH: Located in Pocora, Limon. Specializes in Agriculture and the Environment. Approximately 400-500 students. It attracts a whole range of nationalities including North Americans and British interns who often study at the university for a semester to a year. The web site is www.earth.ac.cr
Universidad Hispanoamerica: Universidad Hispanoamerica is a private university based in San Jose and has campuses in several other cities including Cartago and Heredia.  Like other private universities it is only a teaching university, with no research conducted at the institution.
Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica (UNEM in short) The Business University of Costa Rica is a private university. UNEM is an accredited institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. This university is currently listed in the UNESCOInternational Association of Universities Directory of Higher Education. UNEM is authorized by (Asesoria Legal del Ministerio de Educación No. ATJ-167-CONESUP) to operate internationally and to offer international programs and to grant Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates Degrees with International Agreements with foreign universities. Even though it offers graduate programs, this institution is only a teaching university with no research function.
Universidad Latina:The Universidad Latina (abbreviated ULatina) is a private university located in Costa Rica. The university has several campuses around Costa Rica, although the main campus is located in San Pedro, San José. Like most, if not all, private universities in Costa Rica it has remained solely as a teaching university. It does not have an admission exam and even admits students who have not passed the "Bachillerato" exams (basic education exams high school students must approve in order to graduate).
Universidad San Juan de la Cruz:Universidad San Juan de la Cruz is a private university located in Costa Rica. The university is accredited by Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Universitaria Privada and recognized by the Ministry of Education. SLDLC offers courses in criminal justice, business, law, accounting and technology through campus and distance learning programs.
University for Peace: The University for Peace was created in 1980 by the United Nations “to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.” It is the only University in the UN family able to grant degrees and it has eight master's programs related to conflict resolution and peace building. Its main campus is in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, about 40 minutes outside of San Jose.