University of São Paulo - Brazil

Postgraduate Education – Exchange Programme for Master’s and Doctoral Students

Master’s (Mestrado) and Phd (Doutorado) students may apply directly to postgraduate programmes for a research stay under the supervision of a USP faculty member/researcher (research-only placement). Once accepted, research placement students may also register for courses. The combination of the two schemes is optional.

Postgraduate Exchange Students are not allowed to apply for course registration only (Regulation 7493/2018, art. 124, Circ. CoPGr/08/2019). Exceptions can be made for students accepted at the undergraduate level first, provided they already hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent (see ‘before you apply’ below).

Content of this page:
  1. Before you apply
  2. Language Requirements
  3. Length of stay
  4. Research-only Placement
  5. Programmes, Areas of Concentration and Research Interests
  6. Nomination and Application Deadlines
  7. How to apply
  8. After you apply
  9. Course-based Exchange
  10. Further important information
Before you apply

Some curricula designed overseas are equivalent to Brazilian ones, but others are structured in a different hence asymmetric way. The length of most bachelor’s degree programmes and teacher education programmes at USP last from 4 to 5 years, without having a combined master’s degree, which requires around two additional years of education, whereas Bologna Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, for example, require respectively 3 and 2 years for programme completion (see more at Structure of degree programmes).

Although there might be exceptions, current Master’s students that obtained a Bachelor’s degree of less than four years of duration are advised to attend courses at USP at the undergraduate level (1st cycle / Graduação) if they only intend to take courses. Students holding a Bachelor’s degree of any duration may apply to postgraduate programmes for a research stay. If accepted, they may also apply to attend courses. 

Phd students accepted for a research stay under the supervision of a USP faculty member (research-only placement) may apply for course registration later (optional).

Language Requirements

There are no specific language requirements for students who wish to perform research activities only. The activities can be carried out in the language agreed upon by the student and the supervisor who accepts her/him.

With regard to courses, most of them are taught in Portuguese only.

USP does not ask for any result from official language tests. However we strongly recommend that students nominated for exchange studies at USP have a good command of Portuguese in order to attend classes (at least B1 level according to the CEFR).

The Faculty of Education (FEUSP) accepts students with a basic knowledge of Portuguese (A1 level).

For information on the availability of study options possibly taught in English, please refer to or to the Local International Offices operating at the faculty level.

Length of stay

A postgraduate study period abroad at USP can last up to 12 months. This period may be extended to up to 12 additional months. In order for students to have access to all facilities and especially discounts on restaurants (Cafeteria/Bandejão) and public transport, their stay should last more than 3 months (from 91 days on). Students whose stay at USP lasts 3 months (90 days) or less will not be granted the same benefits. Instead, they will get proof of enrollment. Independently of the length of the exchange programme, by its end all students will receive a certificate of participation in the programme (Circ. CoPGr/08/2019).

Research-only Placement

Students applying for the postgraduate exchange programme will need to be invited by an accredited supervisor (see section on application procedures below).

Students looking for a supervisor may check the full list of accredited supervisors at (option: Orientadores > Listar orientadores por Área de Concentração. It is possible to browse the list by School/Institute and then by Postgraduate Programme/Area of Concentration). Their profiles and research interests will be found on the webpage of the relevant Schools/Faculties/Institutes. Their full academic profiles are available at the Lattes platform (Plataforma Lattes). The Lattes platform is the major scientific information system and integrated database in Brazil and is maintained by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) to manage information on science, technology, and innovation related to individual researchers working in Brazil.

Programmes, Areas of Concentration and Research Interests

When applying, students will be required to indicate a Postgraduate Programme, its relevant Area of Concentration and possibly the corresponding Research Interests. Similarly, a full list of Programmes and Areas of Concentration is available at (option: Orientadores > Listar orientadores por Área de Concentração), where it is possible to browse the Programmes and Areas of Concentration by School/Institute as well as to have an overview of the professors/supervisors who are involved in them. One or more Areas of Concentration (white rows) may be part of a Programme (blue rows). Research interests of potential supervisors are normally listed on the website of each single department and will be related to a specific Programme and its relevant Area of Concentration.

Before contacting a potential supervisor, the student should take their time to gather as much information as possible about the professor’s work before emailing them. When contacting a professor, the applicant should be precise about their own research interests and also attach a CV and a draft research proposal. Students who need help to find a supervisor may contact the relevant Local International Office operating at the faculty level.

Nomination and Application Deadlines

Nominations and applications are accepted on a rolling basis (only by email). To be eligible for an exchange place, students will need to be nominated by the Study Abroad Advisor/Exchange Coordinator of their home university. The application documents should be sent at least 3 months before the start of the mobility period, but the sooner, the better.

How to apply

Copies of the following documents must be sent by email directly to the Local International Office of the host school at USP:

  1. A Nomination Letter (or an email);
  2. Application form (download template);
  3. Proof of Enrollment in a degree-granting programme at the home university (Master’s or doctoral);
  4. CV;
  5. Diploma(s) and Transcript of Records of previous as well as current degree programmes;
  6. Passport (bio-data page);
  7. A recent colour photo (in .jpg format);
  8. Research Proposal/Work Plan that should contain: full name and further relevant details; the intended period of exchange (start and end dates of the mobility in the format dd/mm/yyyy, even if only tentative); research topic/title; and project description (aims, methodology, expected outcomes and detailed timetable indicating the timeframe for each broad stage considering literature surveys, data collection, production, modeling, review, analysis, testing, reporting etc.);
  9. An Invitation Letter from the host supervisor: a one-page letter of invitation signed by the faculty member who will serve as the host supervisor;
  10. Letter of Recommendation from Professor/Supervisor/Faculty member (or the equivalent at the home institution) for participation in the relevant exchange programme at USP.
After you apply

The applications received will then be subject to assessment on an individual and rolling basis.

Since USP operates on a strongly decentralized basis, once the application is accepted, the School/Institute itself (not the Central International Office) will send the acceptance letter directly to the address informed by the Study Abroad Advisor/Exchange Coordinator of the sending institution, who will also receive a copy of the letter by email.

Course-based exchange

Master’s (Mestrado) and Phd (Doutorado) exchange students accepted for a research stay are qualified for course registration in postgraduate programmes if prerequisites are met.

Students accepted to attend courses at USP at the undergraduate level (1st cycle/Graduação) are also eligible, provided they already hold a Bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent).

The course list is available at (option: Disciplinas Oferecidas > Listar Disciplinas Oferecidas por Área de Concentração). It is possible to browse the course catalogue by School/Institute and then by Postgraduate Programme/Area of Concentration and check the full details regarding each single module including the timetable (Turma). The course list is constantly updated and should be checked regularly, especially in the months of December/January and June/July.

In order to apply for any course, students should contact the Local International Office of the host school in order to get information on the eligibility criteria and documents necessary to apply.

Nota Bene: postgraduate courses are fully accredited for the period of five years, but are not necessarily continuously offered. Most courses are designed in close relation with research interests of professors who do not necessarily offer them every single semester and not even every other semester. If you are considering attending courses, please notice that the catalogue available at (option: Catálogo de disciplinas > Listar Disciplinas Catalogadas por Área de Concentração) may list courses that will not be offered.

Further important information