Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

About Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Founded in 1928, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso is considered one of the most prestigious institutions of Chilean higher education. PUCV is located in Valparaíso, seventy miles from the capital of Chile, Santiago. Frequent and efficient public transportation enables visitors and residents alike to travel to many cities in Chile and also other South American countries.

Valparaíso is Chile's coastal door to the Pacific Ocean, the location of the Legislative Assembly and the capital of the Fifth Region. Valparaíso boasts hundreds of passageways and streets with countless bends and curves. Endless stairways traverse Valparaíso's 42 hills facing the sea. These hills are dotted with colorful houses that overlook and are met by the Pacific at their base. To live in and to visit Valparaíso is always exciting - not only because of its location and landscape but also because of its charm. Valparaíso enchants like few places can. 

Millersville University and PUCV formalized their academic partnership in 1999.  MU’s Office of Global Education and PUCV’s PIIE (Programa Internacional de Intercambio Estudiantil) Office have developed a close and highly successful relationship based on extensive professional contact, personal familiarity, and the highly active MU-PUCV student and faculty exchange program.

For more information about Chile and Valparaíso, click here.

To watch a short video about PUCV and the Study Abroad Program, click here.


This program is available to Millersville University and non-MU students.  Most students who study abroad are traditionally juniors. However, students can and do study abroad anytime after they have completed 24 credits. Students should complete an application to study abroad one semester before wishing to go abroad.  A minimum of a 2.0 GPA, demonstration of at least a 202 level Spanish proficiency, an official transcript and two completed recommendation forms from professors from their home university are also required. The Office of Global Education will then review all applications.  Approval will be determined shortly after the application deadline and students will be notified via email at the address noted on the application.


The PUCV study abroad experience is a one or two semester immersion study abroad program. PUCV semester courses are offered to full-time students, in a blended immersion format, in which international undergraduate students attend some classes with other exchange students and the remaining classes with their Chilean peers.  All classes are taught in Spanish. 

Students can take many of the regular PUCV courses according to their academic needs and their Spanish proficiency level.  In addition, all MU program participants are required to take as part of their academic load a 6 credit Chilean Communication and Culture class offered by the PIEE Office for exchange students.  Students also have the option to take one additional Spanish Writing or Grammar class through the PIIE Office but no more than 9 credits total are permitted to  be taken through PIIE.  A minimum of 3 credits MUST be taken at the regular university and all students must be registered for at least 12 credits for the term. 

During orientation at PUCV, students will be given a Spanish proficiency test (written and oral) to assess their current level.  They will then be placed into beginner, intermediate or advanced levels for the PIIE classes only.  The “regular” classes are full immersion and will be taught as if all class members are native speakers.   

PUCV Offers Courses in:

  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Math
  • Chemistry
  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Social Work
  • Physical Education
  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • History
  • Literature
  • Spanish
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • Ocean Science
  • Oceanography
  • Journalism

Exchange participants will create their academic schedules with their Chilean orientation leader during orientation week. It is important to arrive at PUCV with as many class options as possible because classes are spread out in university buildings over the greater Valparaíso area and students may not have enough time to go to different course locations between classes if they are in more distant parts of the city.  However, the drop/add period at PUCV is approximately one month long, affording the students greater flexibility in ensuring they are taking appropriate classes.

How to Research Course Offerings

To find a list of course offerings and descriptions, please refer to Global Education's step by step guide:  Step By Step Guide to Finding PUCV Course Offerings

Courses are broken down by faculty and semester. Students who will study abroad during the fall semester should look at Semester 2 (or 4, 6, 8) classes at PUCV, and students going in the spring semester should look at Semester 1 (or 3, 5, 7) classes, due to differences in the academic calendar.

Housing & Meals

Homestay accommodations, arranged by PUCV, are the norm. Viña del Mar, where all students live with host families, is located about a 10-15 minute micro or metro ride away from Valparaíso, where the university is located. Viña, as it is often called, is a thriving resort town that is popular with Chileans and international visitors alike in the summer months because of its beautiful beaches and modern attractions. Viña is well maintained and beautiful year round. Most local families (as opposed to visiting tourists) live in apartments rather than houses.

As part of the homestay, students will receive 3 meals a day and their own room with linens (sheets, pillows, comforter and towel).  Laundry is done approximately once a week with the family's laundry.  One exchange student will be assigned to each host family.  Students will complete a host family application to help the PIIE Office match them with families to the best of its ability. However, ideal matches cannot be guaranteed.

