10 Best Medical Schools in Brazil

Brazil is one of the best destinations for international students. After all, most of its prestigious state universities are tuition-free. Although there are many requirements like language proficiency and entrance exams, it’s all worth it once you get into any of the top medical schools in Brazil.

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How long does it take to complete a Medical degree in Brazil?

Brazil follows the curriculum of European Medical Schools where students need 6 years to complete the degree. This covers a 2-year basic cycle (Cicio basico), and another 2 years for professional education. The last 2 years are reserved for clinical rotations (Cicio clinico).

What are the application requirements needed by Brazilian medical schools?

Such instructions require a translated transcript of high school records (Portuguese). Admission is based on either the University Foundation for the Vestibular (FUVEST) exam or through the Ministry of Education’s Unified Selection System.

International students also need to demonstrate fluency in the language.

Top Medical Schools in Brazil

1. Universidade de São Paulo Medical School

USP is the country’s largest educational institution – and undoubtedly Brazil’s most prestigious medical school. To date, USP is ranked 2nd in Latin America and is also included in the top 150 bracket of the world’s best universities.

Having been established in 1913, its Medical School actually precedes the university. It was only incorporated when the university opened in 1934. Currently, the USP Medical School offers 4 undergraduate courses – one of which is Medicine.

Based on the Pinheiros campus, the Medicine program underwent a curriculum revamp in 2015. The new plan, which was developed in coordination with American, Canadian, and Portuguese academicians, is to minimize lecture and to devote more time on tutored discussions and clinical reasoning.

Apart from teaching diagnosis and treatment, the curriculum also includes new healthcare approaches, as well as the social, economic, and cultural determinants of health.

2. Federal University of São Paulo – Paulista School of Medicine

Based in southeast Brazil, the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) was solely a health science campus up until 2005. Founded as the Paulista School of Medicine, it maintains its distinction as one of the best medical schools in the country.

What sets Unifesp apart is its focus on the biological sciences – with special emphasis on human life and their social, cultural, and historical contexts.

The school’s curriculum is divided into several modules, which cover basic education (1st to 2nd year), professional studies (3rd to 4th year), and internship (5th to 6th years). Complementing the university’s exceptional curriculum is its wide array of facilities. These include amphitheater classrooms, research laboratories, and extensive libraries.

Clinical rotations are completed in the university hospital, as well as primary and secondary care centers throughout the region. Guiding the students through every step of the way are the school’s professors, all of which are distinguished physicians in their fields.

3. Federal University of Minas Gerais – School of Medicine

The UFMG School of Medicine is one of the oldest and largest medical school in Brazil. Established in 1911, the Belo Horizonte-based institution produces about 320 medical graduates every year.

The school’s Medical program follows its primary aim of molding doctors who excel in the different fields of medicine and surgery.

The curriculum is divided into 4 phases. The basic studies, which last from the 1st to 4th semesters, are held at the Pampulha campus. The Propedeutic (5th to 6th semesters) and out-patient ambulatoria (7th to 9th semesters), on the other hand, are held in outpatient clinics.

As for the internships, which cover the last 3 semesters, students are supervised by qualified doctors in their duties. Immersions are usually done at the Hospital das Clínicas (HC) and the Hospital Universitário Risoleta Tolentino Neves. These exclude the 3 months devoted to a rural internship in the countryside.

4. The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – Faculty of Medical Sciences

The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, also known as UFRGS, is a public institution based in Porto Alegre. It traces its roots back to 1895, though it was only officially established in 1934.

As one of Brazil’s top-rated universities, it serves as home to one of the country’s best medical schools. Its world-renowned Faculty of Medical Sciences is the third oldest in the country, having been founded in 1898.

Previously housed in a quaint building in Sarmento Leite Street, the UFRGS Faculty of Medical Sciences is currently located in the Clinical Hospital. The school offers 2 undergraduate courses, namely Nutrition and Medicine.

Its medical course helps create physicians who can efficiently serve all ages and races. Apart from developing the students’ competencies, the course also aims to mold ethical doctors who excel in professional relations with their clients.

