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Study in Brazil

In Brazil, 5 million students are enrolled in the more than 23,000 programs available in universities all over the country. Over 2,000 private and public schools offer higher education programs with domestic and international recognition for quality. A number of Brazilian universities rank in the top 500 public best universities in the world. Private universities also stand out for the number of quality programs offered and of students enrolled. They account for 76% of the higher education system and offer courses lasting from 2 to 6 years.

In some of the Spanish and English colonies in the Americas, institutions of higher learning were established as early as the 17th century. Upon graduating, students had the option of either becoming priests or continuing their studies in Europe.

In the period before and after the independence of Brazil, other schools of higher learning, although not formally called "universities," were founded, including those specialized in civil and military engineering, medical faculties and technical courses in the fields of botany, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, and economy were created. The faculties of law founded after the independence of Brazil served as nuclei that developed into modern Brazilian universities.

Higher education system

The Higher Education system in Brazil is divided in three main categories:

  • Universities conduct research and community outreach.
  • University Centers are multi-course institutions that are not required to carry-out research, but may initiate new study courses without seeking permission from the Ministry of Education.
  • Integrated Faculties and Schools of Higher Education are smaller institutions that obtain approval from the Ministry of Education when opening new courses, certificates, or degrees.

Most federal and state institutions are universities and tuition is free, while municipal governments tend to run smaller institutes, sometimes charging tuition. Private Higher Education institutions charge wide-ranging fees, based on the degree programs offered.

Public or private higher education institutions invest in quality study courses as well as social inclusion programmes. There is a great focus on improving facilities, hiring experience faculties, providing affordable tuition and creating a great variety of courses.

Degrees offered


  • Bachelor's (bacharelado): varies between 3 to 6 years to complete.
  • Licentiate (licenciatura): varies between 3 to 4 years to complete. Enables individuals to act as elementary or secondary school teachers in a certain area.
  • Technology (tecnologia): varies between 2 to 3 years of full time studies to complete. Specific professional courses are aimed at providing specialized knowledge.


  • "Lato sensu postgraduate" degree: this degree represents a specialization in a certain area, and takes approximately 1 to 2 years to complete. MBA programs in Brazil are classified as lato sensu programs.
  • "Stricto sensu postgraduate" degree: this degree enables one to pursue an academic career. In chronological order:
  • Master's degree (mestrado): this takes 1 to 2 years of full time studies to complete.
  • Doctoral degree / PhD (doutorado): this takes 3 to 4 years to complete
  • Postdoctoral research (pós-doutorado): this is not an academic title; it usually denotes excellency in a field of knowledge acquired through supervised research after a doctorate.
  • Livre-docência: this is the highest academic qualification in Brazil. The livre-docência requires the candidate to write a professional thesis, based on independent scholarship.

Programs in Biology, Odontology, Medicine, Dermatology and Veterinary are world-renowned and sought after by students worldwide. For this reason, a number of multinational corporations recruit employees in Brazilian universities.

MBA programs and specialization courses in Brazil are also noteworthy, as well as programs that combine training and volunteer work. Secondary education courses and Portuguese courses for foreigners are also available.

Admission exam

In order to enter a university in Brazil, candidates must undergo a public open examination called the Vestibular, which usually lasts between 1 and 5 days, and takes place once a year. Some universities may run the Vestibular twice a year. Offering more frequent exams is popular among private universities, while public universities usually run the Vestibular only once a year.

The vestibular includes many subjects offered in high school, such as: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Literature, Portuguese language, and a foreign language (usually the candidate can choose between English, Spanish or French). Since public universities are free of charge and there are a limited number of open slots, there is high competition with the Vestibular.

English language preparation for studying in Brazil

Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Brazilian universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options.

Universities accept these official English exams:

Living in Brazil

  • In Brazil, you will also find modern and cosmopolitan cities. São Paulo, for instance, one of the largest cities in the world, is Brazil´s business powerhouse and a
    • Sao Paulo is a cultural hub for Latin America with many movie theatres, concert halls, hip nightclubs, restaurants and bars, shopping malls, museums, and parks.
    • Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of the country, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
    • Enjoy the warmth of Brazilian music, among which the most known is samba.
    • Friendly, cheerful and good-natured, Brazilians welcome everyone warmly.
    • The Northern part of Brazil harbours the Amazon River - an attractive region for biologists and nature-lovers.
    • Visit beautiful Brazilian beaches, with their white sands, warm clear water and many coconut palms. The most lively Carnival parties take place here.
    • Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and was for many years the political and administrative capital of the country.
    • The state of Rio Grande do Sul hosts the important Gramado Film Festival and has the best wineries in the country.
    • A meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs about 7 USD.
    • Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost about 400 USD.
    • Renting a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre will cost around 270 USD.
    • The overall living cost starts at 630 USD/month in big cities. 
    • Brasilia is more than the political capital of Brazil. It is located in the centre of the country and famous for its bold architecture and urban planning aimed at quality of life.

About Brazil

Brazil enjoys an extensive coastline that measures almost 7 500 kilometres. Its other borders are made up of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Ecuador and Chile are the only South American countries with which Brazil does not share its borders. There are various groups of islands that also belong to Brazil, such as Saint Peter, Trindade and Fernando de Noronha.

Apart from being geographically large, Brazil is also naturally diverse. It comprises dense rain forests and jungles, expanses of coastline, towering mountains, oceanic archipelagos (or clusters of islands), rivers, scrublands and rolling plains. Because of such a variation in habitats available to plants and animals, Brazil boasts a rich array of fauna and flora.

Today the country also stands out economically and the Brazilian GDP (gross domestic product) increased by 5.1% in 2008 and by 5.4% in 2007. Brazil is the largest Latin-American country and, with its more than 180 million people, is one of the chief consumer markets in the world.

It is because of this growth that it is doing so well in terms of its economy. In fact, it is one of the world’s largest and most significant economies. It is also the only Portuguese-speaking country in both North and South America.

This Portuguese heritage dates back to the 1700’s, when Brazil was first colonised by this European nation. During its rich and complex history, slavery was a major part of the Brazilian heritage. People of European and Asian descent immigrated to Brazil in the 19th century from countries like Japan, Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Brazil is a Presidential Federative Republic - Brazilians selected this regime in a referendum held in 1993. Government is exercised by three branches: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. One single person, the President of the Republic, heads the executive branch. Brazil became a republic in 1889 and it is today considered one of the most democratic nations in the world.

Universities, colleges and schools in Brazil

São Paulo

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