Universities and Higher Education Degrees in Brazil

Undergraduate degrees
In Brazil, these degrees are known as graduação:

Bachelor's (bacharelado): varies between 3 to 6 years to complete. Enables individuals to act as professionals in a certain area (e.g., lawyer, economist, physician).

Licentiate (licenciatura): varies between 3 to 4 years to complete. Enables individuals to act as elementary or secondary school teachers in a certain area (e.g., licensed teacher of Math, English, Biology, etc.).

Technology (tecnologia): varies between 2 to 3 years of full time studies to complete. This degree takes a shorter time period to obtain, with specific professional courses aimed at providing highly specialized knowledge (e.g., agribusiness technical degree, tourism management degree, etc.).

Degree programs in public universities are totally financed by the government. In private higher education institutions, however, the course fees and degree programs vary in price significantly. Although lower cost courses are available, fees for some degree avenues are very expensive.

Graduate degrees
In Brazil, these degrees are known as pós-graduação:
"Lato sensu postgraduate" degree: this degree represents a specialization in a certain area, and takes approximately 1 to 2 years to complete. A lato sensu degree is not a door opener for the later pursuit of a doctoral degree. If one is interested in a PhD, a strictu sensu master's degree should be taken instead. MBA programs in Brazil are classified as lato sensu programs.

"Stricto sensu postgraduate" degree: this degree enables one to pursue an academic career. In chronological order:
Master's degree (mestrado): this takes 1 to 2 years of full time studies to complete. Often, a Master's degree serves as an additional qualification for those in the job market, or for those who want to pursue a PhD. A stricto sensu master's degree in management is the equivalent of a full time MBA in North America.

Doctoral degree / PhD (doutorado): this takes 3 to 4 years to complete, and is usually used as a step-stone for an academic life.

Postdoctoral research (pós-doutorado): this is not an academic title; it usually denotes excellency in a field of knowledge acquired through supervised research after a doctorate.

Livre-docência: this is the highest academic qualification in Brazil. The livre-docência is similar to a Habilitation and the level of scholarship has to be considered higher than a PhD. The livre-docência requires the candidate to write a professional thesis, based on independent scholarship. In the state universities of São Paulo, for instance (Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, and Universidade Estadual Paulista), the livre-docência plays an important role for a career in the academia. Although, it has become rarer and almost unused outside São Paulo, as most federal universities don't require it anymore in order to apply for professor, with the exception of UNIFESP.