The School of Agricultural Sciences was created on October 18, 1963, by a decree from the Sacred Congregation for the Seminars and University Studies in Rome, as the "FACULTATEM AGRONOMIAE in Catholica Universitate Vallis Paradisi". Since 1968 the School has been functioning in its current location near Quillota, initially using an Estate donated by Mr. Rafael Ariztía, specifically for "establishing within a school of agriculture". In 1974 construction of the current facilities was started on area of the La Palma Estate, 5 km East of the city of Quillota. The School currently has almost 6,000 m2 of buildings, including auditoriums, lecture rooms and teaching laboratories, the library, cafeteria, and research-service laboratories for Plant Pathology, Water, Soil and Plant Tissue Analysis, Post-harvest and Food Technology, Plant Propagation, Entomology and Biological Control, Plant Genetics, and Essential Oils. Sports facilities for students and staff include a natural turf soccer field and a tennis/basketball court.
The School was built within the La Palma Experimental Station, a 50 ha estate with long-term experiments in subtropical and temperate fruit production, a nursery producing over 300,000 containerized plants per year, and germplasm collections of cherimoya, avocado, lúcuma and Citrus species.
Given the geographic location and the agroecological conditions in the area, the School has specialized in Horticulture, particularly in commercial production of subtropical and temperate fruit crops, vegetable crops and ornamental species. Protected cultivation of herbaceous crops, such as cut flowers and vegetables, is also one of the strengths of the School. Research and teaching are both concentrated on environmentally conscious agriculture, seeking a reduction of the impacts that agricultural production causes on humans and the environment. Our connections to the horticultural industry, both within Chile and abroad, allow us to strengthen all the activities of the School, from research to teaching and extension. Contract research and internships for our students are among the most frequent results of the industry connections that we maintain.
The School currently has 650 students, and 16 full time professors devoted to both teaching and research. More than 30 lecturers, outstanding farm advisors working in the private sector, collaborate in the teaching programs in order to provide our students with their perspective on the production problems faced by the industry.