IFSA Mérida Universities Program

Mérida, Mexico


Fall, Spring, Year
Language of Instruction


Language Prerequisite

4 semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
What does this mean?

Finance Options
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Fall: April 1—Extended to June 1
  • Spring: October 15

YEAR OPTIONS: Students interested in calendar or academic year-long options should contact IFSA-Butler for deadlines, fees and more.

Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:

About Mérida Universities Program

In Mérida, Yucatán, explore how Mexico balances 21st century realities with the enduring influence of the pre-Hispanic Mayan empire. Through the Mérida Universities Program, which includes multi-day excursions to Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, you will interact with complexities of the local culture and learn how the Mayan influence is thread differently throughout Mexico.

Mérida Universities Program Benefits

  • Live and learn in Mérida, a cozy, colonial city located about 20 minutes from the coast where they experience 300 days of sunshine per year
  • Study the rich culture of the Yucatán and learn Spanish in one of Latin America's safest areas
  • Cultural events and excursions, including a multi-day excursion to archaeological sites, Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
  • Enjoy free evening concerts and a thriving nightlife in a student-friendly atmosphere
  • Study alongside local students at two outstanding universities:
    • Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY)—UADY offers a large student body that benefits from the university's 15 faculties, research institute and 19 libraries
    • Universidad Modelo—a private, smaller environment with great student facilities
  • Give back to the community by volunteering with local organizations or UADY's student volunteer group Hoy en tu Comunidad
  • Take part in a directed research project or public health concentration
  • Academic tutoring available upon request throughout the semester

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
Round out your classroom experience with hands-on opportunities like internships, directed research, student teaching, community-based learning or volunteering, and cultural excursions.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at Mérida Universities Program


Looking for specific classes? Explore CHART, our exclusive class database — if the Mérida Universities Program is pre-approved at your institution, you’ll find classes recently taken by other IFSA students.

Our Mérida Universities Program provides semester and full-year programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) and Universidad Modelo in stunning Mérida, Mexico, allowing you to study alongside local students and experience two types of Mexican higher education institutions.  

The following IFSA courses are specially designed for our students and worth 3 U.S. semester credits each.

  • Advanced Spanish and culture: Students will be placed into sections of this mandatory course following a placement test administered onsite.
  • Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture: This required course is designed to assist students in getting the most out of their study abroad experience through thoughtful and meaningful reflections, analysis and discussion of contemporary Mexico through key concepts such as community and interculturality.
  • Directed Research: This option offers the chance undertake field research on a contemporary issue of your interest. Students interested in doing any research in Mérida must take this course and meet the following criteria: advanced Spanish proficiency, a research topic related to an available UADY faculty, and completion of the academic research project form (available from your program advisor).

As an IFSA student you complete your courseload with integrated classes at the UADY and/or Modelo, maximizing your immersion into local student life. Your program advisor can help you find the courses you need, but you may explore courses through the links below:

Note that if you have native or near—native Spanish reading and writing skills and would like to be considered for exemption from the Advanced level Spanish course, please speak with your Program Advisor


Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY):

  1. Look for a link to licenciaturas (majors) on the homepage of that department
  2. After clicking on licenciaturas, look for a link to "plan de estudio," "asignaturas," "mapa curricular" or "temarios." These are the lists of classes offered in that particular major. In some licenciaturas, you can click on the course title to see a course description or syllabus. This is not available for all departments.
  3. Click here for course syllabi from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities department.
  4. For course descriptions in the psychology department, click here and then select the "Plan de Estudios" PDF.
  5. Click here for business classes. 


Universidad Modelo:

On the general Universidad Modelo course website you can find coursework related to:

  • Business
  • Law (also the faculty in which political science courses are offered)
  • Ciencias de la Salud (the faculty where public health courses are offered)
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Architecture

We know finding courses you need is important in your decision to study abroad. If you are looking for a particular course, please contact your program advisor for more information.

Special Curriculum Options
IFSA students participating on the Mérida Universities Program can take part in a specialized academic concentration focused on Public Health. This opportunity offers students in-depth exploration of the subject by completing coursework on Public Health and life sciences at the university, and working with local health professionals in rural and urban settings to examine traditional and non-traditional approaches to health care.

Sample Enrollment (12-18 U.S. semester credit hours):
  • IFSA Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatan (3 U.S. semester credit hours): As part of the course, students will participate in all Hoy En Tu Comunidad (UADY student organization with public health focus) field projects or do a service project at UADY’S Unidad de Inserción Social. Students will also visit a Mayan community to meet a midwife, a bonesetter, and an herbal doctor, among other related activities.
  • 1-2 Health-related courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours) which may include:
    • Sports medicine
    • Clinical psychology
    • Tropical diseases
    • Nutrition
    • Medical anthropology
    • Nursing
  • IFSA Mandatory Advanced Spanish course (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
  • IFSA's Exploring Community and Culture program (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
  • 1-2 additional courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Students who complete the concentration will receive a special mention from the UADY’s Facultad de Medicina.

Course Restrictions

The only UADY licenciaturas in which students are not allowed to take classes are: médico cirujano (Spring only) and químico farmaceútico biológico.

