What Are The Best Universities in Brazil?
- Thursday March 17th, 2022
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Brazil
If you plan to study in Brazil, you are probably wondering what are the best universities in the country. As a matter of fact, QS World University Rankings has a list of the top institutions in higher education in Brazil. This list is based on combinations of various factors. In fact, this ranking evaluates these universities in fields such as faculty/student ratio, research impact, employer reputation, and diversity of the student/faculty community. They also do an internal global academic survey to evaluate academic peer review.
It is interesting to mention, 8 of the 10 Brazilian universities in this list are public institutions. As per the Brazilian constitution, education is the right of all and a duty of both the State and families. Because of that, public universities in Brazil are free of charge. Of course, Brazilians go through a specific entrance exam and only the people with the best grades are able to enroll in those universities.
The Best Universities in Brazil
1. Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Universidade de São Paulo, popularly known as USP, is a public university maintained by the São Paulo state. Moreover, it is the largest and most important higher education institution in the country, spread to several campuses in eight different cities.
With an area of over 370ha, the main campus is home to schools, research centers, institutes, academies, museums, and libraries. The University of São Paulo is involved in teaching and researching all areas of knowledge, offering a broad range of courses. Among the most prestigious courses at USP are Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Tourism, and Petroleum Engineering.
Today, USP is an important research center, responsible for around 25% of all Brazilian academic output. Universidade de São Paulo also ranks as the second-best university in Latin America.
2. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)
Also located in São Paulo, the State University of Campinas is a public university. It is praised for its Biology, Economics, Computer Science, and Nursing schools, among others. Established in 1962, Unicamp is located in Campinas, with other campuses in the cities of Limeira, Piracicaba, and Paulínia.
Unicamp’s admission process is one of the most competitive in Brazil. In 2022, 63,297 candidates applied for 2,540 slots available.
Every year, Universidade Estadual de Campinas features among the best universities in Brazil. In 2015, actually, the Ministry of Education rated Unicamp as the best university in the country.
3. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is a Brazilian public and free university maintained by the Brazilian government. The institution has four campuses within the state: two in the city of Rio de Janeiro, one in Macaé, and another one in Duque de Caxias.
Besides the undergraduate and postgraduate courses, UFRJ maintains seven museums, nine hospitals, a publishing company, hundreds of laboratories, and several libraries.
Law, Physics, Chemical Engineering, and Dance are among the best courses taught at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
4. Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp)
Unifesp is a federal university with seven campuses spread along the state of São Paulo, in the cities of Diadema, Guarulhos, Osasco, Santos, São José dos Campos, and São Paulo. It used to serve exclusively as a teaching institute for Health Sciences until the beginning of the 21st century. However, nowadays this university also hosts different schools such as Business schools, Engineering institutes, and Humanities academics.
Still, Unifesp is popular for its Medicine, Physical Education, and Psychology programs.
5. Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp)
The São Paulo State University features 5th on this list, as well as 12th in Latin America. It is a public university run by the state government of São Paulo. Moreover, it is popular for having 23 campuses spread to cities like Bauru, Marília, Franca, Sorocaba, and São José dos Campos.
Currently, Unesp has around 40,000 students, 3,000 faculty members, and 32 schools. Furthermore, the university offers around 280 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Unesp is known for its Dentistry, Biomedical Sciences, and Design graduate programs.
6. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)
PUC-Rio is the first private institute on this list. It is a Catholic non-profit pontifical university in Rio de Janeiro, with highly accredited faculties in Law, Business, International Relations, and Computer Science.
The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro offers 36 bachelor courses and 26 postgraduate research programs for 22,000 students total. Established in 1940, it also offers a large program for international students.
It is located in Gávea, a quiet neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, on a campus of over 10ha.
7. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
The Federal University of Minas Gerais is a free federal university in Brazil, offering stricto sensu and lato sensu postgraduate programs, as well as undergraduate courses. Its main campus is located in Belo Horizonte, even though it also has other campuses in Tiradentes and Montes Claros.
Among the best courses UFMG offers are Business Management, Architecture, Pharmacy, and Advertising. In 2022, 138,459 people applied for the 6,309 undergraduate slots UFMG offered.
8. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS)
Established in 1934, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul is located in Porto Alegre. It offers 289 programs among undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
UFRGS has an area of over 2,000ha and more than 300 buildings. Besides undergraduate and postgraduate courses, it hosts an elementary and high school, 500 laboratories, 33 libraries, a hospital, a publishing company, a museum, and other facilities.
This university is praised for its Agronomy, Control and Automation Engineering, and Food Engineering programs.
UFRGS is also famous for being the alma mater of three former presidents of Brazil.
9. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP)
Just like PUC-Rio, PUC-SP is also a private non-profit Catholic university. It is located in São Paulo and is known for its Accounting Sciences, Journalism, Law, History, and Social Services programs.
Many scientific productions in PUC-SP are internationally recognized for their research in disorders of human communication, political economics, semiotics, and psychology.
PUC-SP has five campuses: four in the city of São Paulo and one in Sorocaba. The university is also responsible for the Saint Lucinda Hospital and the TUCA theatre.
10. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)
UFPE is a federal university maintained by the Brazilian government. The university has three campuses: Recife, Vitória de Santo Antão, and Caruaru. It is the best higher education institution in the whole North-Northeast region.
Physics, Information Systems, and Communications are among the best courses taught at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.
How to apply for university in Brazil
Some public and private universities in Brazil use the ENEM exam as an admission test for enrollment. ENEM is a standardized Brazilian national exam that evaluates high school students in Brazil. There is also the SiSU program, which is responsible for using Enem scores as a means of selecting candidates for higher education courses in public institutions.
Nonetheless, other institutes hold their own tests and admission programs.
If you are a foreign student wanting to enroll in a Brazilian university, you must take the Celpe-Bras exam and get your certificate. You will also need to apply for a student visa for Brazil.
Celpe-Bras is an exam all foreigners can take to officially validate their knowledge of the Portuguese language. It is the only official proficiency certificate of Brazilian Portuguese as a foreign language recognized by the Brazilian government.
Celpe-Bras is required in order to be considered for admission as an undergrad or post-grad student in any Brazilian university. A Celpe-Bras certificate is a mandatory document for all international students enrolling in universities in Brazil.
You can learn more about Celpre-Bras on our blog post All You Need To Know About Celpe-Bras.
Caminhos Language Centre offers a special Celpe-Bras preparation course. Our teachers are specifically trained to prepare students for the Celpe-Bras exam and work with specific material to help them achieve their goals. Furthermore, our teacher coordinator will create a personalized study plan according to the timeframe for the student to prepare for the exam.