United Nations University for Peace San José, Costa Rica

looking down at the Poás Volcano crater with steam rising off of the water

The United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE), established in 1980 by the UN General Assembly under its own charter, strives to be a forward-thinking, transformational and inspirational educational institution dedicated to the goals of quality teaching, research and service for serving humanity in building a peaceful world. UPEACE attracts students and faculty from around the world and is a truly global community, providing an invaluable networking resource for students who plan to pursue an international career. The campus is located near San José within a beautiful nature reserve composed of secondary forest and the last remnant of primary forest in Costa Rica.

Academic Calendar

Fall Semester
August - December
Spring Semester
January - May



Students will enroll as full-time students for one semester alongside UPEACE graduate students, and earn up to 9 credits toward their graduate degree from AU. 

UPEACE courses normally last one week per credit with classes ranging anywhere from one to three credits. Classes are thus highly intensive with daily meetings and do not allow students to concurrently undertake internships. Students will only take one course at a time.

Programs of study include:

  • Environment, Development, and Peace
  • Gender and Peacebuilding
  • International Law
  • International Peace Studies
  • Media, Peace, and Conflict Studies
  • Peace Education
  • Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development

Note: SIS graduate students in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) program who wish to take UPEACE courses for the Media, Peace, and Conflict Studies or Gender and Peacebuilding concentrations must declare their intention in their application. They must also obtain clearance from their Graduate Academic Advisor for IPCR before applying.

Language Requirement

As UPEACE is an English-language institution, there is no Spanish language pre-requisite. However, students are encouraged to study Spanish prior to beginning the program in order to gain communication skills for daily life in Costa Rica.

Application Deadlines

Spring: October 15
Fall: March 15

Applicants are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee.

You will be notified by email with a decision regarding your nomination for study abroad.

Please note: This program is competitive and submitting an application does not guarantee admission.

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Suggested Program Match

This program is compatible with International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Ethics, Peace and Human Rights, International Development, Global Environmental Politics and Intercultural Communication/Management. 

Students may select courses from any MA program at UPEACE.

Browse Course Catalog

Learning directly from practitioners

UPEACE itself and Costa Rica more broadly are very welcoming.

The professors at UPEACE truly care about the students and provide hands-on learning as top practitioners in their fields. The campus itself is beautiful, and the location of the university is convenient, with the city of San Jose being very close and having access to the various attractions that Costa Rica has to offer.