Students are only able to take one class in the Facultad de Medicina at UADY, which includes the licenciaturasof médico cirujano (Fall only), rehabilitación, and nutrición. This course must be related to any subject in life sciences. Additionally, students must express interest in specific courses before departure and will likely need to provide a resume in Spanish and short letter of interest. Program advisors will contact applicants about the deadline and requirements each semester.

While students can technically enroll in biology, veterinary medicine, and zoology, the UADY science campus is located two hours outside of Mérida, so it may not be practical to consider taking classes there.

Experiential Learning
Volunteering while studying abroad in Mérida is an enriching experience, both personally and academically. Students report that even volunteering a few hours per week enhanced their study abroad experience by providing them with access to the local culture and a deeper understanding of problems that face Mérida's inhabitants on a daily basis. Several volunteering opportunities exist in Mérida. Placements are made after you arrive onsite and are contingent upon a personal interview, your language level and available time commitment. IFSA has prepared a list of places where you, as a visiting student, can volunteer to do social service. While this is purely optional, a commitment on your part is needed in order to arrange a placement. Upon completion of your period of volunteerism, you will be issued a certificate indicating the number of hours you dedicated and the type of work you completed. Volunteering does not earn academic credit and will not appear on your Butler University transcript. Examples of places where students can be placed:
  • Ayuntamiento: Government-sponsored program providing English classes to disadvantaged communities in and around Mérida. 
  • Centro de Cultura del Niño Yucateco (CECUNY): Government agency that provides creative programming and workshops in dance, art, literature, chess, choir and music for children between the ages of four and 12.
  • Colegio Americano: Private school with kindergarten through high school grades and an excellent English program. 
  • Colegio Renacimiento Primaria: School with preschool through middle school grades, including special education and a bilingual program; curriculum also focuses on science, technology and culture. 
  • Hoy en tu comunidad: A private organization supported by the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán organized for students from different colleges to provide medical care and public health eduction to communities in and around Mérida. 
  • Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Cultura Maya del Estado de Yucatán (INDEMAYA): Government agency designed to provide training and support for the Mayan communities in and around Mérida, as well as maintain and promote Mayan culture and language.
  • Pronatura: Private organization that works to conserve the ecosystem of the Yucatán peninsula and promote a healthy relationship between society and nature. 
  • Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT): Governmental organization that Works with Mayan cooperatives to create and manage tourist sites in their communities. 
  • Unidad de Atención Sicológica, Sexológica y Educativa para el Crecimiento Personal (UNASSE): Human rights organization founded in 1987 with the goal of providing free support for a variety of legal and public health issues, including sexual abuse, violations of workers' rights, prevention and/or treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Vida Familia A.C. (VIFAC): A not-for-profit organization that provides workshops for pregnant women which aim to teach them the skills they need to be self sufficient and provide a better quality of life for their children.
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost
Subjects offered at Mérida Universities Program
Accounting Advertising American History Anatomy/Physiology Anthropology Archaeology Architecture and Design Art Education Art History Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Biology Business Civil Engineering Communications Community Studies Computer Science Computer/Software Engineering Construction Management Cultural Studies Economics Education Studies Elementary Education Engineering, General Entrepreneurship and Innovation Environmental Engineering European History European Studies Fashion Design Film Production Film/Cinema Studies Finance Fine Arts Foreign Language, Other Genetics Geology Graphic Design Health Administration/Management Health Education Health Studies Historic Preservation and Conservation History Hospitality & Tourism Human Resources Human Rights Illustration/Drawing Indigenous Studies Industrial Engineering Industrial and Organizational Psychology Intelligence/Security Studies International Business International Studies/Affairs/Relations Jewelry Making Latin American Studies Law/Legal Studies Linguistics Literature Management Marketing Mathematics Media/Multimedia Studies Nutrition/Food Science Peace/Conflict Studies Philosophy Photography Physics Policy Studies/Public Policy Political Science Population Studies/Demography Psychology Public Relations Public/Global Health Robotics Secondary Education Social Justice Social Policy Social Work Sociology Spanish Statistics Studio Art Supply Chain Management Sustainability Studies Urban Studies World History Zoology

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
Host Family
The Mérida Universities Program includes three meals per day.

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Program Advisor

Jennifer McKibben's headshot

Jennifer McKibben

Assistant Director of Student Services. Program Advisor for IFSAOnline, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, Mexico, Peru, and Scotland

317-940-4264 jmckibben@ifsa-butler.org Read Full Bio   Schedule Time to Talk

Resident Director

Diana Arizaga's headshot

Diana Arizaga

Regional Director, Latin America and Resident Director Mexico

Read Full Bio  

Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Fall 2020

Program Dates

Program Start Date
August 6, 2020
Program End Date
December 4, 2020

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs

Academic Year 2020

Program Dates

Program Start Date
August 6, 2020
Program End Date
May 21, 2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.
Supplemental Fees
This program may have supplemental fees. Please check with your IFSA Program Advisor.

Estimated Costs

(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs
Please check with your IFSA Program Advisor for personal costs.

Spring 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
January 4, 2021
Program End Date
May 21,2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Coming Soon
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs