National University of San Marcos

National University of San Marcos
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
Motto Universidad del Perú,
Decana de América
Motto in English University of Peru,
Dean of the Americas
Established May 12, 1551
Type Public
Rector Pedro Cotillo Zegarra
Academic staff 2559 (full time)
674 (part time)
Undergraduates 29,710
Postgraduates 3,549
Location Lima, Peru
Coordinates: 12°03′30″S 77°05′00″W / 12.05833°S 77.0833333°W / -12.05833; -77.0833333
Campus Urban
170 acres (69 ha) (Main campus)
Colors      Magenta
     Steel blue
Mascot Lion
San Marcos National University logo

The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is the most important and respected higher-education institution in Peru.[1][2] 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 and, as such, one of the oldest universities in the world.[3] Academically, the University of San Marcos ranks first in Peru.[4][5][6][7][8]

San Marcos has 60 academic-professional schools,[9] organized into 20 faculties, and these, in turn, into 6 academic areas. All 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 also a number of public institutions under its government such as the San Marcos Cultural Center and the Museum of Natural History of Lima.

San Marcos' prestige in Latin America mainly arises from its renowned faculty and alumni. It is 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, its very competitive admission process, as well as for being a leading center of scientific research.[10] 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.



The origins of San Marcos National University marks the start of higher education in Peru, which dates back to the General Studies carried out at the chambers of the Dominican Order’s Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary, near the Plaza de Armas circa 1549. Its main objective was to meet the training and education needs of the clergy in the newly conquered territory of the Spanish Empire. Subsequently, the Lima’s town council sent to Spain friar Tomas of San Martin and Captain Juan Jeronimo de Aliaga, who - due largely to the efforts of the former – obtained the order for the foundation of the university from Emperor Carlos I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire and his mother, Queen Joanna of Castile, daughter of the Catholic Monarchs. Therefore, by Royal Decree issued on May 12 of 1551 in Valladolid, the Royal University of the City of Kings was officially founded. At the time, it was also called Real y Pontificia Universidad de Lima.[9] [10] Reading the royal decree, formally authorizing the operation of the "Universidad de Lima", its mission is stated as "indoctrinate residents of these lands in the Christian faith and submission to the King". With this principle, the university officially began operations on January 2, 1553, in the Chapter House of the Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Dominican Order under the leadership of its first chancellor friar Juan Bautista of la Roca. The initial instruction was delivered by Andres Carrillo and Cosme Cianca and Corona, both under the supervision of the chancellor.

Oil painting commemorating the foundation of the University of Lima (later named San Marcos), officially the first university in Peru and America, and his manager Friar Tomas of San Martin.
The historic chapter house at the Convent of the Rosary of the Dominicans, where the University of San Marcos began its operations.

The fact that it was essentially strictly oriented towards monastic life added to the elitism and conservatism of the Dominicans, as well as the continued decline of members of other congregations, caused the loss of the Dominicans’ predominance and also generated a reaction on the part of the secular teachers. The demand for greater openness led to ask The Royal Audiencia compliance with the Royal Decree of Graces of 1570, which granted the free election of the chancellor by the teachers of the school’s senate. The Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, resolved the complaint with the election of Dr. Pedro Fernandez Valenzuela on May 11, 1571, the first secular chancellor and a significant departure from the previous religiously oriented leadership. The legitimacy of the elections was confirmed by Papal bull Exponi Nobis by Saint Pius V on July 25, 1571, after receiving the exequatur from the Council of the Indies. On the bull, ecclesiastic courts were excluded by declaring it «absolves friars, lecturers, teachers, students and any of you of all and any censure, sentence and ecclesiastic penalty, for any contracted reason or cause». At the same time, the university becomes pontifical, changing its name to Royal and Pontifical University of Lima the City of Kings. After this reform, the university moved to its second location outside the walls of San Marcelo, where the Convent of the Agustinians had functioned. [9] On September 6, 1574 the official name of the university is chosen by drawing lots. Saint Mark the evangelist is taken as saint patron and the name is changed to Royal and Pontifical University of Saint Mark. [10] In 1575 the university is once more relocated. This time it’s moved to the former Plaza del Estanque, later called Plaza de la Inquisicion, where the Congress of Peru is currently located [2]. Here, it will continue functioning throughout the rest of the Viceroyalty period of Peruvian history.

