Higher education in Mexico

Unlike Dutch higher education, Mexican higher education is not divided into and . Mexican higher education institutions can offer both types of education. This often means that for each diploma we have to determine whether it is HBO or WO. Below, we describe the diplomas that we often see.

Técnico superior universitario

We compare a 2-year Técnico superior universitario to an associate degree or 2 years of HBO.

Please note: there are also 3-year study programmes for a Técnico superior universitario. For these study programmes, please contact us for a credential evaluation.


Students usually obtain a licenciada/o after completing a bachelor’s programme (licenciatura). Sometimes, they obtain a different diploma, such as a Título de Ingeniera/o (after a technical study programme) or a Título de abogada/o (after a law programme).

  • Duration: at least 4 years.
  • Content: vocational and/or research-oriented subjects. Students must do an internship (servicio social). Often, they also have to write a thesis (tesis, tesina or monografía), complete a research project or a professional exam (examen de profesional).
  • Admission requirements: 1 of the following diplomas:
  • Function of the diploma: access to further education (Especialista or Maestra/o) or work.
  • Diploma: Licenciada en or Licenciado en + field of study. Sometimes, the diploma does not mention licenciada/o, but instead mentions the name of the profession, such as:
    • Título de abogada/o (lawyer);
    • Título de Arquitecta/o (architect); or
    • Título de ingeniera/o (engineer).

We usually compare a Licenciada/o to an HBO bachelor's degree or a WO bachelor's degree, sometimes to 2 years of WO. This depends on the content and duration of the study programme.


Students can start a study programme for an especialista after completing a bachelor’s programme (licenciatura). Especialista programmes are called cursos de especialidad or cursos de especialización.

  • Duration: at least 180 hours.
  • Content: further education in the field of study of their licenciada/o. Students have to do an internship. Sometimes, they have to write a short thesis.
  • Admission requirements: a licenciada/o. Sometimes, there are extra requirements, such as an entrance exam.
  • Function of the diploma: work. Sometimes, students can get exemptions from some maestra/o subjects. This means that students can complete a maestra/o programme in a shorter time, because they no longer have to follow the subjects they have an exemption for.
  • Diploma: Especialista. Sometimes, the diploma has a different name, such as Diploma de Especialidad.


Students can obtain a maestra/o after completing a master’s programme (maestria). Compared to especialista programmes, the emphasis is more on academic research.

  • Duration: usually 2 years.
  • Content: usually research-oriented subjects. Students have to write a thesis.
  • Admission requirements: a licenciada/o or an especialista.
  • Function of the diploma: access to a PhD programme or work.
  • Diploma: Maestra or Maestro. Sometimes, the diploma has a different name, such as:
    • Master in + field of study;
    • Maestria en + field of study.

We usually compare a Maestra/o to a WO master's degree.

Doctor (PhD)

If students complete a PhD programme (doctorado), they obtain the diploma Doctor.

  • Duration: 3 years.
  • Content: a research programme that ends with the student defending a thesis (tesis de doctorado) based on independent research.
  • Admission requirements: usually a maestra/o, sometimes an especialista. Sometimes, a licenciada/o can grant access as well, but in that case the programme will take longer to complete.
  • Diploma: Doctor.