Studying in Brazil
Higher education in Brazil is provided by federal, state, municipal and private institutions, as well as other higher education institutions such as foundations, federations and independent establishments. Undergraduate programmes usually last four to six years and graduate programmes take two to six years, depending on the level of research.
What courses can you study?
- First stage: Bacharelado (bachelors degree) and Licenciatura. The Bacharelado is usually obtained after four to six years of study, depending on the institution and the subject. The Licenciatura is a teaching qualification and is generally awarded after four years' study.
- Second stage: Mestrado (Masters degree). This is the first stage of postgraduate study and courses usually take at least one year to complete. You will need a Bacharelado or Licenciatura level qualification and will have to submit a thesis.
- Third stage: Doutorado (doctorate). This is the highest degree and it normally requires at least four years' to complete.
Comprehensive information about institutions in Brazil and the availability of postgraduate courses can be found in Portuguese at CRUB: Conselho de retoires das universidades Brasileiras – Brazilian Universities.
How do you apply for postgraduate study?
The entrance requirements vary depending on the university, but the following can be used as a guide:
- Foreign students must hold a secondary school-leaving certificate that is recognised by the Brazilian Ministry of Education and pass an entrance exam (vestibular) which varies by institution.
- Students from Latin American and African countries that have signed cultural agreements with Brazil are exempt from this exam and from paying tuition fees.
- The institution may require the Celpe-Bras (Certificate of Proficiency in Portuguese for Foreigners) test to be taken to prove your competence in Portuguese.
- Deadlines for applications for postgraduate study vary depending on the university. Check with admissions departments of individual institutions.
- Applications for the majority of postgraduate courses can be made online via individual university websites or by emailing the department contact via the graduate/postgraduate section of individual university websites. The application usually requires a personal statement and at least one academic reference. Most Brazilian university websites are written in Portuguese only.
Fees and scholarships
Costs will vary depending on the university and the course that you wish to apply for. Contact each university directly for specific details.
Foreign students are entitled to all the facilities available to Brazilian students, including scholarships, loans (for accommodation, transport, meals, books and documentation) and assistance with the payment of study fees. Ask your individual institution about what might be available.
Are there any exchange programmes?
There is the possibility of exchange programmes to Brazil through some UK universities at postgraduate level that have specialist Latin America studies centres. Check with your current university if there are any available programmes.
Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?
Check with the university or higher education institution where you are hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.
Do you need a visa to study in Brazil?
You will require a student visa (Vitem IV) to study in Brazil. Your course must be at a recognised school, institution of technical studies, university or institution of higher learning.
Within 30 days of arriving in the country, you must register with the Brazilian immigration authorities at the Federal Police. The student visa does not permit you to work while studying in Brazil.
Visas are issued for up to one year and may be extended once you are in the country. The institution will need to confirm the course is continuing, your attendance is regular and you have passed any required exams.
See the Consulate General of Brazil in London for a list of the required documentation and details of the application process.
Written by AGCAS editors, April 2016