Brazil Higher Education

Brazil Higher Education

South America

According to countryaah, Brazil is South America’s largest country and has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, which has placed the country firmly on the global market. Great educational progress has been made and Brazil is playing an increasing role in international educational mobility. With major political, economic and not least cultural upheavals, a stay in Brazil can offer great professional and cultural experiences.

The Brazilian education system is divided into three levels: fundamental, intermediate / secondary and higher education.

Fundamental education is compulsory for children aged 6-14 years and lasts 9 school years. Intermediate / secondary education is of three years duration and is mandatory for access to study programs during higher education.

Higher education is divided in Brazil into basic education and superstructure. Basic education lasts between three and five years, superstructure between one and two years.

Brazil was officially discovered by Portuguese explorers and was a Portuguese colony from the 16th to the 19th century, which is why the main language of Brazil today is Portuguese, and many other aspects of Brazilian culture are also influenced by the Portuguese heritage. Brazil became independent in 1822. The country is today a federal republic and has a parliamentary democracy with a presidential government.

In the last decade, Brazil has experienced strong economic growth, which i.a. has meant a rapidly growing, affluent middle class, declining unemployment and a steadily growing Brazilian presence in the global market.

The Ministry of Education and Research is therefore opening an innovation center in Brazil that will assist Danish researchers and companies with networks and access to the best research and innovation environments in the country.

Worth knowing

Vocational training in Brazil

In Brazil, vocational education is subject to intermediate / secondary education and is structured in the following levels:

Basic Level

Aimed at specific jobs and business functions, typically of 1-2 years duration, and does not give access to higher education. Once the education has been completed, the Certificado de Qualificação Profissional is issued.

Technical level

Is of 1-3 years duration and provides professional competence. Admission requirements are 8 years of school education., The education gives access to higher education. Upon implementation, the following is issued:

  • Diploma de Ensino Médio com Habilitação em [xxx]
  • Diploma in Technology (from Nível Médio)

Diploma de Ensino Médio com Habilitação em [xxx]/ Diploma de Técnico (de Nível Médio)can be obtained in two ways:

  • 3 years of study in extension of 8 years, Ensino Fundamental, where the vocationally orientedpart makes up 25% and the general upper secondary school makes up the rest.


  • completed Ensino Médio, followed by 1-2 years of vocational studies in a specific field. A Certificado de Qualificação Profissional is issued in addition to a Diploma de Técnico de Nível Médio indicating the area.

Higher education in Brazil

Higher education in Brazil is divided into basic education and superstructure and is offered by universities, university centers, institutes of higher education and technological education centers.

At the basic education level, you can choose between:

  • Humanities and science educations, typically of four years duration.
  • Engineering programs of typically five years duration, however, only four years for IT lines.
  • Medicines of six years duration and other health education, typically of five years duration.
  • Nursing and pharmacy of four years duration.
  • Other professional courses, typically of five years’ duration.

Basic education provides access to studies at the superstructure level.

At the superstructure level, educations in Brazil are generally divided into:

Stricto sensu educations,which are accredited super structure educations that lead to a degree:

  • Mestrado, usually of 2 years duration, requires foreign language skills and ends with a thesis. Gives access to PhD studies.
  • Mestrado Profissionalis a profession- oriented specialization education with the same status as a Mestrado, but it does not provide access to PhD studies.
  • Doutoradois a PhD study, which is of a minimum duration of 2 years and takes place as an extension of a Mestrado.

Lato sensu educations that are not considered a degree and do not provide credits that can give credit to aMestrado. Latu sensuis quality assured through a ministerial body and has a high status in the private sector. MBA programs in Brazil areLato Sensuprograms. Lato Sensu programs do not provide access to PhD studies.

There is no official conversion scale for Brazilian credits / carga horaria to ECTS points. However, one year of full-time study in Brazil corresponds to approximately 800 and 1200 teaching hours.

Admission requirements, application and deadlines

A Danish upper secondary school diploma is basically an admission to higher education in Brazil, but specific requirements, application procedures and deadlines vary between the educational institutions.

Language proficiency

Some Brazilian educational institutions may require a certain level of Portuguese language skills. It may also happen that an educational institution offers a limited number of courses in English. In some cases, a Portuguese language test may be required. The only language test for foreigners approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Education is the CELPE-Bras test. The sample can not be taken in Denmark, but is offered i.a. at King’s College in London, and you can get more information at the Brazilian Embassy in Copenhagen


There are good opportunities for internships in Brazil, either through Danish institutions, companies or organizations that are present in the country. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, internships are offered both at the Danish Embassy in Brasilia and at the Consulate General in São Paulo

At you can search for relevant internships in different parts of Brazil.

Recognition of foreign educations in Denmark

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Economics and education

If you take an entire education in Brazil, or take a study stay as part of your Danish education as a guest student, you must pay tuition fees. How much varies between the different educations and universities.

As a Danish student, you can take your SU abroad. It requires that the study stay is part of your Danish education, and that your Danish place of education approves that the study stay gives full credit. You can also apply for support through a scholarship abroad that fully or partially covers study-related expenses on approved study stays.

You can also apply for support through private grants. You can read more about this under ‘ Scholarships and foundations ‘

Work in Brazil

In line with the great economic growth Brazil has undergone in recent years, unemployment has generally fallen.

The opportunities for work for foreigners are generally good, and according to the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment, the number of work permits for foreigners has grown steadily with the growth of the Brazilian economy. The main destinations for work in Brazil for foreigners are Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul.

Practical conditions


If you are going to Brazil for a study stay, through an internship, as a volunteer or with work, no matter what, you must have a valid visa.

You can read more about the current rules for visas and entry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website and at, and at the Brazilian embassy in Copenhagen, you can get help with the actual application for a visa.

General info

Useful links for your stay in Brazil

  • has a wide range of general, practical information about Brazil
  • Study in Brazil provides practical information for international students in Brazil

If you are applying for education in Brazil, it is crucial that you thoroughly research the quality of the education. There can be a big difference between the educational institutions, the educations and the form of teaching internally in the country. You can obtain knowledge and experience about educations from relevant professionals in Denmark (eg teachers / researchers with knowledge of the subject area or the country), the international offices at Danish educational institutions or Danish students who have been to Brazil.

Facts about Brazil

Population: 198.7 million

Language: Portuguese

Employment: Unemployment in 2013 was 5.1% (OECD).

Currency: Brazilian real.

Residence permit: Applied through the Brazilian Embassy in Copenhagen.

Brazil Higher Education