National University of San Marcos

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.

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 (470 years ago) (1551-05-12)
FounderCharles V
AffiliationAlianza Estratégica
Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe
International Association of Universities
Consortium of Universities
EndowmentPEN S/. 400,732,439 (FY 2013)[1][2]
RectorDr. Jeri Ramón Ruffner
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

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 Peruvian Nobel laureate 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.



Once established the viceroyalty after the Spanish conquest of Peru, an educational program known as «Estudios Generales» (General Studies) was founded in 1548 and directed by the Dominican Order inside the Basilica of Santo Domingo, Lima. By teaching arts and theology, its principal aim was to educate officials to be in charge of the administration and the catholic clergy and hence, guarantee the colonial order.[17][18] In 1550, because of the Cabildo of Lima's initiative, which was a municipal corporation, Dominican predictor Tomás de San Martín and captain Jerónimo de Aliaga were sent to Spain with the mission to ask for the foundation of a university back in Peru. San Marcos was officially established by a royal decree (signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) in Valladolid on May 12, 1551 and named as The University of Lima.[19] Its activities started officially on January 2, 1553 in the Chapter Room of the same dominican convent and its first rector was friar Juan Bautista de la Roca. Since then, it has operated without interruption; in fact, it is considered the oldest university in the Americas[a] and locally known as the Dean of the Americas ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member").[6][20]

During its early years, all rectors were dominican priors. However, that situation changed with the election of the first laical rector, Pedro Fernández de Valenzuela [es], on May 11, 1571. During that time, San Marcos' foundation was ratified through a papal bull given on July 25, 1571 by Pope Pius V; since then, the university added the adjectives Royal and Pontifical to its denomination.[21] Continuing its secularization, in 1574 the university was moved to a new building, which had been worked as the Order of Saint Augustine's Convent. That year, the university chose Mark the Evangelist as its prior saint. Nevertheless, in 1576 it was moved to a building located in "Plaza del Estanque", today known as Plaza Bolívar, Lima, in which it stayed thorough the colonial period[22] and currently functions as the Congress of the Republic of Peru.[23]

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.

Administration and organizationEdit


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




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
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
04.1. Pharmacy and Biochemistry
04.2. Food Science
04.3. Toxicology
05. Faculty of Dentistry
05.1. Odontology
08. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
08.1. Veterinary Medicine
18. Faculty of Psychology
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
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
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

Libraries and museumsEdit


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.[24] This is mostly due to the fact the national government has not properly financed research development in the last decades.[25]

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.[26]

There are currently over 30 centers, units and institutes of research in San Marcos.[27][28][29] 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.[27]


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.[30][31][32][33][34][35] 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.[36][37][38]


University cityEdit

Casona of the National University of San MarcosEdit

San Fernando CampusEdit

Student lifeEdit

Cultural organizationsEdit


Basketball: San Marcos competes in the top league in Lima, the Liga de Basket de Lima.

Notable alumni and academicsEdit

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



  1. ^ Although the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino based its foundation on the Pope Paul III's papal bull given on October 28, 1538, it was not until February, 1558 that Charles V, king of Spain, approved and recognized it as a university. See List of colonial universities in Hispanic America. [1].

See alsoEdit


  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 Valcárcel, Carlos Daniel (2001). San Marcos Universidad Decana de América (in Spanish). Lima: National University of San Marcos. ISBN 9972-46-140-8. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  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. ^ "Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos: línea de tiempo". National University of San Marcos. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  18. ^ Ortíz, Edward (2006). "Origen de las Universidades más antiguas del Perú". Revista Historia de la EducaciónLatinoamericana. Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia. 8: 35–48.
  19. ^ "Real Cédula: el documento fundacional que dio origen a la primera universidad del Perú y América". National University of San Marcos. May 12, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  20. ^ "Universidad San Marcos celebra hoy 12 de mayo el 470 aniversario de fundación". Andina. May 12, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  21. ^ "Presentan histórica Bula Papal que ratifica fundación de la Decana de América". National University of San Marcos. May 7, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  22. ^ Ibscher, Gred; Valcárcel, Carlos Daniel (December 1949). "El actual edificio de la Universidad de San Marcos". Letras. National University of San Marcos. 15 (43): 140–196. doi:10.30920/letras.15.43.
  23. ^ "Plaza de la Inquisición". Congreso de la República del Perú. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  24. ^ "Sistema Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica (SINACYT)". July 27, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  25. ^ Enciclopedia temática del Perú (in Spanish). El Comerio. 2004. ISBN 9789972752117.
  26. ^ "La producción científica en San Marcos (1995–2001)". Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Unidades Desconcentradas – Vicerrectorado de Investigación y Posgrado | UNMSM" (in Spanish). Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  29. ^ "Unidades e Institutos de Investigación". December 21, 2012. Archived from the original on December 21, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  30. ^ "Main National University of San Marcos of Lima | university, Lima, Peru". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  31. ^ "Perú | Ranking Web de Universidades: Webometrics clasifica 30000 instituciones". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  32. ^ "Las Mejores Universidades del Perú – Ránking 2010 – AméricaEconomía". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  33. ^ 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. doi:10.30920/letras.87.125.6. ISSN 2071-5072.
  34. ^ "LAS MEJORES UNIVERSIDADES DE PERÚ – Ranking 2012". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  35. ^ "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.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ "Universidad | Ranking Web de Universidades: Webometrics clasifica 30000 instituciones". Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  38. ^ "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 linksEdit