Students are encouraged to be flexible in adjusting to their new host family as they will be incorporated into an existing family system.  Most students are fully satisfied with their host families and form life-long friendships. However, the placement can be changed if a student should feel unsafe or uncomfortable in their assignment for any reason.  If a student plans to live with the host family for any period of time before or after the dates of the official semester, an additional "per day" rate will be charged. Alternative housing can be arranged when necessary; however, it is not directly affiliated with the program. Therefore, Millersville University will assume no responsibility for alternate accommodation arrangements.


Students may choose to study abroad either for a semester or for a full academic year. The PUCV academic year begins in March and ends in December of the same year. The first semester runs from early March to mid-July.  The second semester starts in late July and ends in the third week of December. Before classes begin, study abroad participants will have a one week orientation program in country.

Refer to the PUCV Cost Worksheet (in the Cost section) for specific dates of the upcoming semester.


Studying abroad requires a student to plan for both academic costs/fees and personal travel expenses. It is important to keep in mind the cost of living and currency exchange rates compared to costs associated with living in Millersville. For example, living in a large city will be more expensive than living in Millersville. However, in other areas of the world, the cost of living may be less. Traveling while you are abroad is an additional expense for which you must also plan for realistically. Always keep your travel plans in financial perspective. 

To help students plan for all academic costs, the Office of Global Education prepares cost worksheets for all official MU study abroad programs. These cost worksheets take into account all academic costs associated with studying abroad. Some of the amounts listed are estimated for budgeting purposes (airfare, meals, and living expenses); others are actual fees (tuition, passport fees, insurance, participation fees, etc.). Global Education does not provide estimates for additional personal travel.

Cost Worksheet(s):

Below is the most recent estimated cost worksheet for PUCV:

Cost Overview:

Students pay MU tuition (in-state or out-of-state depending on residency), the mandatory MU technology fee and an ABS program charge directly to Millersville. There is an additional non-refundable, non-transferable MU program participation fee and application fee paid directly to Millersville, due at the time of application. Students pay separately for accommodations.

Billing for study abroad at PUCV follows the regular Millersville billing cycle. Bills are sent out and due to MU on the customary schedule.

Students pay Millersville University tuition, a small tuition differential, and fees. There is an additional non-refundable, non-transferable MU program participation fee and application fee paid directly to Millersville, due at the time of application. Room and board are separate and are a student's individual financial responsibility.

Funding Your Experience

Students should investigate loans which may be available, such as Federal Student Aid.  Students should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if their scholarships are transferable, since scholarships have individual regulations.

One option is to research online on www.studyabroadfunding.org or stop by our office for additional opportunities. Please see Financial Considerations for more information.

Transfer of Credit

Students should work with their major/minor advisors to select courses which help them make academic progress. Courses may fit into their major(s), minor(s), and General Education requirements, where appropriate.  The Office of Global Education cannot provide academic advice or determine class equivalencies. 

After being accepted to study abroad, Transfer of Credits Form and detailed instructions are  made available to students and must be completed before a student leaves. This form gives students and their major/minor departments the opportunity to determine potential course choices abroad and the MU equivalencies before departure.  With advisor, department, and The Office of Global Education approval, the Transfer of Credits Form can also be amended while abroad, should students choose to register for other classes that was not originally approved. 

After the study abroad program is completed and a transcript is sent to Millersville University, all courses taken will come back to Millersville as transfer credit. Consult the Undergraduate Catalog ("Transfer Credit") for details regarding Millersville University’s transfer policy.

Volunteer Opportunities

Students may also take advantage of the English Opens Doors program, a semester-long opportunity to volunteer as an assistant to an English teacher in a local public school.  Following a study abroad experience, this volunteer program is also available on a full-time basis, with teaching opportunities ranging from 10 weeks to 8 months available.  With prior approval from the student's home department, internship or independent study credit may be awarded for the experience.

For more information about this program and other volunteer opportunities click here.

Student Visa

A student visa is required for all U.S. citizens studying in Chile for longer than 90 days.  Refer to the following information provided by the Chilean Consulate in Philadelphia for further details.  You should not begin the visa application process until after receiving official MU program acceptance.

Click here for student visa requirements.

U.S. citizens studying in Chile for fewer than 90 days will be required to pay a reciprocity tax, equivalent to the price of a student visa, immediately upon arrival in Chile but do not need to complete an application in advance.

To Apply

Refer to Global Education's home page at www.millersville.edu/globaled for the application release date and the final application deadline for each cycle. Approximate deadlines for applications are as follows:

  • Fall: mid-February
  • Spring: mid-September
  • Year-long: mid-February

Before downloading and submitting an application to study abroad through this program, students are STRONGLY encouraged to research the program thoroughly and discuss their plans with the Office of Global Education, their academic advisor(s) and any family members or other parties involved in the decision making process.

To apply, click on the following link to be directed to the "To Apply" webpage. Be sure to read all instructions before completing an application to study abroad: To Apply webpage