Study In Costa Rica - Requirements,Tuition Fees,Cost of Living & Universities

This is a comprehensive guide on studying in Costa Rica as an international student. This detailed post will give you all the necessary information you will need about studying in Costa Rica as an international student. It will answer most frequently asked questions such as

How to study in Costa Rica

Why study in Costa Rica

Cost of studying in Costa Rica

Universities in Costa Rica for international students

Cost of living in Costa Rica for international students

How to get a visa to study in Costa Rica

How to apply and study in Costa Rica

Tuition fees to study in Costa Rica

Applying to study in Costa Rica

Admissions requirements will vary depending on the institution, but generally you will be required to provide details of your secondary-level education if you want to go for undergraduate studies, identification and proof of proficiency in Spanish which is also very necessary. Other required documents may include a police record, immunization records and birth certificate and other identification certificates.

Citizens of the US, Canada and the EU, do not need a visa to study in Costa Rica as well as those with an existing visa for the US, Canada, Japan or across the EU,so you will notice you might not necessarily need a visa to study in Costa Rica.

Applying to universities in Costa Rica

Selecting Universities:

Selecting universities is a very time consuming and important process not only from the admission point of view but also because applying to universities is very expensive. Hence it has to be restricted to around 6 or 8 universities which are best matched for your requirements.

The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you.

Requesting Application Forms:

There are two ways to get application forms:

1. Requesting Application Forms via email : You can request application forms from the universities website. Most universities have a form on their website which can be completed online to request application material.

2. Downloading from the university website : Many universities have a downloadable and ready to print versions of their application forms on the net. These can be used for applying just as regular forms.

Application Requirements:

Once you start receiving application forms and material, go through the material in detail and check the application deadline, minimum scores required in the standardized tests, recommendation letters needed and other such information.

Tabulate all these requirements and compare them with your objectives and group the universities under three categories :

1. Schools that seem to match your requirements

2. Schools that are not suited to your needs

3. Schools that do not completely fit in any of the above two categories

Recommendation letters:

Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.

School records/Academic transcript:

The transcripts of your academic record are absolutely essential to the evaluation of your academic abilities. Your official transcript or academic record is the objective part of your application. Academic records greatly vary from one education system to the other. Systems of evaluation or grading and the formats used to present this information also differ widely.

Undergraduate : Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or any other undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relationship to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The school report should talk about your accomplishments and provide a statement of your chances for success in university-level studies.

Graduate : Students applying for Graduate courses (MBA, MS etc) are required to submit an official transcript from each college or university that they have attended after secondary school with complete details of the subjects, credits involved and other details like correspondence courses, diplomas etc. Most universities ask for the transcript to be sealed in an envelope and signed and attested across the seal by the registrar. This procedure is to be done for each and every college that you have attended. Some universities may ask for more than one transcripts but most require only one.


Cost of studying in Costa Rica as an international student.


Tuition fees vary widely between different universities in Costa Rica, while living costs are likely to be between US$500 and US$700 per month, depending on your way of life.

In Costa Rica,public universities are cheaper than private universities. The tuition fees also depends on the course of study,with courses such such as medicine,dentistry and pharmacy on the higher end.

The tuition fees for universities in Costa Rica is about US$6,500 per year and the tuition fees for private universities in Costa Rica is about US$14,700 per year.

The cost of living in Costa Rica for international students is on average,with about US$12,000 per year,all expenses which includes apartments,feeding,transport and entertainment can be covered.

For accommodation in Costa Rica you can generally expect to pay between US$350 to US$500 per month for a good apartment, although university accommodations will be far cheaper.

Cost of living in Costa Rica according to expatistan



            Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district      ₡ 4,388

            Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar)         ₡ 3,746

            500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast         ₡ 2,281

            1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk           ₡ 824

            12 eggs, large  ₡ 1,773

            1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes           ₡ 1,286

            500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese            ₡ 3,466

            1 kg (2 lb.) of apples   ₡ 2,645

            1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes            ₡ 1,033

            0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket           ₡ 942

            1 bottle of red table wine, good quality         ₡ 7,620

            2 liters of Coca-Cola   ₡ 1,447

            Bread for 2 people for 1 day  ₡ 716


            Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area           ₡ 794,504

            Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area    ₡ 312,081

            Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat        ₡ 62,387

            Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area            ₡ 625,370

            Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in NORMAL area     ₡ 313,089

            Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio         ₡ 59,033

            Internet 8 Mbps (1 month)      ₡ 21,296

            40” flat screen TV       ₡ 279,097

            Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands)       ₡ 54,526

            Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.)      ₡ 3,557

            Hourly rate for cleaning help  ₡ 1,717


            1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar)   ₡ 35,354

            1 summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers)        ₡ 30,138

            1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or equivalent brands)     ₡ 61,616

