National University of San Marcos

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National University of San Marcos
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
UNMSM escudo XVI-XXI transparente siglas nombre vertical.svg
Latin: The Academy of St. Marcos in the City of Kings in Peru
UNMSM sedes principales.png
Latin: Academia S. Marci Vrbis Regvm in Perv
MottoUniversidad del Perú,
Decana de América
Motto in English
University of Peru,
Dean of the Americas
EstablishedMay 12, 1551 (469 years ago) (1551-05-12)
FounderCharles V
EndowmentPEN S/. 400,732,439 (FY 2013)[1][2]
RectorDr. Orestes Cachay Boza
Academic staff
2,931 (2017)
Students37,032 (2017)
Undergraduates28,645 (2010)[3][4]
Postgraduates8,520 (2015)[5]
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
70 hectares (170 acres) (main campus)
Steel blue
UNMSM escudo XVI-XXI transparente siglas nombre horizontal.svg

The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is a public research university in Lima, the capital of Peru. Also known as the University of Peru and the "Dean University of the Americas", it is the first officially established (privilege by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) and the oldest continuously operating university in the Americas.[6] Since its foundation, it was commonly referred as the "Royal and Pontifical University of the City of the Kings of Lima" until the Viceroyalty period and as of now, it is referred to as Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos or La Decana de América.

It is one of a few Peruvian universities which has managed to rank 1st nationally in several editions of different international university rankings.[7][8][9][10][11][12] 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.[13][14] San Marcos has 66 academic-professional schools,[15] organized into 20 faculties, and 6 academic areas. All of 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.

Notable alumni include the only Peruvian Nobel laureate so far, Mario Vargas Llosa, and twenty-one Peruvian presidents. San Marcos is also recognized for the quality of its curricular contents, a competitive admissions process, as well as for being a center of scientific research.[16] 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 the Americas[edit]

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

San Marcos is considered the oldest university in the Americas. It 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 the Americas ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member"). San Marcos also claims that according to the Archivo General de Indias, a 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.[6]

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 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. 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.[17][18]



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[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.

Academic area Faculty Department
A: HEALTH SCIENCES 01. Faculty of Human Medicine
Escudo Facultad de Medicina San Fernando de la UNMSM.svg
01.1. Human Medicine
01.2. Obstetrics
01.3. Nursing
01.4.1. Medical Technology: Clinical Laboratory and Pathological Anatomy
01.4.2. Medical Technology: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
01.4.3. Medical Technology: Radiology
01.4.4. Medical Technology: Occupational Therapy
01.5. Nutrition
04. Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry
Escudo Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica de la UNMSM.svg
04.1. Pharmacy and Biochemistry
04.2. Food Science
04.3. Toxicology
05. Faculty of Dentistry
Escudo Facultad de Odontología de la UNMSM.svg
05.1. Odontology
08. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Escudo Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria de la UNMSM.svg
08.1. Veterinary Medicine
18. Faculty of Psychology
ESCUDO DE PSICOLOGIA (transparente).png
18.1. Psychology
18.2. Organizational Psychology and Human Management
B: BASIC SCIENCES 07. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 07.1. Chemistry
10. Faculty of Biological Sciences 10.1. Biological Sciences
10.2. Genetics and Biotechnology
10.3. Microbiology and Parasitology
13. Faculty of Physical Sciences 13.1. Physics
14. Faculty of Mathematical Sciences 14.1. Math
14.2. Statistics
14.3. Operative investigation
14.4. Scientific Computing
C: ENGINEERING 07. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 07.2. Chemical engineering
07.3. Agroindustrial engineering
13. Faculty of Physical Sciences 13.2. Mechanical Engineering of Fluids
16. Faculty of Geological, Mining, Metallurgical and Geographical Engineering 16.1. Geological Engineering
16.2. Geographical Engineering
16.3. Mining Engineering
16.4. Metallurgical Engineering
16.5. Civil Engineering
16.6. Environmental engineering
17. Faculty of Industrial Engineering
Escudo Facultad de Ingeniería Industrial de la UNMSM.svg
17.1. Industrial Engineering
17.2. Textile Engineering
17.3. Occupational Health and Safety Engineering
19. Faculty of Electronic and Electrical Engineering 19.1. Electronic Engineering
19.2. Electric engineering
19.3. Telecommunications Engineering
20. Faculty of Systems Engineering and Informatics 20.1. Systems engineer
20.2. Software Engineering
D: ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCES 09. Faculty of Administrative Sciences
09.1. Business Administration
09.2. Tourism Administration
09.3. International Business management
11. Faculty of Accounting Sciences 11.1. Accounting
11.2. Tax management
11.3. Business and Public Audit
12. Faculty of Economic Sciences
Escudo Facultad de Economía de la UNMSM.svg
12.1. Economics
12.2. Public Economics
12.3. International economics
E: HUMANITIES AND LEGAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES 03. Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences 03.1. Literature
03.2. Philosophy
03.3. Linguistics
03.4. Social Communication
03.5. History of Art
03.6. Librarianship and Information Sciences
03.7. Dance
03.8. Conservation and restoration
06. Faculty of Education 06.1.1. Initial education
06.1.2. Primary education Secondary Education: English and Spanish Secondary Education: Language and Literature Secondary Education: History and Geography Secondary Education: Philosophy, Tutoring and Social Sciences Secondary Education: Mathematics and Physics Secondary Education: Biology and Chemistry
06.2. Physical education
02. Faculty of Law and Political Science 02.1. Law
02.2. Politic Science
15. Faculty of Social Sciences 15.1. History
15.2. Sociology
15.3. Anthropology
15.4. Archeology
15.5. Social Work
15.6. Geography


Mural dedicated to research and knowledge (Main Library).

