The campus is located within the San Juan metropolitan area (Río Piedras) and is served by public transportation of several kinds. San Juan is a city with a thriving cultural and political life (it is the capital of Puerto Rico). Puerto Rico itself has a great variety of atmospheres, from the beach, to the mountains, to the big city to fascinating small towns. The Spanish heritage is everywhere, and the history of the Island is palpable. Cultural, commercial, and intellectual ties to mainland United States, Europe, and Latin America are strong. Living in San Juan, as in any large city, can sometimes be a challenge, but Puerto Rico is a fascinating experience.
For more information on enrolling as a regular student, please visit the Admissions’ Office website and the Students Information Website. You can also become an exchange student. Please visit the International and Exchange Students Office website for further information.
Río Piedras is the oldest and largest campus of the University of Puerto Rico system, having been established in 1903. Located in Río Piedras, which up to 1951 was an independent municipality, the campus is a vital part of the intellectual and cultural life of San Juan. The old ciudad universitaria, as Río Piedras is fondly called, has all the charms of an earlier way of life with its Plaza del Mercado, Paseo de Diego shopping center, and the city plaza crowned by its Roman Catholic Cathedral, along with the urban sprawl and super-shopping centers found throughout the metropolitan area.
Students at Río Piedras will find all their needs met, whether in town or on the campus itself. On campus there are two dormitories. An additional student housing, Plaza Universitaria, is located in front of the university campus. For more information on student housing click here. A local branch of Banco Popular is located in the Janer Building near the Tower. There is also a Guest House within the Student Center, with clean rooms at affordable rates for visitors to the university, faculty, or students. Stop by their office in the Student Center for more information.
The neighborhood of Santa Rita provides much of the off-campus housing for students and includes a range of small and chain businesses catering to their lifestyle: cafés and restaurants manageable within student budgets, bars, convenience stores, laundromats, cyber cafés, and photocopying stores among others. The famous Librería La Tertulia bookstore is close by on Avenida Ponce de Léon. It includes a café which has become a favorite breakfast and lunch spot for students and faculty drawn by their extensive offerings and collegiate ambiance. Though the nightlife of this part of Río Piedras isn’t known to move much beyond the university bar scene, there is a productive small theatre La Yerba Bruja on Calle Brumbaugh, which gives affordable performances on the weekends. There is also an art gallery called the Guatibirí Gallery. The gallery, directed by Rubén Malavé, is located at 1003 González Street. Just up the street is the Centro para Puerto Rico, home of the Fundación Sila Calderón), which sponsors conferences and special activities.
Most students travel outside the area for night time and weekend socializing. The Tren Urbano, with a station inside the university, provides fast service to other parts of San Juan, in addition to the city buses, public car services (carros públicos), and taxis that currently operate. Whichever way you go, the upscale nightlife of Old San Juan, Isla Verde and Condado, on the one hand, and the palm-fringed tropical beaches (on the other) are close by. For those who like to shop, Plaza Las Américas, the largest mall in the Caribbean, is also close at hand, in addition to other major shopping centers.
English Department students may meet their academic and related needs in any of the many seminar rooms, libraries, student computer labs, and other resource centers on campus. Our own Richardson Seminar Room houses primary and secondary sources for literature and language studies in English along with computers and wi-fi for access to on-line material including the university catalog.
The English Language Resource Center (also called the English Lab) includes a computer center available for walk-in use by students when not being used by a class, an audio-visual lab and media collection, and the Joseph Ferri Screening Room. Visit the center or website for more information on using the facilities. The Orange Room (Pedreira 107) is a graduate lounge located next to the Seminar Room and is available for graduate student use when no classes or meetings are being held. The keys are available in the Richardson Seminar Room, or from the Graduate Program Director. The rules for the use of the room are posted inside the room and on our Seminar Room page.
Outside the English Department, many students find the José Emilio González Multidisciplinary Seminar Room, located on the second floor of the nearby Luis Palés Matos building, very helpful. It is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Fridays 8-5:00 pm, and Saturday 8-1:00 pm. Many English professors leave their reserve books and readings on file here. The staff is very friendly and efficient. In addition to a study area and bibliographic materials, it has a computer center (PC and Mac) with printer and Internet access. You need a student ID in order to enter and your own paper in order to print. There are also copying machines which cost 8 cents with a copying card (purchased at the José M. Lázaro Library). Other seminar rooms may also be used by students. For a complete listing with hours and collections, visit the listing of Seminar Rooms and Research Centers of the College of Humanities (look for Seminarios & Unidades).
