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Top 10 Universities in Brazil 2015

By Laura T

Updated September 30, 2016 Updated September 30, 2016

**Click here to discover the top 10 universities in Brazil in 2016.

Brazil is home to many of the most competitive universities in Latin America, and also within the developing world – as shown by the country’s strong presence in the recently released QS University Rankings: BRICS 2015.

Covering the top universities in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the QS University Rankings: BRICS was developed to highlight and track the performance of universities in these five major developing economies. Read on for an overview of the top 10 universities in Brazil based on the latest QS rankings releases.

1.  Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Universidade de Sao Paulo, USP, Brazil
Well established as one of the most prestigious public universities in Brazil, the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) is this year ranked 1st in the Latin American rankings, 9th in the BRICS ranking and 132nd in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15. With a large community of around 90,000 students, the Universidade de São Paulo is located in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, across a number of campuses. It lays claim to being the alma mater of 12 Brazilian presidents.

This year, the Universidade de São Paulo is ranked internationally in an impressive 35 out of 36 subjects covered by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015. Of these subjects, USP ranks among the world’s top 50 universities for agriculture & forestryarchitectureart & designcivil & structural engineeringdentistrypharmacy & pharmacologyphilosophy and veterinary science.

2.  Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

This year the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) comes 2nd in Latin America, 12th in the BRICS countries and 206th in the world. Again located in São Paulo, Unicamp was established as recently as 1966, making it one of the world’s top young universities – ranked 15th in the latest QS Top 50 Under 50. Approximately 37,000 students are currently enrolled at Unicamp, half of which are postgraduates.

Unicamp is ranked among the top 50 universities worldwide for agriculture & forestry, dentistry and electrical & electronic engineering, and is also featured in the global top 200 in a further 20 subjects.

3.  Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

The Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) is this year ranked 5th in the Latin American rankings, 25th in the BRICS ranking and 271st in the world rankings. Situated in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest metropolis, the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro has an enrollment of over 56,000 students and owns 43 libraries, several museums, nine hospitals, many laboratories and a number of leading research facilities.

Ranked in a total of 24 subjects in this year’s subject rankings, the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro ranks highest for development studies (41st in the world) and is also among the world’s top 100 schools for architecture, history & archaeology, pharmacy & pharmacology, and sociology.

4.  Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP)

Also known as São Paulo State University or UNESP, the Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” is ranked 8th in Latin America this year, 27th in the BRICS rankings and 421-430 in the world rankings. One of six public universities in Brazil located in São Paulo, UNESP has a current enrollment of over 50,000 students across 23 campuses, offering 30 libraries, one university hospital, three veterinary hospitals and several clinics for dentistry, psychology, physical therapy, and speech and hearing therapy.

The Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” is internationally ranked in 11 subjects this year, faring best for dentistry and veterinary science (among the top 50 schools worldwide), followed by agriculture & forestry (top 100).

5.  Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)

Another of the many leading Brazilian universities located in São Paulo state, the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP) is currently placed 30th in Latin America, 37th in the BRICS countries and 421-430 in the world. Although UNIFESP was originally focused on health sciences, the school is now multidisciplinary thanks to government reforms of Brazilian universities. UNIFESP’s 18,000 students are located across six campuses throughout São Paulo state.

Of of the three subjects UNIFESP is globally ranked for, it performs best for pharmacy & pharmacology (in the top 100 schools worldwide).

6.  Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Among the five largest universities in Brazil, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais is ranked 11th in Latin America, 41st in the BRICS ranking and 451-460 in the world. A multidisciplinary public university offering a wide range of programs at all levels, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais is located to the north of the city of Belo Horizonte in the Pampulha neighborhood across a campus of 2,000 acres. The school currently has an enrollment of over 45,000 students.

The Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais is globally ranked for 18 subjects, performing best (top 100) for pharmacy & pharmacology.

7.  Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS)

A leading producer of scientific publications and home to a student body of over 30,000, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS) is ranked 12th in Latin America, 42nd in the BRICS ranking and 471-480 in the world rankings. While predominantly situated in the vibrant city of Porto Alegre, some departments of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul are found further afield, including the business school and art institute.

Globally ranked in an impressive 17 subjects this year, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul performs best (in the top 100 schools worldwide) for pharmacy & pharmacology and philosophy.

8=.  Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP)

A private non-profit Catholic university, the Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, or PUC-SP for short, is ranked 31st in the Latin American ranking,joint 47th in the BRICS ranking and 551-600 in the world rankings this year. Specializing in the social sciences, offering law, economics, education and communication programs among others, PUC-SP is well-recognized for its research in the areas of society, politics and human psychology. Located to the west of São Paulo city in the neighborhood of Perdizes, PUC-SP has a current enrollment of more than 20,000.

Although only ranked globally in two subjects this year, PUC-SP is one of just three top universities in Brazil ranked for art & design (in the top 100 worldwide), as well as being ranked for modern languages.

8=.  Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)

The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (or PUC-Rio) is at a level pegging with PUC-SP in the BRICS ranking, sharing 47th position. It’s also ranked 14th in Latin America and 501-550 in the world rankings. Located south of Rio de Janeiro city in Gávea, PUC-Rio sits beside Tijuca national forest and boasts riverside and tree-covered mountain views. It caters to more than 18,000 students, including 8,000 postgraduates.

This year PUC-Rio is internationally ranked in 10 subjects, including a place in the top 200 for computer science, economics & econometrics, linguistics, philosophy and politics.

10.  Universidade de Brasília

Of the top 10 universities in Brazil, the Universidade de Brasília is the only one located in the nation’s capital city, Brasília. Ranked 10th in Latin America, 53= in the BRICS ranking and 551-600 in the world rankings, the Universidade de Brasília has improved its international standing significantly over the past few years. Established in 1962 and hosting nearly 40,000 students, 10,000 of which are postgraduates, the Universidade de Brasília offers a wide range of programs including a number of flexible distance learning, evening and specialist programs.

Ranked by QS in seven subjects this year, the Universidade de Brasília currently features among the world’s top 200 schools for agriculture & forestry, politics and sociology.

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This article was originally published in July 2015 . It was last updated in September 2016

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Written by

Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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