The University of Costa Rica (UCR) is the most important university in Costa Rica and Central America. The main campus is located in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, 3km from downtown San Jose.
The UCR was founded in 1814 as the University of Santo Tomás. On the legacy of the University of Santo Tomás, the University of Costa Rica was created August 26, 1940, and opened its doors in March of 1941.
Today the UCR is one of the most prestigious universities in Central America with an enrollment of over 30,000 students, 4185 faculty members and, 2,738 administrative staff.
The mission statement of the university clearly establishes the tasks of teaching, investigation and social action which are fulfilled by schools. The schools are academic units whose mission is to put in practice education, investigation and the social action: Schools of Fine Arts, Letters, Sciences, Law, Education, Economics, Social Sciences, Engineering, Dentistry, Microbiology, Pharmacy, Agronomy and Food Sciences.
The UCR offers graduate and undergraduate academic programs and activities that culminate with degrees. The graduate program was created in 1975; its objective is "the formation of investigators, educational and professional of high level able to develop its activities in independent, creative and beneficial form for the society". The graduate program is designed in cooperation, agreements with foreign universities (mainly in the United States and Europe). At the present time the UCR grants degrees in different fields: 7 Doctorates, 82 Academic Masters, 61 Professional Masters and 68 Specialties in regional branches outside of the main campus oriented to programs that contribute to the development of the region and the country.
The MLSA programs offer students the possibility to interact with native students from Costa Rica in an academic environment.