The Autonomous University of Guadalajara, known to many by its Spanish acronym UAG, is a private college founded in 1935. Today it is one of the largest educational institutions in the city, with some 16,000 students. Established by a right-wing student movement opposed to the socialist education mandated by then-President Lazaro Cardenas, the university has long been considered something of a bastion for conservatism and a rival to the public and more liberal University of Guadalajara.
Originally called the University of the West, UAG endured difficult relations with the Mexican government throughout its first decade. Since then though, UAG has established itself as one of Guadalajara’s most respected universities. The main UAG campus is a sprawling site surrounded by some of the more upmarket neighborhoods of Guadalajara’s Zapopan district, while smaller satellite campuses can be found in nearby Tlaquepaque and in the states of Tepic, Tabasco and Baja California.
UAG offers bachelor’s degrees in software engineering, mechatronic engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and biotechnology engineering, among other programs.
It has arguably the broadest offering of computer science and electronic engineering postgraduate programs in Guadalajara, offering master’s degrees in computer sciences, Internet technology, and digital animation, plus specializations in software engineering, electronics and communications, computer networks, and digital signals processes.
The UAG has agreements with over 100 different universities around the world, where students can take part in exchange programs while still paying UAG tuition fees. The majority of electronic engineering and computer sciences students tend to go the United States, Canada and Germany.
“Our electronic engineering and computer sciences programs are very important for the university,” José Antonio Barriga de la Torre, dean of the design, science and technology department, told Global Delivery Report. “The focus of any university should be on solving the social problems of its environment. There is a very high number of electronics and software development firms here in the Guadalajara area, which is known as ‘Mexico’s Silicon Valley,’ so the university offers these programs in order to provide the talent these companies need.”
Certifications and Training
Although most students do not obtain technical certifications directly from their studies at UAG, the university does prepare them to take Cisco and ethical hacking certifications. Students can also obtain certifications in Java technology web applications development at the university through the Mexico First program, an initiative backed by both Mexico’s Ministry of Economics and the World Bank.
The UAG has a number of schemes to help students gain professional experience. Electronic engineering students must complete 600 hours of internships before they can graduate, while software development students must intern for at least 400 hours.
Teams of students led by professors also develop projects and enter competitions organized by the government or the private sector. The projects are developed in the university’s government-accredited business incubator. Many students also take business development courses in which they must create and develop their own products at the incubator.
Around 50 students graduate in biotechnology engineering each year. The majority of UAG biotechnology graduates end up working in the best local hospitals, the national public health service, or in companies like Freescale and Continental. Another 40 students graduate each year in software development. Most find work with the likes of Oracle, IBM, HP, Intel and Tata Consultancy Services, while others opt to start their own businesses.
A bachelor’s degree in software development costs a total of 430,000 Mexican pesos, almost US$29,000 at today’s exchange rate, while biotechnology engineering costs 359,000 pesos ($24,000). A master’s degree in Internet technology costs just 120,900 pesos ($8,100), while the popular computer sciences master’s program costs 130,200 pesos ($8,700).
The university offers a wide range of grants and one in five UAG students benefit from some form of grant or financial aid.