5. The Federal University of Santa Catarina – School of Health Sciences

Located in Southern Brazil, UFSC is heralded as one of the leading universities in Brazil. Established in 1960, this relatively young institution is ranked as the 10th best university in Latin America.

The Medicine program is housed under the School of Health Sciences. Its curriculum focuses on student-centered learning, where the professor takes the role of mediator in the educational process.

At this medical school in Brazil, the first four years of the course introduces the student to the Brazilian Unified Health System, with emphasis on the basics of clinical practice. Rotations are held at the Florianopolis Municipal Health Department system, as well as other primary health care institutions.

The last two years are devoted to internships, which cover the departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Family Health. These are usually done in four state hospitals, namely Joana de Gusmão Infant Hospital, Carmela Dutra Maternity, Celso Ramos Hospital, and Nereu Ramos Hospital.

6. State University of Campinas School of Medical Sciences

Based in Sao Paulo, the School of Medical Sciences is Unicamp’s flagship department for the health sciences. It started as the Facultad de Medicine de Campinas in 1958, before it was incorporated in the university system in 1962.

The School of Medical Sciences offers undergraduate courses in nursing, pharmacy, speech therapy, and of course, Medicine.

The medical degree’s main objective is to develop physicians who can provide comprehensive care not only to individuals but to the community as well. It also aims to create doctors who apply ethicals as they weigh the cost/benefit ratio of treatments and procedures.

Subjects include public health, anesthesiology, trauma surgery, pharmacology, bioethics, epidemiology, forensic medicine, and collective health, to name a few.

Clinical rotations are held at the Sumare Hospital, Clinics Hospital, and the Center for Women Integral Health Care, among many other institutions.

7. Universidade Federal de Pelotas Faculty of Medicine

The Federal University of Pelotas, established in 1969, is a public educational institution based in Rio Grande do Sul. It is composed of 4 campuses, namely Campus Capão do Leão, Campus Ciências da Saúde, Campus Ciências Sociais, and Campus Porto.

UFPel offers 94 undergraduate courses, 45 master’s degrees, and 23 doctoral programs. These are divided amongst the university’s 22 academic units.

One of the university’s most prominent departments is the Faculty of Medicine, which administers the competitive Bachelor of Science in Medicine program.

To date, UFPel is considered by US News as one of the best clinical medicine schools in Brazil. The university is highly ranked in terms of regional research reputation and international collaboration, among many other indicators.

8. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Faculty of Medicine

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is the largest federal medical school in Brazil. It is also one of the oldest, with its beginnings tracing back to the Royal Academy (established in 1792). Its Faculty of Medicine is one of the oldest departments in the university, having been founded in 1808.

The basic cycle curriculum is administered by the Institutes of Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, and Biology. The internship phase of the professional cycle, on the other hand, is held in the Institute of Gynecology, Collective Health Studies Center, Institute of Chest Diseases, Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Institute of Childcare and Pediatrics Martagão Gesteira, Institute of Psychiatry, and Maternity School, to name a few.

9. Pontificia Universidade Catolica Do Rio Grande Do Sul School of Medicine

PUCRS is a private Catholic university founded by the Marist Brothers. Established in 1948, it currently has 2 campuses in Viamao and Porto Alegre. Considered as the best private university in Brazil, it houses 22 academic units, one of which is the School of Medicine.

Founded in 1969, the department offers a comprehensive 6-year Medicine program. Its first and second years cover the introduction to medical practice, while the third year deals with pathology and academic research.

Towards the end of the degree, students are exposed to the clinical activities of medicine, surgery, women’s health, and pediatrics. These rotations are usually done at the Vila Fatima University Extension Center and the PUCRS Sao Lucas Hospital.

10. Rio de Janeiro State University Faculty of Medical Sciences

The Rio de Janeiro State University, also known as UERJ, is one of the best universities in Brazil. One of its widely-known departments is the Faculty of Medical Sciences, which is hailed as one of the top medical schools in Brazil.

Established in 1935, its Medical program is comprised of 3 cycles. First is the Basic Cycle, a 3-semester period that covers the fundamental medical sciences. This is followed by the Clinical Cycle, where students are taught advanced medical courses. The degree culminates with the Internship program, which includes exposure to Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mental Health, and Emergency Medicine cases, to name a few.


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