Engraving showing the old facade of the premises where the University of San Marcos functioned throughout the Peruvian viceroyalty. Later this place would be transferred to the nascent Congress of Peru.

The University of Lima, now officially named "University of San Marcos, began its work in the colonial era to the powers of Theology and ArtsThen the fees would be created Laws and MedicineNevertheless academically when the standards governing in Spain, or start their teaching duties Philosophy as the basis for any college. The November 27 of 1579 teachers asked the king Philip II the institution of courts that ruled on the University of Salamanca, A legal medieval-history of the current university autonomy, which empowered the president to the exclusion of ordinary courts, have civil and criminal jurisdiction over members of the faculty. In 1581, Then the absolute presence of lay rectors between 1571 and 1581, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo authorized clergy and laity to be elected, and both sectors alternately ruled the University of San Marcos, during the colonial period until 1820.[11]

Support for the secularization of the University of San Marcos as the viceroy Francisco de Toledo and the institution of courts exercising its rector, and also exercised the rector of San Carlos Real ConvictorioFounded the July 7 of 1770Were the decisive factors that led to the university community, students and teachers, towards achieving the ideal Bolognese who viewed the university as a space of freedom. Thus began the birth of the intellectual climate that made possible the questioning and criticism of the colonial system. Thus, both the University of San Marcos as the "College of Law and Literature of San Carlos"And"Medical College of San Fernando"(Incorporated into it later) began to be monitored closely by the Viceroy, By virtue of holding teachers and students suspected of and manage envisions the end of colonial rule and the emergence of what is now the Republic of Peru.[12] Presumably were the privileges enjoyed by both the university and the Convictorio, allowing the entry of the thought of enlightenment in their cloisters, and arise in the theoretical and doctrinal approaches to the ideological emancipation. In 1813During the administration of Viceroy José Fernando de AbascalWas established Faculty of Medicine "San Fernando" (a tribute to King Ferdinand VII of Spain) In the Plaza de Santa Ana now in the Plaza Italia-space occupied by the Ministry of Government, the power base was formed in the College of Medicine of the same name.

The First Constitutional Congress of PeruWas chaired by Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza and held in the chapel of the University of San Marcos September 20 of 1822.

The First Constitutional Congress of Peru, Which he defined as reality and as a project to the new Republic of PeruWas chaired initially by whom was rector University of San Marcos, Don Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza; Of the 64 constituent members, were 54 and the San Marcos CarolineAnd the place where he met this great assembly was the Chapel of the University of San Marcos.[10] Today, the Congress of the Republic of Peru still operating at that same location and the current Casona de San MarcosWas the local San Carlos Real Convictorio. In 1840 Schools "San Carlos" and "San Fernando", are assumed by the University of San Marcos. During the administration of Marshal Ramón Castilla, San Marcos was officially empowered to approve new universities and newly created control.[12] Along the nineteenth century the location of the University of San Marcos was stripped of his university functions, being more frequent use of the sessions Chamber of Deputies and the core activities of Congress of the Republic of Peru. However, the lack of care and the partial abandonment of its functions had their original academic atmosphere began to suffer a significant deterioration since the old local university received little attention on the eve of the installation of Congress or special events.[10]

Local University of San Marcos in 1920, the famous "Casona de San Marcos is currently the Centro Cultural de San Marcos.

The exponential growth of the city during the industrial revolution of nineteenth century addition to the efforts of then President of Peru Manuel Pardo to improve architecture and urban planning City during 1870 forced the university to move to a new campus adjacent to the old monastery Jesuit where he lived the San Carlos Real Convictorio (now this is called La Casona del Parque Universitario or simply La Casona de San Marcos). In those years, San Marcos became the "Alma Mater"From other universities Peru and America; It was formed to protect the core scientific and cultural institutions during the Viceroyalty and the same during the Republic; Their graduates, so students were part of missions established universities Hispano.

In 1878During the administration of Manuel Pardo, Was issued the General Rules of Public Instruction, universities instituting the concept of major and minor, corresponding to the first title in San Marcos and universities in Arequipa and Cusco the second. During the Pacific War and specifically during the occupation of Lima by troops Chilean, Are taken from the university of art objects and cultural property, to be brought to Chile by boat.[10] After the war and coping outcomes, by law 1901 states that the Peruvian college corresponds to the "Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos" and Under Trujillo, Cusco, Arequipa to which later joined the Catholic and Technical Schools.[12]

Welcome Mural Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, as he mentioned the official date of its foundation: May 12 of 1551.

