Brazil hosts some of the best universities in South America. Many of the prestigious universities in the country are also globally recognized for possessing high academic standards. Moreover, free education at federal universities in Brazil is also available for international students, making it an attractive educational hub in the region.

On the contrary, the tertiary education rate remains low among locals, with only roughly 18% of the adult population aged 25 onwards obtaining a university degree. Among them, the number of graduates completing their degrees on time is only around 35%. Many take longer to earn their degrees, while some drop out entirely because they find it hard to balance working a day job and studying at night.

The Brazilian economy has been steadily growing in the past two decades. Despite the setbacks brought about by the global pandemic, the country is now slowly regaining its momentum. With this, an increasing number of secondary school students are becoming more interested in pursuing tertiary education, working hard to gain a coveted spot at top public universities.

Below, we discuss some of the best subjects to study in Brazil.

Top Subjects to Study in Brazil

1. Portuguese

International students eager to learn Portuguese may start from the Brazilian take on the language. It is relatively easier to master than the European variant. In addition, learning Brazilian Portuguese is a good stepping stone that can open career opportunities in around ten countries using essentially the same language.

It is also worth noting that Portuguese is among the ten most widely spoken languages in the world. And with Brazil’s continuous growth as an economic powerhouse, Portuguese proficiency can quickly become an asset. Portuguese is definitely among the best subjects to study in Brazil. Learning the language in Brazil is also beneficial due to reasonable living and education costs and an excellent opportunity to practice by communicating with the locals.

Many private language schools in Brazil offer affordable yet high-quality courses. Interested students may select from many schools in major cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. They may also register for language courses at federal universities at a much lower price. For instance, the Faculty of Letters at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro offers a comprehensive language program for beginners. It lasts one year, and students can learn the language at four proficiency levels.

2. Manufacturing Engineering

Brazil boasts of rich natural resources, such as minerals, ores, and crops, that significantly contribute to the strong manufacturing industry in the country. Because of this, many domestic companies mainly rely on local iron and steel producers, oil processors, and chemical and food manufacturers for raw materials, with little dependence on imports.

The stable industry calls for more competent Manufacturing Engineers capable of employing modern techniques and solutions to production challenges. Moreover, those with a double degree in Business-related programs may have better chances of obtaining management positions at some of the top manufacturing firms in Brazil.

The University of Campinas (UNICAMP) offers an undergraduate program in Manufacturing Engineering that covers critical areas of the field, including the planning, design, processing, and creation of goods ranging from daily necessities to modern technologies.

3. Mechanical Engineering

Brazil is famous for its machine, aircraft, and automotive industries. Because of this, many prestigious universities in the country offer competitive Mechanical Engineering programs at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, making mechanical engineering a top subject to study in Brazil.

Aspiring mechanical engineers have good career prospects depending on their level of educational attainment. They can enter multinational companies as engineers or researchers, take up management positions, or become part of the academe and teach or conduct research at universities. There are basically good career opportunities in various sectors, including private and public.

The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) has one of the top-ranking Engineering Schools in Brazil. It is also one of the most productive institutions, having produced numerous engineers who contributed to creating several industries in the country. Students may also obtain a second degree from one of UFRGS’ partner universities abroad.

4. Tourism

Tourists from all over the world recognize the travel risks that come with visiting Brazil. Nonetheless, many people still love the idea of joining Brazilian festivals, such as the globally famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Over six million foreign tourists visit Brazil every year, making a career in tourism fun and rewarding despite the safety challenges.

There are also plenty of scenic spots worth visiting in the country. Such places require tourism professionals to optimize marketing strategies and maximize earning potential. When considering getting a job in the tourism industry, incoming university students can choose from numerous career paths, such as hotel management or travel and tour planning.

The University of São Paulo, considered the top higher education institution in Brazil, offers an undergraduate program in Tourism that lasts eight semesters full-time or twelve semesters part-time. The program is free for domestic and international students.

5. Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is among the best subjects to study in Brazil. The crime rate in Brazil, especially crimes involving violence, is among the highest in the world. It is due to several socioeconomic factors, including poverty, corruption, rampant drug trafficking activities, and easy access to illegal firearms. While being a lawyer is pretty dangerous and controversial in Brazil, it is nevertheless honorable and reputable. That is why there is a call for competent and dedicated lawyers to defend victims of violent crimes.

It is a relatively popular career that’s why there are many licensed lawyers in Brazil. However, not all of them get to practice their profession. Moreover, it is not very easy to become one. Obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree in Brazil takes at least five years. After which, graduates have to pass the National Bar Examination to become full-fledged lawyers.

There is a need for excellent lawyers to make extensive improvements or changes in how the law is carried out in Brazil to fix the country’s image of having slow justice. Interested students might want to consider the University of São Paulo, which offers one of the best Bachelor of Laws programs in Brazil. It lasts 10 -15 semesters and provides students opportunities to take up optional international law courses.


I hope that you found this article on the best subjects to study in Brazil informative and helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.