Throughout its history, the National University of San Marcos has significantly contributed to the scientific development of Peru. Currently, the National University of San Marcos is one of the few Peruvian universities that conducts research – only 10 out of over 80 universities.[19] This is mostly due to the fact the national government has not properly financed research development in the last decades.[20]

Regarding development of research activities of San Marcos, halfway through the 20th century, the Peruvian government issued provisions to place emphasis and create areas of scientific and student-led research. As a result, throughout these years many museums and institutes have been created within San Marcos to promote research in different areas of human knowledge. During the last years of the decade of 1990 and the beginning of 2000, the university renewed its research system through the assignation of specific projects to diverse academic departments.[21]

Research centers and institutes[edit]

There are currently over 30 centers, units and institutes of research in San Marcos.[22][23][24] Each one of these centers or institutes are grouped according to the academic area where they develop their research, therefore they are categorized in the following general areas: health sciences, basic sciences, engineering, economy-business, and humanities.

According to their area of study, the research centers have specialized museums and laboratories where they develop and display their work. Each institute also has their own publications where they present reports and results of the work of their researchers.[22]


Together with the Cayetano Heredia University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the National University of San Marcos is one of the only three Peruvian universities, and so far the only public one, which has managed to rank first nationally in several editions of different international university rankings.[25][26][27][28][29][30] In 2021, the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) ranked the National University of San Marcos as the best university in the country, in its first ranking of the year.[31][32][33]

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. ^ Universidad Coherente. "Presupuesto 2000–2013 en millones de nuevos soles" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 21, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Portal de Transparencia Universitaria (UNMSM). "Información presupuestal" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  3. ^ INEI-ANR. "II Censo Nacional Universitario 2010" (PDF) (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 13, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  4. ^ Revista "San Marcos al día" (UNMSM). "San Marcos al día (n° 212): San Marcos en la sociedad del conocimiento" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  5. ^ Revista "San Marcos al día" (UNMSM). "San Marcos al día (n° 308): Excelencia académica y moderna infraestructura" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Fundación de la Universidad de Santo Domingo" (in Spanish). Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Ranking universitario en el Perú" (PDF). Asamblea Nacional de Rectores (ANR) and UNESCO. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 4, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "QS Latin American University Rankings 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  9. ^ "University Ranking by Academic Performance (2013): Top Perú". URAP Center. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "Ranking Web of Universities: Peru". Webometrics. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  11. ^ "SIR World Report 2013" (PDF). SCImago. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 16, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "UNMSM recibe acreditación internacional Archived 2011-04-16 at the Wayback Machine". Peru21. Accessed April 26, 2011. (in Spanish)
  13. ^ "Foundation of the University of Lima". San Marcos National University. Accessed August 22, 2009. (in Spanish)
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Escuelas Profesionales – Oficina Central de Admisión". Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  16. ^ Ranking and research supported by: UNESCO and Asamblea Nacional de Rectores, 2007
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Sistema Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica (SINACYT)". July 27, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Enciclopedia temática del Perú (in Spanish). El Comerio. 2004. ISBN 9789972752117.
  21. ^ "La producción científica en San Marcos (1995–2001)". Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Institutos de Investigación de Universidades del Perú : Biblioteca Virtual en Ciencia y Tecnología". December 13, 2011. Archived from the original on December 13, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  23. ^ "Unidades Desconcentradas – Vicerrectorado de Investigación y Posgrado | UNMSM" (in Spanish). Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  24. ^ "Unidades e Institutos de Investigación". December 21, 2012. Archived from the original on December 21, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  25. ^ "Main National University of San Marcos of Lima | university, Lima, Peru". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  26. ^ "Perú | Ranking Web de Universidades: Webometrics clasifica 30000 instituciones". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  27. ^ "Las Mejores Universidades del Perú – Ránking 2010 – AméricaEconomía". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  28. ^ Estrada-Cuzcano, Alonso; alfaro-Mendives, Karen lizeth (January 2016). "Presencia de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos en la Bibliotecología Peruana: Estudio historiográfico". Letras (Lima). 87 (125): 105–122. ISSN 2071-5072.
  29. ^ "LAS MEJORES UNIVERSIDADES DE PERÚ – Ranking 2012". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  30. ^ "Ranking QS Mundial 2021: PUCP alcanza su mejor posición histórica entre las universidades latinoamericanas". Zona Escolar (in Spanish). June 11, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  31. ^ Cruz, Yohel (January 29, 2021). "Ranking de Webometrics ubica a San Marcos como la mejor universidad del Perú". RPP (in Spanish). Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  32. ^ "Universidad | Ranking Web de Universidades: Webometrics clasifica 30000 instituciones". Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  33. ^ "UNMSM: Universidad San Marcos figura entre las 1,000 mejores del mundo, según QS World University Rankings". EDUCACIONENRED.PE (in Spanish). Retrieved February 1, 2021.


External links[edit]