Brazil – one of the biggest nations in South America – is largely known for the Christ the Redeemer statue and the Ipanema beach. While it is more of a famous tourist destination, it has now become a prime spot for international students. After all, it plays home to affordable yet outstanding universities. In this article, we will be looking at 3 cheap and 7 free universities in Brazil for international students.
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How much does it cost to study in Brazil?
Fees depend on the school where you would study. Public universities are free for international students, while the tuition for private universities ranges from $1,800 to $10,000 (BRL 9,954 to BRL 55,300).
What are the requirements to study in Brazilian Universities?
Those who wish to take undergraduate degrees need to submit a Certificate of Secondary Education, alongside the results of the Vestibular or ENEM (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio) exams.
Aspiring Masters students, on the other hand, need to have completed at least 3 years of undergrad studies to be admitted to graduate school.
Should you decide to do your Ph.D. studies in Brazil, you will need to have finished a Master’s degree that is considered ‘strictu sensu’.
Free and Cheap Universities in Brazil
1. Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
The University of São Paulo is located at the heart of Brazil’s richest state. Although it was only founded in 1934, it traces its roots back to the São Paulo Law School, which was established in 1827.
USP is recognized as the largest university in Brazil. It’s also the most prestigious one, not only in the country, but in the entire Latin American region. As such, USP is recognized as one of the finest higher education institutions in the entire world.
The university offers a total of 247 undergraduate degrees and 239 post-graduate programs. It has five hospitals, as well as 24 museums.
To date, USP has four campuses in the city and 7 more in nearby municipalities.
With funding from the government, USP is one of the many free public universities in Brazil for both local and international students.
2. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)
Known to many as Unicamp, the University of Campinas is a highly-regarded public university in Brazil. As such, it is a free university in Brazil for both Brazilians and international students.
Although it was only established in 1962, Unicamp has become one of the best institutions in the country. It is considered one of the finest ‘young’ universities, and as of the moment is the second-ranked school in Brazil.
Unicamp’s 350-acre main campus is situated in Barão Geraldo. With its immense size, it has become the spacious home of 10 institutes and 14 schools.
Unicamp also has a campus in Limeira that offers courses in Engineering, Technology, and Applied Sciences. The School of Odontology, on the other hand, can be found in the Piracicaba site.
Through its various campuses, the university offers a total of 70 undergraduate degrees and 153 post-graduate programs.
3. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
Also known as the Federal University of Minas Gerais, UFMG is the largest federal educational institution in the country. It is situated in the city of Belo Horizonte, which is the sixth-largest metropolis in Brazil. While most courses are taught on the main campus, there are some offerings in the smaller campuses of Montes Claros and Tiradentes.
UFMG offers a total of 75 undergraduate degrees, 66 Masters programs, and 57 Ph.D. programs. Like all the other public universities in Brazil, UFMG is tuition-free for both local and foreign students.
With its high research output, UFMG has been recognized as the third-best university in Brazil. Best known for its arts and humanities courses, UFMG is ranked the eighth-best institution in all of Latin America.
4. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul is a public educational institution based in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its roots trace back to the Escola de Farmácia e Química, which was established in 1895. It eventually became the Universidade de Porto Alegre in 1934, before it was federalized in 1950.
As the largest university in Rio Grande do Sul, UFRGS is home to 29 schools, faculties, and institutes. These are dispersed in different locations, including the Downtown Campus, the Health Sciences Campus, the Olympic Campus, and the Vale Campus.
UFGRS is considered the fourth-best university in Brazil, and the eleventh-best institution in Latin America. It is largely known for its clinical and health degree offerings.
As with most public universities in Brazil, UFRGS offers free tuition to admitted foreign students.
5. Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
The Federal University of Santa Catarina is a public institution based in Florianopolis, which is south of Brazil. To date, it is considered the fifth-best university in the country, and the 12th best in the Latin American region.
UFSC’s forerunner is the Polytechnic Institute of Florianópolis, which was established in 1917. It eventually became the first state university in 1960, before it was federalized in 1968.
To date, UFSC offers 119 undergraduate, 82 Masters, and 55 Doctorate programs. It is well-known for its health and medical degrees, as well as arts and humanities courses.
UFSC offers free tuition to local and international students, with the latter comprising 2% of the total population. The competition is fierce though, as the university only has an acceptance rate of 15%.
6. Universidade de Brasília (UnB)
The University of Brasilia is a top federal educational institution located in the capital. Established in 1962, it is ranked 8th out of all universities in the country. As for the Latin American region, it is at number 15.
UnB offers 61 undergraduate, 49 masters, and 27 doctorate degrees. With its free tuition, it has become widely popular for its law, political science, economics, mathematics, and anthropology studies. Expectedly, admission is competitive, with the school accepting 2,000 out of 25,000 applicants every year.
With its high quality of education, UnB has produced many notable alumni. The list includes Central Bank of Brazil President Alexandre Tombini, Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, and former President Fernando Collor de Mello, to name a few.
7. São Paulo State University (UNESP)
Known to locals as the Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP is one of six public universities in São Paulo and is one of the free universities in Brazil. Established in 1976, UNESP was inspired by the University of California system.
As one of the country’s best institutions for higher education, it has the distinction of being the only member of the Compostela Group of Universities.
To date, it has a total of 23 campuses, which plays home to more than 47,000 students. These learners are engrossed in the many offerings of the university, which cover 171 undergraduate and 62 post-graduate degrees.
To invite more foreign students (apart from the 2% who are currently enrolled), the university has started an International Courses program. These cover the fields of Dentistry, Linguistics, and Literature, to name a few.
8. University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR)
Located in the northeastern region of Brazil, UNIFOR is one of the best private universities in the country. It’s also one of the country’s finest, especially when it comes to science and education.
UNIFOR has a 72-acre campus, which is situated in one of the loveliest coastal cities in the country. Here, students get to immerse themselves in one of the state’s largest libraries, which is home to more than 250,000 titles. UNIFOR also has a beautiful cultural space, which features the works of Rembrandt and Rubens.
The university is a good choice for international students, as it offers courses in both Portuguese and English. Although they have to pay for tuition, UNIFOR undoubtedly is one of the cheapest universities in Brazil.
9. The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)
The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul or PUCRS is one of the best private universities in Southern Brazil. Established in 1948, it is the first university founded by the Marist brothers.
Within its 22 faculties, the PUCRS offers 55 undergraduate, 23 masters, and 19 doctorate degrees. Some of its 5-star courses include Biology, Computer Science, Dentistry, Psychology, and Education.
PUCRS is based in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its vast campus plays home to 200 laboratories, a university hospital, several museums, and a convention center.
10. Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)
We end our list of cheap universities in Brazil with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro or PUC-Rio, which is considered the best private university in Brazil. It is ranked 4th in Latin America, and as such is a famous destination for international students. Because of this, foreigners now comprise 5% of the total student population.
While PUC-Rio is not as affordable as other schools, it offers high-quality education to select students. In fact, the university is well-known in the fields of law, computer science, engineering, psychology, and business. It also hosts exchange programs in coordination with Harvard University, Brown University, and the University of Notre Dame, to name a few.