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Revalidating a foreign university degree in Brazil (Campinas)

I have always had an interest in teaching or lecturing, and I know quite a number of people here who have a minor teaching assignment at a local university in parallel to their job. Thus, I wanted to find out how I could do so as a foreigner living here. I soon found out that for the more interesting assignments at "better" institutions, a post-graduation degree is needed, like a "mestrado" (not an MBA) or a PhD. In some cases, a specialization course is also accepted as long as it is "lato-sensu". It is true that there still are many university lecturers who do not fulfill these requirements, but Brazil's government is making some effort to improve the quality of education and part of that is an increased pressure that (new) university lecturers must have a relevant post-grad degree.

I went personally to the relevant office at the USP and found out that the new European master degree (after the Bologna reform) is not accepted as a "mestrado" in Brazil, much less the older degrees like mine ("lic.oec."). They are accepted only as a bachelors degree. One exception seems to be if you have two different under-grad degrees (e.g. in business administration and psychology). In this case, you can ask that one is considered as a bachelor's degree and the other degree as a "mestrado".

To get your foreign university degree revalidated here is -surprise, surprise- a rather bureaucratic and time-consuming procedure which goes well beyond getting an official translation of your degree. In order to do so, you need to go to a public (not private) university here, like USP or UNICAMP, which offers the same degree that you have. You will have to provide all kinds of documents, most importantly a "historico escolar" with all the courses you have taken, the final grade and the total hours of each course. This document has to be signed off by the Brazilian consulate in the country where you studied. I can't go into all the details here, but if you are interested, send me a message.

Note that one requirement is also a portuguese test, the CELPE-bras, which is administered only twice a year, usually in April or October.

Note also that you can submit your revalidation request only twice a year (at least at USP): in February or August. And it takes 8 to 12 months for them to make a decision!

As a consequence, be prepared that it may take easily one or two years to get the whole thing done. This is why I suggest you do so "preemptively", especially if you are thinking about staying in Brazil for a longer period, or doing some academically relevant post-grad training or even teaching at a local university at some point in the future. For some professions, like lawyers, the revalidation of the foreign diploma is also a requirement to be admitted to the all important professional associations here, such as the OAB in case of the lawyers. To exercise certain professions, like pharmacist or even physical education teacher, you have to be a member of these associations, as far as I understand; or at least, it is very recommendable.

If you know for sure that my understanding of these issues is wrong in one point or the other, please let us all know by posting a comment. If you have general advise about getting a teaching assignment at an institution of higher education here, please let us know as well.

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