Brazil is many people’s dream destination in South America – from the rich Amazon rainforest to the vibrant cities of São Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio. The very name of the country is enough to inspire images of lively parades, delectable cuisine, satisfying weather, and countless pristine beaches.

Brazil is indeed a country with so much to offer, and this includes some of the best universities in the world. In this article, we will go over the best universities in Brazil for international students.

Is Brazil good for international students to study in?

Higher education in Brazil has a distinct European influence, having been a Portuguese colony until 1825. At the same time, the Southern American country has developed its unique quality and has achieved great academic accomplishments since.

Between two to six years, international students can take a Bachelor’s, Associate, or Licentiate degree, as well as one to two years postgraduate courses on a wide selection of subject areas delivered by first-rate universities.

Brazil is home to several foreign and indigenous languages. While it’s best to learn the Portuguese language, English, Spanish, and Italian are widely used in the country. Living in Brazil is among the most affordable in American and European countries, and students are eligible for free healthcare as well.

Can international students work in Brazil while studying?

According to Resolution no. 88 of Brazil’s Immigration Counsel, foreign nationals studying in Brazilian universities can only engage in practical training. They must also not exceed 30 hours a week or 6 hours a day. However, companies are not required to pay a salary for training.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can international students stay in Brazil after graduation?

International students can only stay in Brazil as long as their student visas (Vitem IV) are valid. However, Brazil does not currently allow changing visa types while in the country. So as soon as Vitem IV expires or after graduation, students should return to their home country first, and from there, apply for another type of visa to be able to stay in Brazil.

Best Universities in Brazil

1. University of São Paulo (USP)

The University of São Paulo is considered one of Brazil’s most prestigious institutions for higher education, ranking among the top 100 universities in the world. Established in 1934, it came about as a merger of an existing faculty of law, school of engineering, and college of agriculture in the state of São Paulo. Today, the university is involved in a wider scope of teaching and research besides the three original disciplines. It has expanded to include architecture, philosophy, journalism, information systems, and environmental management, among others.

On top of a wide array of programs, the USP also manages five hospitals, over 50 libraries, several museums and art galleries, and research centers. The USP welcomes students from all continents, as well, with its International Office that efficiently handles global academic network activities, such as Erasmus Mundus and SMILE (Student Mobility in Latin America, Caribbean, and Europe.)

2. University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Another excellent university in Brazil for international students is the University of Campinas, an integrated research center with a scientific and medical focus. Unlike most Brazilian universities, Unicamp was not established by merging existing schools. It was designed from the very beginning for research and development instead. In fact, it has the largest proportion of graduate students in all Brazilian universities. Unicamp offers over 70 degree-granting undergraduate programs in the exact sciences, human sciences, biological sciences, and technical studies.

Besides top-notch programs and research opportunities, Unicamp is renowned for its extension programs to the community. These specialization courses have varying minimum requirements for non-degree career training for those in need of it. Unicamp also remains internationally accessible either through easy mobility of foreign students or through several online courses.

3. Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

The Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais is the largest federal university in Brazil. It was founded in 1927 as one of the oldest higher education institutions in the country and has been a powerful influence in the cultural and economic life of its location in Belo Horizonte and the rest of Brazil. Today, its main purpose is knowledge development and transmission through teaching and research.

The UFMG offers programs in nearly all areas of knowledge and at all levels, too. Over 180 programs for undergraduate and graduate levels award students with a globally recognized Bachelor’s degree, a Licentiate degree, or a professional title. This top university in Brazil for international students also provides many academic and non-academic services and facilities for its students, including international partnerships, study abroad programs, distance learning programs, and administrative support services.

4. Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)

The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul is a public research-led university offering free higher education to over 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It began as a school of chemistry and pharmacy, expanded with an engineering college, and later added several disciplines, including law, communication, agriculture, and fine arts. Today, the university prioritizes innovation, national and international involvement, and the continuous updating of infrastructure and academic facilities for its students.

The UFRGS is one of the largest universities in Brazil with over 300 buildings accommodating 29 colleges. In addition, the university campus includes 500 laboratories, 37 lecture halls, 33 libraries, a museum, a botanical garden, an observatory, campus accommodation, and the Hospital Clínicas de Porto Alegre.

5. Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP)

The Federal University of São Paulo is one of the best universities in Brazil. From its establishment in 1933 until 2005, it was exclusively for Health Sciences. It became multi-subject under the direction of the Brazilian Federal Government’s University Reform Program (REUNI), expanding the prestigious university into six campuses. Today, students can pursue other degree programs in addition to health science, including engineering, psychology, computer science, business administration, social sciences, and many others.

The university has grown significantly in the previous decade and has accumulated sites around the São Paulo state. Furthermore, the UNIFESP is not only physically accessible to international students. The school also manages several online platforms where students from all over the world can access their educational material, including Coursera and e-Classes.


I hope that this article on the best universities in Brazil was helpful! If you’re interested in studying abroad make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!