The origins of the university date to 1578 when members of the Jesuit Order established the Colegio Seminario de San Jerónimo in a building that currently houses the Department of Psychology. In 1825 the institution became a state college and was declared a university in 1937. Following a period of turmoil, the university was declared Autónoma (self-governing and free of governmental intervention) in 1957 and was awarded the title of Benemérita (“most worthy”) by the Legislature of the State of Puebla in 1987.
The BUAP is today one of Mexico’s leading public universities and unquestionably the premier national research and teaching center south of Mexico City. These qualities make the institution a focal point for students and scholars from states other than Puebla, including Chiapas and Oaxaca. Through its various divisions or facultades, the BUAP offers 55 undergraduate licenciaturas (degrees), and 86 programas de posgrado (graduate degrees) in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, as well as in technical fields, business administration, law, education and health. Just over 50,000 are enrolled at the BUAP, which includes students from all divisions.
The city campus is divided into two primary areas: one in Puebla’s historic downtown, which houses programs dedicated to the humanities and some social sciences, and the other in the newer “Ciudad Universitaria” on the outskirts of town, which houses programs dedicated to natural sciences, most social sciencies, and information services, as well as sports facilities. Both campuses are easily accessible by public transportation from almost anywhere in the city.
With its extensive course curriculum, the BUAP relies on several research institutes that bring together prominent scholars with an interdisciplinary focus. Many of these scholars work with advanced students on specialized research projects.
Of particular interest to program students is the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades (ICSyH) in the historic center of Puebla. Public Mexican universities have a long tradition of social awareness and involvement. Quite a few specialized degrees require a period of internship in either an urban or rural setting. The BUAP has been at the forefront of this commitment. As bona fide students at the university, PMCSP participants may wish to collaborate in one of many service activities focusing on health, literacy and social awareness coordinated through the university or by PMCSP staff.
The BUAP hosts an impressive array of concerts, lectures, dance performances and academic symposia to which interested PMCSP students will have access. Through the schools of music, dance and drama, the BUAP sponsors a Mexican folkloric dance troupe, several choirs and an active dramatic performance series—open to PMCSP students depending on interest and achievement.