Universities and Higher Education Equivalence in Brazil

There is no unified academic credit system in Brazil. The regulating bodies of the Ministry of Education and associated legislation counts the hours of instruction. A full-time year of higher education usually takes between 800 and 1,200 contact hours in Brazil, which would be equivalent to 50-80 US credits.

There is no formal treaty between the Brazilian Ministry of Education and the European Union's Bologna process. The following are rough comparisons:

the European First Cycle would correspond to the Brazilian undergraduate degrees of bacharelado, licenciatura, and tecnologia. The Brazilian "Bachelor's degree" takes 3 to 6 years to complete, which usually includes a written monograph or a final project; a European "Bachelor's degree" can be completed in 3 years, after which many enroll in a 1 or 2-year-long "Master's degree" in the Bologna process. When comparing the former European national systems to the Brazilian system, the Brazilian "Bachelor's degree" would be equivalent to the old German Diploma, the Italian Laurea, or the French "Magistère", "Mastère" or "Diplôme des Grandes Ecoles".

the Second Cycle in the Bologna process would correspond to the Brazilian master's degree, which usually takes 1 to 2 years to complete and a "lato sensu postgraduate" degree, which requires the minimum of 360 hours of instruction.

the Third Cycle in the Bologna process would be equivalent to the Brazilian Doctoral degree.

A Brazilian bachelor's degrees could be compared to a four-year Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in the United States. Brazilian and U.S. Master's and Doctoral degrees are roughly equivalent. Technology degrees of 3 year of length could be also compared to undergraduate technology courses or with 3 year bachelor's degree, depending of the field of study. Technologist degrees allows the undergraduate to pursue Master's and Doctoral courses.