Brazilian Education System
Education is compulsory in Brazil between ages 6 and 14, and is free of charge at state schools.
Education is divided into three levels, with grades in each level:
- Pre-school education (educação infantil) is found in public institutions and private institutions.
- Basic education (ensino básico) is found in public institutions and private institutions, and mandatory for those between the ages of 6 and 17. It consists of Elementary school (ensino fundamental) and High school (ensino médio)
- Higher education (ensino superior) (including graduate degrees) is found in public institutions and private institutions.
Unlike the European system, Brazil does not have a strict distinction between primary and secondary education. Education is compulsory for nine years; this phase is called Fundamental Education (Ensino Fundamental) and are divided into two levels:
- Ensino Fundamental I.
- Ensino Fundamental II.
During the Ensino Fundamental I, children study mathematics, Portuguese, science, arts, history, geography and physical education. During Ensino Fundamental II, pupils also study at least one other compulsory language.
Upper secondary education (Ensino Médio) is for young people aged 15 to 18. On top of the core curriculum subjects studied during Ensino Fundamental, students will also study philosophy and sociology.
Admission to higher education
A High school diploma (Ensino Médio) is a prerequisite for entering higher education (i.e. a bachelor program), as is a competitive vestibular entrance examination.
Higher Education system
Higher education in Brazil is organised into universidades, universidades especializadas, centros universitários, centros universitários especializados, faculdades, faculdades integradas, institutos superiores, escolas superiores, and centros de educaçao tecnológica.
Students at Brazilian universities can choose from three types of courses:
- Bachelor’s degrees, which qualify participants to become professionals such as lawyers or architects.
- Licentiate degrees, which allow students to become teachers.
- Technology degrees, which provide specialized knowledge in a professional field.
Bachelor/ Bacharel. / Graduação
Graduação programs take 4 to 6 years to complete and result in a Bacharel degree. The university teacher-training program usually has a nominal duration of 4 years. After completion of the program, students are awarded the Licenciado degree (Licenciatura).
The Mestrado program has a duration of 18 to 24 month and leads to a Mestre degree. The entrance requirement for this program is a Bacharel/Licenciado, an entrance examination (which can include a written test and an interview) and a small proposal of the student’s research project. Knowledge of English, and in some cases of Spanish and French, is also tested.
PhD / Doutorado
A Mestre degree grants admission to the PhD-phase, the doutorado. The doutorado usually takes 4 years following a mestrado. The program consists of 1 year of classes, followed by 3 years of research that results in a dissertation (dissertaçao/tese). After completion of the program, a Doutor diploma is awarded.