At the end of the decade 1960, At the request of an even larger space, some faculties of the university began to move to an area now called Ciudad Universitaria. This new campus is close to the Maranga Culture huacas the same as the university took great pains to restore and protect, having been partially destroyed during construction of the Avenida Venezuela in the 1940s.

San Fernando: Although this power belongs to the Department of Health Sciences is also considered as the second campus of the University of San Marcos. It was originally located in the Square PondThen thanks to the efforts of Dr. Hipolito Unanue had its own premises in the old Plaza de Santa Ana (now the Plaza Italia) until its facilities were moved to late nineties of the nineteenth century to the local Avenida GrauIn the Historic Center of Lima.

From the legal standpoint regarding ownership, UNMSM first belonged to the royal state, and since 1821 the young Peruvian republic received as an inheritance. The current status of the university was issued on 22 September 1984.

On the importance of the University of San Marcos in the historic fabric of Peru and America, the Liberator Simón Bolívar, Said the day he received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa (Ino Truque jure):

Oldest University of the Americas

As mentioned above, San Marcos 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 known as the Dean of America ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member"). San Marcos also claims that according to the Archivo General de Indias, a famous Spanish repository of documents on the former colonies in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, there were no official records authorizing any other university or higher-education institution before 1551. [1] The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was chartered the same year as San Marcos (by a royal decree of September 21, 1551), as the Royal University of the New Spain, which makes it the second oldest in the Americas (but was closed from 1867–1910).

On the other hand, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was founded in 1538, but was not officially recognized by Royal Decree until 1558, and, as many other universities in the Americas that 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.

Therefore, it is unquestionable that San Marcos is the oldest university to be officially established in the Americas.



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

The original faculties at San Marcos were Theology, Arts 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' falculties are grouped into 6 academic areas, as shown below.

Health sciences

Academic area I: Health sciences

  1. Faculty of Human Medicine:
  2. Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry:
  3. Faculty of Dentistry:
  4. Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine:
  5. Faculty of Psychology:


Academic area II: Humanities

  1. Faculty of Letters and Human sciences:
  2. Faculty of Education:

Social sciences

Academic area III: Social sciences

  1. Faculty of Law and Political science:
  2. Faculty of Social sciences:

Basic sciences

Department of Chemistry at San Marcos.

Academic area IV: Basic sciences

  1. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical engineering:
  2. Faculty of Biological sciences:
  3. Faculty of Physical sciences:
  4. Faculty of Mathematical sciences:


Academic Block V: Engineering

  1. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical engineering:
  2. Faculty of Physical Sciences:
  3. Faculty of Geology, Mining, Metallurgy and Geography engineering:
  4. Faculty of Industrial engineering:
  5. Faculty of Electronics and Electrical engineering:
  6. Faculty of Systems engineering:

Business sciences

Academic Block VI: Business sciences

  1. Faculty of Administrative sciences:
  2. Faculty of Accountancy Sciences:
  3. Faculty of Economic sciences:

Notable alumni and academics

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


See also

  • List of colonial universities in Latin America



  1. ^ "UNMSM recibe acreditación internacional". Peru21. Accessed April 26, 2011. (Spanish)
  2. ^ "San Marcos, luz de la inteligencia del Perú y América". San Marcos al día. Accessed April 26, 2011. (Spanish)
  3. ^ "Foundation of the University of Lima". San Marcos National University. Accessed August 22, 2009. (Spanish)
  4. ^ "Ranking universitario en el Perú". Asamblea Nacional de Rectores (ANR) and UNESCO. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  5. ^ "University Ranking by Academic Performance (2010): Top Perú". URAP Center. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  6. ^ "2011 World University Ranking: Top Peru". 4 International Colleges & Universities. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  7. ^ "Ranking pone a UNMSM como la mejor del Perú". Diario La República. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2011/12: Top universities (National Major San Marcos University)". QS World University Rankings. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Ranking and research supported by: UNESCO and Asamblea Nacional de Rectores, 2007

External links

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