Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso

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Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Motto Latin: Fides et Labor
(Faith and work)
Established 1928
Type Private, Traditional
Affiliation Catholic Church
Students app. 10,700
Location Valparaíso, Chile
Website http://www.pucv.cl
The Open City of Ritoque, teaching and research ground of the PUCV Architecture School.
Sweet cherry orchard at the PUCV Experiment Station in Quillota. This picture shows a view of the orchard floor including a floral biodiversity strip and the access door to a rhizotron.
Casa Central, the primary building of PUCV in downtown Valparaíso

The Pontificial Catholic University of Valparaíso (Spanish: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso) (PUCV), is a university of approximately 13,000 students located in Valparaíso, Chile.

It may also be called simply the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (UCV). PUCV attracts students from different areas of Chile as well as hundreds of exchange students from Europe and North America. The University has a central campus in downtown Valparaiso, only a few blocks away from the Chilean Congress, the brand-new Metro, and the Pacific Ocean. One of the drawbacks of being an urban university is the difficulty of growing at the original site of its foundation—several PUCV buildings are on the historic palm-tree-lined Avenida Brasil, but most of its colleges are dispersed in throughout Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué and Quillota.


The UCV offers undergraduate degrees in more than 50 subjects, including architecture, design, horticulture, industrial engineering,business, law and Spanish.

The school of architecture, also called "The Valparaíso School" in architectural circles, constructed an experimental city called the Open City, a few kilometers North of Valparaíso, where the professors teach and live in the houses that they and the students design and build. PUCV architects have a reputation for being highly creative, having studied at a school that mixes the architectural design and building processes with poetry and physical activities. Similarly, in the Quillota campus the program in horticulture is offered within an experimental station. This campus is visited by more than 1,500 people each year, and has outstanding collections of subtropical and temperate fruit trees, a nursery. The station of 500,000 square metres has more than 50,000 square metres of greenhouses.

The diversity of the PUCV is one of its strengths, with a rainbow trout farm near Los Andes, a legislative consultancy group (CEAL), a farm in Quillota with an area of 6 km², a fruit packing house specialized in avocados and citrus fruits (joint venture with Exportadora Santa Cruz), a small TV channel that has been on the air since 1957 (the first in the country), a radio station, a publishing house, and an experimental grade school and high school for boys in Viña del Mar. All of these units welcome interns and scholars, both from PUCV and other universities.

The PUCV houses the editorial offices of journals in marine biology, law, religion, philosophy, psychology, and biotechnology. Explora, a special government program to promote science in primary and secondary schools, is also hosted by the PUCV.


It was founded in March 1928, supported the generous contribution of Isabel Caces de Brown. Even older, the Law School was established in 1894 as an independent college by the Sacred Heart Fathers, and was later incorporated into the University (since both were units of the Roman Catholic Church). The first undergraduate majors offered by the PUCV were electrical engineering, construction, chemistry, mining, business administration, mechanical engineering, decorative arts, and merchant marine studies.

The Pontifical title was conferred by Pope John Paul II and announced at the inauguration of the 2003 academic year by Zenon Grocholewski, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.


PUCV is a private institution belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. As some other old private universities in Chile, PUCV receives some funding from the Chilean government. PUCV's Grand Chancellor is the Bishop of Valparaíso, who appoints representatives in the Academic Council but does not directly run the University (responsibility of a faculty-elected Rector). The Council includes the Deans of each college, all of whom are elected by the faculty.

The appointment of PUCV officers and structural changes in its administration need the approval of the Holy See, with periodic reviews by the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Roman Curia. Doctoral honoris causa degrees need to be approved by the Congregation.

Colleges and undergraduate programs[edit]

International relations[edit]

PUCV has a long history of academic relations with institutions all over the world, with more than 260 agreements concentrated in European universities. Student exchange is most active with universities of Spain, USA, France, Germany; a few students are from countries in Latin America. The list of institutions includes some of the oldest universities in the world, such as Université catholique de Louvain (founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V), Università di Pisa (founded in 1343 by Pope Clement VI) and Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg.

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]