            1 pair of men’s leather business shoes ₡ 53,943


            Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new        ₡ 11,129,100

            1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas         ₡ 635

            Monthly ticket public transport          ₡ 17,810

Personal Care 

            Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands)          ₡ 3,040

            1 box of antibiotics (12 doses)            ₡ 13,001

            Short visit to private Doctor (15 minutes)      ₡ 38,096

            1 box of 32 tampons (Tampax, OB, ...)          ₡ 3,431

            Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.)    ₡ 2,831

            Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.)           ₡ 3,242

            4 rolls of toilet paper   ₡ 1,811

            Tube of toothpaste      ₡ 1,546

            Standard men's haircut in expat area of the city         ₡ 4,989

Visa to study in Costa Rica

To study in Costa Rica as an international student, you will require a visa. Below are the requirements and process of getting a Costa Rica visa.

Who requires a visa?

Depending on both the length of study and nationality, either a tourist or a student visa may be required.

Application for student status (if required) may be made after entry to Costa Rica on a tourist visa (student visas are not issued by Consulates of Costa Rica).

Nationals of the following countries may be exempted from tourist visa requirements:

No tourist visa required for stays of up to 90 days:

Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, Columbia,* Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.

* No visa required if holding a valid visa for USA, Canada or the Schengen Area Costa Rica 90 days. Colombian nationals seeking to visit Costa Rica must obtain a visa from the Costa Rican consulate in their country.

No tourist visa required for stays of up to 30 days:

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, North Korea, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican.

A tourist visa required for stays of up to 30 days:

Andorra, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Grenadines, Greece, Guadalupe, Guyana, Haiti, Malta, Martinique, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, San Marino, Serbia & Montenegro, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Jamaica.

** Starting on July 30, 2007, the Costa Rican authorities will demand that all travelers coming from the following countries (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador as well as the Republic of Guyana) have a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

No tourist visa required for:

Transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country by the same or first connecting flight within 48 hours, provided holding confirmed onward tickets and not leaving the airport (except nationals of China (PR) who do need a transit visa authorised by the Immigration Department in San Jos).


What documents will be required?

For most entries to Costa Rica:

Valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months beyond date of entry/visa issue)

Photocopy of your itinerary issued by your travel agency, pre-paid airplane (flight) or bus ticket to exit Costa Rica.

In addition, if a visa is required, the following must be provided:

Completed Visa Application Form

One color passport sized photograph (2 in. X 2 in.)

Photocopy of your itinerary issued by your travel agency, pre-paid plain or bus ticket to exit Costa Rica

Evidence of sufficient funds for stay

Proof of purpose of visit

Additional documents may be required at the Consulate’s own discretion.

Time required to issue visa:

Varies, depending on nationality; usually 1 day to 2 weeks, however authorization for some countries may take longer.

Contact nearest Consulate for more information.

What is the cost of a visa?

US$20, aprox.

How long is the visa valid for?

Generally 30-90 days for tourist visa.

Other information:

Persons holding passports issued by the former homelands of Transkei and Venda do need a visa authorised by the Immigration Department in San Jos.

Nationals of countries listed above must obtain an exit visa from the Immigration Department in San Jos at least 3 days before leaving Costa Rica.

Those who stay for less than 30 days are exempt if in possession of a disembarkation card.

List and ranking of all universities in Costa Rica

This is the list and ranking of all the universities in Costa Rica. The ranking is based on the quality of education each of the university provides and also the available academic and social facilities in the university. So below is the list of the of all the universities in Costa Rica and their ranking




Rank    University       Location

1          Universidad de Costa Rica

San José

2          Universidad Nacional


3          Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica

Cártago ...

4          INCAE Business School, Costa Rica

Alajuela ...

5          Universidad Latina de Costa Rica

San Pedro ...

6          Universidad Veritas

San José

7          Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología

San José

8          Universidad EARTH

Guacimo ...

9          Universidad Centroamericana de Ciencias Sociales

San José

10        Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional

San Pedro

11        Universidad Autónoma de Centro América

Cipreses de Curridabat ...

12        Universidad Internacional de las Américas

San José

13        Universidad Americana

San José

14        Universidad Adventista de Centro América


15        Universidad de Ciencias Médicas

San José

16        Universidad San Marcos

San José

17        Universidad Hispanoamericana

San José

18        Universidad Creativa

San José

19        Universidad Fidélitas

San Pedro

20        Universidad de la Salle Costa Rica

San José

21        Universidad Libre de Costa Rica

San José

22        Universidad Cenfotec

San José ...

