Glossary of Institution Types

The present Brazilian higher education system comprises public, community and private institutions of each of the following types:

  • Universities
  • Institutes
  • University Centers
  • Colleges and Integrated Schools
  • Centers of Technological Education

Community Universities correspond to a unique set of institutions, most of them religious oriented, which are generally as well ranked as the public Universities in the national assessments.[1] The classification of institutions of higher education depends on features connected to scope and model of every institution. Current guidelines for the national education system follow guidelines for the national education system summarized in a federal law (Law n. 9.394 of December 20, 1996).

Higher education is divided in two different levels: undergraduate and graduate programs. At the undergraduate level, the programs are subdivided into three main categories: Bachelor of Arts, Licentiate, and Bachelor of Technology degrees. At the graduate level, they are subdivided into lato sensu (specialization) and stricto sensu (MSc and PhD degrees).

The presence of education in Business and Management is very recent in the country. The origin is related to an initiative to train public officers in accounting and public affairs during Getulio Vargas government at the end of World War II. The first Business Schools were:

  • The Brazilian School of Public – Administration – EBAPE in Rio de Janeiro created in 1944 under technical assistance of the United Nations.
  • In São Paulo, the pioneer Schools were EAESP, in 1954, connected to the Getulio Vargas Foundation, and in 1941 a School with a Jesuit influence – ESAN (Escola Superior de Administração de Negócios), part of FEI (Fundação Educacional Inaciana Padre Sabóia de Medeiros).
  • Another institution of much relevance to the development of the teaching of Administration has been the University of São Paulo (USP), which emerged from the articulation of politicians, intellectuals and journalists.[2]

Undergraduate degrees in Brazil enable professional work. Credentials from professional associations as the Federal Council of Administrators and the Federal Council of Accounting can be requested with an undergraduate degree. For this sake, education in the undergraduate level in Business, Management and Accounting is usually very focused on preparing students to immediately getting a job. Only very few students go to full-time Graduate Programs. In 2012, the CAPES survey identified 203,717 enrolled in Graduate Programs,[3] which means 2.81 percent of the total enrolments in high-level education in the country in 2012.[4] The offer of Professional Master in Brazil (Mestrado Profissional) was estimated as 35 percent of the total number of stricto sensu Graduate Programs in Business, Management and Accounting in the country,[5] besides 65 percent of Master in Science and Doctor/PhD Programs. Indeed, it was 2009 when a federal government policy through the Minister of Education and CAPES began to incentivize Universities and Schools to enlarge their offer of Professional Master Programs as one of the public policies oriented to leverage the talent pool in the country.[6]

Nevertheless, Universities, independent Schools and Institutes have been offering several choices of non-degree MBA Programs (lato sensu), Executive Education, In-Company Programs, Complementary Certificates, and other kinds of professional education. Some of them are very well recognized in the employment market and support the growing need of highly educated people. The diversity of professional education in Brazil has not been fully analyzed by international MBA rankings. In these rankings, Brazil usually has been left behind. However, national rankings have been comparing reputation of the miscellaneous pool of professional education existing in the country.[7]

[1] More information about Community Universities is available at

[2] Sources:; Bertero, Carlos Osmar. Ensino e Pesquisa em Administração. São Paulo, Thompson, 2004.

[4] This estimation considers CAPES and INEP surveys of 2012 to estimate total enrollment in Graduate and Undergraduate education.

[5] CAPES (2012). Distribuição de Programas de Pós-graduação no Brasil por Estado | Filtro Ano: 2012 Amostra: Todos. In

[7]  One of the outlets which has been publishing regularly analysis of reputation of high education programs is Guia Abril. In