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Types of Degrees at Higher Education in Brazil

Some of the best universities in Latin America are based in Brazil, a country that has over 2,600 higher education institutions... 

Higher education in Brazil is divided in two levels: 
  • Undergraduate (graduacao) 
  • Graduate (pos-graduacao). 

Undergraduate (graduacao)

 In Brazil, the undergraduate degrees are referred to as "graduate" degrees. The undergraduate in Brazil consists of-
  1. Bachelor degree (Bacharelado): The bachelor’s degree lasts for 4-6 years and is offered in arts, social sciences, humanities and science disciplines. Students must hold a Certificate of Secondary education in order to gain admission to a bachelor degree programme. 
  2. Licentiate (licenciatura): Lasts for 3 to 5 years. It includes subjects related to education and teaching. Students interested in becoming a teacher can go for a licentiate degree. With the completion of this degree program, you are qualified to be a primary or secondary school teacher and teach any subject.
  3. Technology (tecnologia): Lasts for 2 to 3 years and offers a specialized technical training and education, thereby preparing students for the labor market. This degree focuses on providing highly specialized knowledge and skills. Courses in tourism management, agribusiness, technical degree, information technology etc. are offered. 

Undergraduate Credentials

  • The Certificate of degree of supplementary studies (Certificado de Curso Superior de Complementacao de Estudos)  of one year and Higher Diploma Course Specific Training (Diploma de Curso Superior de Formacao Especifica) of minimum two years are lower level sub-degree programmes that are intended specifically for the job marketplace
  • Diploma Tecnologo of 2 or 3 years. 
  • Bachelor Degree (Bacharel) of 4 years in the arts, social sciences, humanities, mathematical sciences and natural sciences
  • Bachelor Degree (Bacharel) of 5 years in architecture, dental medicine, engineering, pharmacy,law, veterinary medicine and other professional areas
  • Bachelor Degree (Bacharel) of 6 years in medicine
  • Licenciatura/Licenciado of 3-5 years: This degree programme is like the bachelor degree. Along with the bachelor course, training related to education is also given, thereby qualifying the degree holder to teach at primary and secondary school levels. The core curriculum of the programme is same with the bachelor degree, and the selection for the licentiateship is made at the conclusion of the course of study.
  • Professional Title (Titulo Profissional) of 5 or 6 years is awarded in state regulated professions, such as architecture, psychology, engineering, law, veterinary medicine, and medicine.

Graduate (pos-graduacao)

In Brazil, the graduate degrees are called as "postgraduate" degrees (pos-graduacao). Postgraduate degree courses are categorized as: stricto sensu (strict sense) or lato sensu (wide sense).

Stricto Sensu (Strict Sense) Qualifications

Stricto sensu qualification encompasses the Mestrado (Masters), Mestrado Profissional (Professional Masters) and the Doutorado (Doctorate). 
  1. Master Degree: The master degree is of 1-2 years and comprises of minimum 30 credit hours. Students are required to complete a certain minimum number of classes and submit a master’s thesis along with the oral defense of the same at the end of the program in order to receive the degree. The course of study emphasizes on theory and research and knowledge of a foreign language is required.
  2. Professional Masters: This degree programme focuses on the requirements of professionals and aims to further expand their professional skills and knowledge, mainly in technology discipline. 
  3. Doctorate Degree: This degree lasts for 3-4 years of full time study following the Master’s degree programme (Mestrado). In this degree programme, pupils are required to complete further advanced graduate coursework, pass a doctoral qualifying exam, take up an original research within a subject and submit it. You also need to present an oral defense of your dissertation. Doctorate degree programmes usually comprise at least 30 credit hours and candidates are required to show their competency in two foreign languages.
  4. Post-Doctoral Research (pos-doutorado): This is a specialization or an academic stage to enhance the level of excellence in a given area. This is done after completing the doctorate if the researcher wants to further enhance their studies in a specific field.

Lato Sensu (Wide Sense) Qualifications

The Lato Sensu is also known as Specialisation courses and the courses are generally not accredited by Ministry of Education (MEC).

Wide sense courses/programmes are postgraduate courses of study that is provided in vocational or professional fields and lead to the title of Specialist (Especializacao), or alternatively a Certificate of Postgraduate 'Lato Sensu' level of Expertise/Specialization (In Portuguese: Certificado de Pos-Graduacao Lato Sensuem Nivel de Especializacao) in an applied field of study. These programmes generally last for 1 to 2 years. 
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