23        Universidad Católica de Costa Rica

San José

24        Universidad de las Ciencias y el Arte de Costa Rica

San José

25        Universidad de Cartago Florencio del Castillo


26        Universidad de Iberoamérica

San José

27        Colegio Universitario San Judas Tadeo

San José

28        Universidad Castro Carazo

San José

29        Universidad Santa Paula

San José

30        Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica

San José

31        Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana

San José

32        Universidad Central

San José

33        Universidad Politécnica Internacional

San José

34        Universidad Fundepos Alma Mater


35        Universidad del Turismo

San José

36        Universidad Magister

San Pedro

37        Universidad de San José

San José

38        Universidad Escuela Libre de Derecho

San José

39        Universidad Santa Lucía

San José

40        Universidad Evangélica de las Américas

San José

41        Universidad Internacional San Isidro Labrador

Pérez Zeledón

42        Universidad Juan Pablo II

San José

43        Universidad Continental de las Ciencias y las Artes

San José

44        Universidad Tecnológica Costarricense

San José

45        Universidad Independiente de Costa Rica

San José

46        Universidad Autónoma de Monterrey

San José

47        Universidad San Juan de la Cruz

San José

48        Universidad Braulio Carrillo

San José

49        Universidad Cristiana del Sur

San José

50        Universidad Isaac Newton

San José

Un       Universidad Panamericana

San José ...

Courses you can study at universities in Costa Rica

Accounting and Finance

Aeronautical engineering

Manufacturing engineering






Art and Design

Oral science


Biological sciences


Business management

Chemical engineering


Civil engineering

Ancient history

Mass communication

Computer science


Creative writing






Electrical engineering


Film making

Food science


General engineering






Material technology


Mechanical engineering

Medical technology












Veterinary medicine

Items to pack while going to study in Costa Rica

In your carry-on bag

           Cell phone and charger

           Boarding pass(es)

           Cash (bring American dollars and the currency of your host location or money you can exchange for it—enough to use in case of an emergency, but not more money than you can afford to lose)

           Copy of birth certificate

           Copy of Social Security card

           Credit card (notify your bank that you’ll be abroad before you leave to avoid your account being frozen)

           Debit card


           E-reader or book

           Emergency contact list

           Face wipes


           Hand sanitizer


           Health insurance card


           Prescription medication(s) you usually take (make sure you bring enough refills to last your entire trip—but future prescriptions can go in your checked luggage)

           School ID

           Spare outfit (in case your luggage gets lost or delayed)

           State ID

           Student visa

           Travel itinerary

           Travel pillow

           Travel tickets (if you’re taking a train or other transport after your plane lands)



           Acne medication/cream

           Face lotion/moisturizer


           Mini shampoo & conditioner (until you get the chance to get full-sized bottles in your new country)

           Mouthwash (small)

           Soap (mini bottle if you're using body wash)





           Bobby pins


           Contacts, solution and case (again, make sure you have all the contacts you'll need for your time abroad)

           Glasses and glasses case

           Hair ties



           Nail clipper




           Tampons and pads



You will likely have the opportunity to do laundry on your trip, and you'll be able to purchase detergent in your host country.

           Downy Wrinkle Release spray

           Linens/towels (if your housing doesn’t have them)

           Portable stain remover pen

           Travel sheet (for hostels)


           Athletic sneakers (1)

           Bathing suits (1-2)

           Boots (1-2)

           Bras (2 sports bras, 2 regular bras, 1 strapless/convertible bras)

           Casual dresses (2)

           Everyday comfortable shoes (1-2)

           Flats (1)

           Flip-flops (1)

           Formal outfit (1-2)

           Gloves (1, if weather appropriate)

           Going-out outfit (3-5)

           Hat (1)

           Heavier coat for colder climates (1)

           Heels (1-2)

           Jacket (2; a light one and one for colder weather, if applicable)

           Jeans (2, one black & one blue)

           Jewelry (remember that bringing jewelry to another country is always a risk; don’t bring anything too valuable!)

           Leggings (1-3)

           Long-sleeve shirts (3-5)

           Pajamas (2-3)

           Pants (1-2 nice pairs)

           Purse (1-2)

           Raincoat (1)

           Scarf (1)

           Short-sleeve shirts (5-7)

           Shorts (2-4, if weather appropriate)

           Skirts (1-2)

           Socks (14)

           Sweaters (3-5)

           Sweatshirt (2)

           T-shirts (3-5)

           Tank tops (3-5)

           Underwear (14)

           Watch (1)

           Workout clothes (2-5)


Remember that most of your electronic items will need an outlet converter in order to work!

