Pontifical Bolivarian University

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Pontifical Bolivarian University
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MottoFormación integral para la transformación social y humana
Motto in English
Integral education for social and human transformation
AffiliationCatholic Church
Location6°14′32.82″N 75°35′23.4″W / 6.2424500°N 75.589833°W / 6.2424500; -75.589833Coordinates: 6°14′32.82″N 75°35′23.4″W / 6.2424500°N 75.589833°W / 6.2424500; -75.589833
Campuscampuses in:
1. Medellín, (Main Campus and School of Medicine)
2. Bucaramanga
3. Montería
4. Palmira
5. Bogotá
ColorsRed and Black         
Affiliations1. International Federation of Catholic Universities.
2. Post-grad Iberoamerican Association of Universities.
3. Colombian Association of Universities.
4. Universia.
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The Pontifical Bolivarian University (Spanish: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana), also referred to as UPB, is a private university in Colombia with its main campus in Medellín, where it was founded in 1936. Currently, the university has campuses in other Colombian cities, such as Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Montería and Palmira. As of April, 2018, the university estimated its nationwide student population at 30,000.

Presently the university offers 77 undergraduate programs, 24 master programs and 7 doctorate programs nationwide. The university groups its educational programs under the schools of Architecture And Urbanism, Design, Engineering, Health Sciences, Law and Political Sciences, Strategic Sciences (Management), Social Sciences, Education and Teaching, and Theology, Philosophy and Humanities. The university also operates elementary and high school programs under its educational umbrella.

The University has several distinguished alumni such as Former President of Colombia Belisario Betancur Cuartas, and Former First Lady of Colombia Lina María Moreno Mejía.


View of the façade of the chapel at the University's main entrance showing the seal of the University.

The University was founded on September 15, 1936, by a decree of the Catholic Archbishop of Medellín, Monsignor Tiberio de Jesús Salazar y Herrera as the Universidad Católica Bolivariana (UCB, Catholic Bolivarian University). The UCB started with a small faculty and 78 students enrolled in the School of Law and with Monsignor Manuel José Sierra as its first rector. In 1945, the university received the title of Pontifical, from the Holy See under Pope Pius XII. With the right to use the title of Pontifical, the Pope became the Grand Chancellor of the university.

From the university's onset, Monsignor Manuel José Sierra wanted to anchor the University on the ideals of Christian humanism and those of the Libertador Simón Bolívar.


Greek alphabet mural by Pablo Jaramillo in the School of Engineering.

The university has programs that extend from elementary and high school to undergraduate and postgraduate programs The UPB offers near 71 undergraduate programs, 126 Academic specializations, 26 Master's degree and 9 Doctor's Degree :

Undergraduate Schools and programs:

School of Design and Architecture.[edit]

School of Health Sciences.[edit]

School of Strategic Sciences.[edit]

  • Corporate Management
  • International Business Management
  • Economics

School of Social Sciences.[edit]

School of Law and Political Sciences.[edit]

School of Education.[edit]

  • Licentiate in Etnoeducation
  • Licentiate in English-Spanish
  • Licentiate in Artistic Education

School of Engineering.[edit]

School of Theology, Philosophy and Humanities[edit]


Polideportivo Medellin's Main Campus.

As of 2006, there were a total of 81 independent research groups across Colombia, which were coordinated by the Integrated Center for the Development of Research (CIDI from its initials in Spanish). The CIDI seeks to maintain a close and dynamic relationship between industry and academia through technology transfer and consulting services. The research groups are based in different campuses with the majority of them in Medellin. The research groups concentrate their efforts in the areas of Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Engineering.


Main campus[edit]

Medellín is the main seat of the university.

The main campus is located in Medellín and houses the main chapel, student health services, the main library and the schools of Engineering, Social Sciences, Architecture, and Languages as well as the schools for primary and secondary education.


The Bucaramanga campus opened on July 12, 1991, in the Archdiocesan Seminary. In 1998, UPB established its own home on the Piedecuesta Highway, 7 kilometers away from the city. The estimated UPB Bucaramanga student population in 2013 was 5,800 students.

The UPB Bucaramanga campus houses the following schools:

Strategic Sciences' School[edit]

Social Sciences' School[edit]

Law and Political Science's School[edit]

Engineering's School[edit]


The person of Jesus is the center of the Catholic University and the teacher of the Faith.

The university opened its campus in Montería on May 25, 1995. The campus established the University's presence in Colombia's Atlantic region with academic programs in law, management, journalism, engineering, informatics, electronics, mechanical, agroindustrial, environmental management and several graduate programs. The campus is estimated to have 2,028 students.


The university established its presence in the coffee region of the country through its Palmira campus. The university opened the campus in 2001 with programs such as Psychology, Marketing, Human Resources, Management, and Economics. The university currently has 218 students and it is the newest campus of the university in Colombia.


UPB is member of different international associations and programs. It is also a chair of UNESCO on Human Development and a member of the Foundation for Studies in France. It belongs also to the Sígueme Program a group that gathered 10 Colombian universities. UPB has agreements with universities in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, United States, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela.


The Library of Private Pontifical Bolivarian University.

UPB also has a complete system of documentation and bibliography, with its main headquarters on the main campus of Barrio Laureles, known as "Biblioteca Central" (Central Library), in a modern building of four stories with hundreds of volumes of authors, subjects and research studies. Every school at UPB has its own library interconnected with the Central one.

Mission, vision and philosophical orientation[edit]

The Libertador, Simón Bolívar: His ideals inspired the identity of the university in his commitment for the human development of the country.

The identity of this Catholic University rests in the "Espíritu Bolivariano" (Bolivarian Spirit), a philosophy designed by Mgr. Manuel José Sierra inspired by human Christian values and the ideals of the Libertador.

The Bolivarian Spirit sets as the institution's mission the integral formation through evangelization of the culture, constant research of truth through science and confirmation of the human values from Christianity for the good of society.


Being a Catholic institution of excellent education in the integral formation of persons with ethical, scientist and social leadership to the service of the nation.


  • Respect for the human being and no discrimination.
  • Research of truth and knowdlege.
  • Solidarity.
  • Justice.
  • Honesty.
  • Creativity and innovation.
  • Loyalty.
  • Commitment for peace and development for the country.

See also[edit]


  • Así nos habló: Visita Apostólica de S.S. Juan Pablo II a Colombia, Julio 1 a 7 de 1986, Comité Ejecutivo Nacional, Secretariado Permanente del Episcopado Colombiano, Bogotá, 1986. (He spoke to us like this: Apostolic Visit of Pope John Paul II to Colombia)

External links[edit]