National University of San Marcos

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National University of San Marcos
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
National University of San Marcos seal.
Latin: Academia S. Marci Vrbis Regvm in Perv
Motto Universidad del Perú,
Decana de América
Motto in English
University of Peru,
Dean of America
Type Public
Established May 12, 1551
Rector Dr. Orestes Cachay Boza
Academic staff
2005 (full time)
674 (part time)
Undergraduates 17,596
Postgraduates 2,198
Location Lima, Peru
12°03′30″S 77°05′00″W / 12.05833°S 77.08333°W / -12.05833; -77.08333Coordinates: 12°03′30″S 77°05′00″W / 12.05833°S 77.08333°W / -12.05833; -77.08333
Campus Urban
70 hectares (170 acres) (Main campus)
Colors      Gold
     Steel blue
Mascot Lion
San Marcos National University logo

The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is a public research university in Lima, capital of Peru. It is widely regarded as the most renowned and influential institution of higher-education in the country. It consistently ranks among the top two universities in the country.[1][2][3][4][5][6] 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[disputed ] and, as such, one of the oldest universities in the world.[7] San Marcos has 60 academic-professional schools,[8] organized into 20 faculties, and 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 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.[9] 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 in America[edit]

Tower at the University of Puerto Rico, showing (right) the emblem of Harvard University‍—‌the oldest in the United States‍—‌and (left) that of University of San Marcos‍—‌the oldest in Latin America.

San Marcos was officially established by a royal decree (signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) on May 12, 1551, and since then it has operated without interruption. Hence, it is locally known as the Dean of America ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member"). San Marcos also claims that according to the Archivo General de Indias, a famous Spanish repository of documents on the former colonies in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, there were no official Spanish records of any other university or higher-education institution before 1551.[10] The 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.[citation needed]



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[edit]

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' faculties are grouped into 6 academic areas, as shown below.

Health sciences[edit]

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:
  5. Faculty of Psychology:


Academic area II: Humanities

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

Social sciences[edit]

Academic area III: Social sciences

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

Basic sciences[edit]

Department of Chemistry at San Marcos.

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[edit]

Academic Block VI: Business sciences

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

Notable alumni and academics[edit]

See also Category:National University of San Marcos alumni and Category:National University of San Marcos faculty

Class of Jurisprudence and Law of 1896 posing in front of department's water fountain.


See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Ranking universitario en el Perú" (PDF). Asamblea Nacional de Rectores (ANR) and UNESCO. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "QS Latin American University Rankings 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ "University Ranking by Academic Performance (2013): Top Perú". URAP Center. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ranking Web of Universities: Peru". Webometrics. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ "SIR World Report 2013" (PDF). SCImago. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ "UNMSM recibe acreditación internacional". Peru21. Accessed April 26, 2011. (in Spanish)
  7. ^ "Foundation of the University of Lima". San Marcos National University. Accessed August 22, 2009. (in Spanish)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ranking and research supported by: UNESCO and Asamblea Nacional de Rectores, 2007
  10. ^

External links[edit]