           Camera (remember your case and USB cords)

           Cell phone (keep in mind that you’ll be able to buy an international phone when you arrive at your destination)

           Chargers (laptop, phone, camera, e-reader, etc.)

           Flash drive



           Laptop case

           Outlet adapters (2-3)

           USB cable


           Adhesive bandages

           Allergy medicine

           Birth control

           Cold and flu medicine

           Eye drops

           Motion sickness medicine

           Over-the-counter pain medicine



           Backpack (small)

           Gift for your host family (bring something that they couldn’t get in their own country, like memorabilia from your hometown)


           Language dictionary


           Playing cards

           Travel guide

           Umbrella (small)

Benefits of studying abroad in Costa Rica or any other study abroad destination

1. See the World

The biggest reason you should consider a study abroad program is the opportunity to see the world . By studying abroad, you will experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs and activities. The benefits of studying abroad include the opportunity to see new terrains, natural wonders, museums and landmarks of your host nation.

2. Education

Another reason you might consider studying abroad is for the chance to experience different styles of education. By enrolling in a study abroad program, you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you may not have been exposed to at home.

You’ll find that completely immersing yourself in the education system of your host country is a great way to really experience and understand the people, its traditions, and its culture. Education is the centerpiece of any study abroad trip—it is, after all, a study abroad program—and choosing the right school is a very important factor.

3. Take in a New Culture

Many students who choose to study abroad are leaving their home for the first time. When they arrive in their new host country, they are fascinated by the distinct cultural perspectives. When you study abroad you will find incredible new foods, customs, traditions, and social atmospheres.

You will find that you have a better understanding and appreciation for the nation’s people and history. You will have the opportunity to witness a completely new way of life.

4. Hone Your Language Skills

Chances are if you’re planning on studying abroad, one of the major draws is the opportunity to study a foreign language. Studying abroad grants you the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a new language, and there is no better way to learn than to dive right in.

In addition to the considerable language practice you will get just in day to day life, your host university will likely offer language courses to provide you with a more formal education. Immerse yourself in a new culture and go beyond a purely academic experience

5. Career Opportunities

When you finish your study abroad program and return home, you will return with a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, and a willingness to learn. Needless to say, all of these are very attractive to future employers.

Many students find that they love their host country so much that they decide to seek work there. If you can relate, you will find that a local education will be very valuable when searching for a potential job in that country

6. Find New Interests

If you are still questioning why to study abroad, you should know that studying in a different country offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you have an as-yet undiscovered talent for hiking, water sports, snow skiing, golf, or various other new sports you may never have tried back home.

You’ll also have the chance to discover other new and exciting forms of entertainment. Plays, movies, dancing, nightclubs, and concerts are just a few activities that you can enjoy.

7. Make Lifelong Friends

One of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet new lifelong friends from different backgrounds. While studying abroad, you will attend school and live with students from your host country. This gives you the opportunity to really get to know and create lasting relationships with your fellow students.

After the study abroad program ends, make an effort stay in contact with your international friends. In addition to rewarding personal relationships, these friends can also be important networking tools later down the road.

8. Personal Development

There is nothing quite like being on your own in a foreign country. You might find that studying abroad really brings out your independent nature. Students who study abroad become explorers of their new nation and really discover the curiosity and excitement that they harbor.

A benefit to studying abroad is the opportunity to discover yourself while gaining an understanding of a different culture. Being in a new place by yourself can be overwhelming at times, and it tests your ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to problem solve.

9. Graduate School Admissions

Like future employers, graduate school admissions boards look very highly on study abroad experiences. Students that study abroad display diversity and show that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations.

Most importantly, students who have studied abroad show just how committed they are to their education. Graduate schools regularly look for candidates who will bring a unique aspect to their university. Students who have studied abroad have shown that they have the curiosity and educational acumen to be a leader in graduate school.

10. Life Experience

Why study abroad? For most students, this time may be the only opportunity they ever get to travel abroad for a long period of time. Eventually you will find a job and career, and the opportunity to study abroad may turn out to be a once in a life time opportunity.

Hope this post was helpful

Question tags

How to study in Costa Rica

Why study in Costa Rica

Cost of studying in Costa Rica

Universities in Costa Rica for international students

Cost of living in Costa Rica for international students

How to get a visa to study in Costa Rica

How to apply and study in Costa Rica

Tuition fees to study in Costa Rica

Applying to study in Costa Rica

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