The José M. Lázaro Library holds many important collections, including theColección Puertorriqueña, the Colección Josefina del Toro Fulladosa (rare books), and the Latin American Studies and Caribbean Regional Library. The Reference Library, study center, and InterLibrary Loans are on the main level The circulation desk and old card catalog are on the second level with computers nearby for access to the on-line catalog. Photocopying machines can be found in the new Reference Library and Periodicals Room, located on the main floor to the left of the front entrance. El Nuevo Día, Claridad, The New York Times, and other newspapers are left out on a rack in this room, but some other newspapers and the academic journals have to be requested by filling out a slip. You can photocopy here. Copies are 8 cents with a copy card (the machine to purchase these cards is currently outside the periodicals room). The coordinator of InterLibrary Loans, Manuel Martínez Nazario, will be happy to help you get the articles or books not found in the UPR collection or available on-line. You can contact him at 787-764-0000 extension 5242; his office is open Monday through Friday 8:00- 4:30 pm, first floor, Reference Room.
The Red Graduada (Graduate Network) on the second floor of Lazaro Library is an especially inviting place for students to gather, talk, study, and take workshops. It is open late and serves as a safe and pleasant place to meet with classmates to work on projects.
Other libraries on campus with useful collections and facilities are the COPU library (Comunicación Pública) located across the street from the Humanities buildings (behind the Julia de Burgos theatre), the Law School Library (which has the most comfortable study area), and the General Studies library which has a popular study area for undergraduate students and copying facilities, along with a circulating collection.
Food, Exercise & Relaxation
Students will also find a variety of ways to satisfy their need for food and exercise on campus. There are a range of places to eat on campus from the fast food court in the Student Center, to the local vendors of vegetarian/health food and snacks in las carpas, to the elegant Law School atrium café. For exercise and sports, students may use the Sports Complex which includes the gym, weight rooms, and pool. The pool is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, while the gym is open Monday through Thursday, 4:00 – 8:30 pm. Stop by the complex to check the hours for the weight room and other special facilities, as they change throughout the year. The new track and field area is also open for student use and is located on the other side of Avenida Piñero.
The historic quadrangle (El Cuadrángulo) formed by the buildings around and behind the Tower and the rest of the campus are pleasant areas for walking, resting between classes, or just enjoying the outdoors.
For those who desire a more secluded retreat, the University Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico) is but a short ride or longish walk down Avenida Muñoz Rivera, across 65th Infantry Avenue (Route 3). A visit to the university gardens and its adjacent experimental station transports students to a more relaxed state. Among the delights of the Botanical Gardens are the Monet garden, the palm lagoon, the bamboo forest, the orchid pavilion, and the sculpture gardens. It is also a favorite spot for painters and other lovers of nature. A romantic getaway is to take the long walk to the pond at the far end of the garden and feed the turtles, ducks, and geese, or climb the large sculptures in the far field. The gardens can be booked for private activities, so weddings are often scheduled on the weekends.
El Centro Universitario, under the direction of the Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Activities, has a busy Programa de Actividades Sociales y Recreativas. They sponsor workshops, concerts, trips and fairs for students of the Río Piedras Campus. Each semester they offer Internal Tours to popular island sights such as a day trip to El Yunque Caribbean National Rain Forest or overnight trips to Vieques. Each May they also organize the Goofy Games for the Día del Estudiante. For more information, stop by their office in the Student Center, office 100, or call 787-764-000 extension 5621.
The Doctoral Program of the Humanities English Department’s annual symposiums invite writers, poets, artists, and/or performers to conduct workshops for students that culminate in a public event and or conference. Past invitees have been Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison, theatre troupeAgua, Sol y Sereno, mask maker and performer Deborah Hunt, performers Javier Cardona and Terésa Hernández, and installation artist Pepón Osorio. Please contact the English Department office each August for more information.
The Museum of History, Anthropology and Art of the University of Puerto Rico often has lectures, presentations and special events. Entrance to the museum is free, and the hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 AM to 4:30 PM, Wednesday 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM and Sunday 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM. It is located at the main gate, on Avenida Ponce de Leon, in front of the guard station, and next to Lázaro Library. For more information, you may call at 787-764-000 extension 5852 or 2452.
You can also learn more about our campus by visiting the Decanato de Estudios Graduados e Investigación webpage. It has valuable information on activities, financial assistance, and other important topics.
If you require assistance or have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you. On our Contact Us page, you’ll find detailed information about how to get in touch with us.