University of São Paulo - Brazil

Credit Transfer Guidelines & Grade Equivalency

There is currently no standardized approach to the transfer of credits across higher education institutions in Brazil. Federal regulations introduced by the National Council of Education set a standard minimum of study time required at the undergraduate level for both bachelor’s degrees and teacher education programmes completion, whereas at the postgraduate level it is set by the single departments responsible for the programmes duly accredited by the relevant national authorities.

The minimum requirements in terms of total coursework and contact hours are set to single subjects or groups of subjects that share commonalities. This reflects directly the considerable variation across programmes and may cause students that seek the very same degrees, which are however offered on different campuses, to need to accomplish different amounts of coursework and contact hours.

When estimating the number of credits or the like to be awarded by the sending institution, the student and/or institutional coordinator must take into account the length of the programme, expected learning outcomes and the average number of credits that students are expected to accumulate per semester, which varies considerably across programmes and may also vary within single programmes, as is the case of the very same programmes offered on different campuses. As USP operates on a decentralized basis, schools offering the programmes/majors of interest should be taken as reference points when estimating the recommended credit loads per semester, since students are allowed to choose courses offered by multiple schools, provided that they are located in the same neighborhood (campus/city).

Under normal circumstances, students are not allowed to enroll in courses whose total amount of credits equals less than 12 or more than 40 hours a week, be they related to semester hour or coursework credits. The length of a semester may also vary across subjects, but typically consists of fifteen weeks (N.B.: there are a number of courses offered at some schools on a shorter-term basis within a single semester, especially within the fields of life sciences and medicine). Some schools require students to register for a minimum of courses/credits per semester, usually twelve. Depending on the programme, students normally accumulate from 16 to 24 credits per semester. Specific questions related to single credit-awarding schemes should be addressed to the local international offices operating at the faculty level. Please notice that as the awarding of credits varies considerably across programmes/schools, exchange coordinators/study abroad advisors may not be able to transfer the credits systematically if the student wishes to attend courses pertaining to different subjects, which is very common.

See also Credit SystemGrading System and Structure of degree programmes.