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
MottoUniversidad del Perú,
Decana de América
Motto in English
University of Peru,
Dean of the Americas
EstablishedMay 12, 1551 (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)
Colors     Gold
     Steel blue
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. 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 longest 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" till Viceroyaltie period, and with republic ages till now, like "San Marcos or Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, or "La Deacana de América".

It is widely regarded as an influential institution of higher-education in the country. It consistently ranks among the top two universities in the country.[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 60 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.

It is also 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, 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 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.

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). 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 4 November 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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. ^
  16. ^ Ranking and research supported by: UNESCO and Asamblea Nacional de Rectores, 2007
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]