Top universities in Brazil and the world


British company Quacquarelli Symonds analyzes six indicators to prepare the ranking annually Adriano Lyme

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Have you always been curious to know which are the best universities in Brazil and the world? In this text, if your answer were yes, we would talk about QS World University Rankings, a list of the best higher education institutions in the world prepared by the British company Quacquarelli Symonds. 

A few years ago, the QS ranking became a reference in evaluating universities around the world. The classification of institutions is calculated using six indicators:

  1. academic reputation;
  2. reputation in the job market;
  3. relationship between the number of students and teachers in exclusive dedication;
  4. the volume of published academic papers;
  5. number of foreign teachers;
  6. several international students.

Each indicator weights the university’s final score. The most important indicator (40%) is the university’s reputation, measured using a global survey in which students indicate the institutions that are a reference in the area they study. About 80,000 students from around the world are interviewed.

What are the best universities in the world?

1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – USA

2) Stanford University – USA

3) Harvard University – USA

4) California Institute of Technology (Caltech) – USA

5) University of Oxford – United Kingdom

6) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ( ETH Zurich) – Switzerland

7) University of Cambridge – United Kingdom

8) Imperial College London – United Kingdom

9) University of Chicago – USA

10) University College London (UCL) – United Kingdom

In all, 4,500 higher education institutions in the world were listed in the 2021 Ranking of the World’s Best Universities. The first place went to the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, in the United States. MIT was founded in 1861, and its researchers have already won 15 Nobel Prizes, considering Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine.

Among the top ten universities in the world, five are from the United States. In addition to MIT, Stanford University (2nd), Harvard University (3rd), the California Institute of Technology (4th), and the University of Chicago (9th) appear on the list. The United Kingdom has four institutions in the top ten and Switzerland one.

Don’t stop now … There’s more after the publicity;)

What are the best universities in Brazil?

1) University of São Paulo (USP)

2) State University of Campinas (Unicamp)

3) Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

4) Federal University of São Paulo ( Unifesp )

5) Paulista State University ( Unesp )

6) Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro ( PUC-Rio )

7) Federal University of Minas Gerais ( UFMG )

8) Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul ( UFRGS )

9) Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo ( PUC-SP )

10) University of Brasilia ( UnB )

Other Brazilian universities mentioned in the ranking (in order of classification): UFSC, UFSCar, UFPR, UFPE, PUCRS, UERJ, UEL, UFBA, UFSM, UFV, UFC, UFF.

Unfortunately, no Brazilian institution is in the top 100. The University of São Paulo ( USP ) appears in position 115 and is the third-best in Latin America, behind the University of Buenos Aires (66th) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (100th). In previous years, USP became the best in Latin America, but it fell in position with the crisis in Brazil and the lack of resources.

The State University of Campinas ( Unicamp ) is the second-best Brazilian, at position 233, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro ( UFRJ ) the third, at 380th place.

Brazil and Mexico have 22 institutions in the world ranking and are the countries with the most universities ranking in Latin America. In previous editions, Brazil led with ease. Argentina is right behind, with 21, and Chile has 16 universities.

The experience abroad is always an aggregator for the professional path, which is no different in  ​​medicine. The contact with another culture and with a different teaching and career reality provides unique and distinct learning, which expands the personal and professional vision and complements the curriculum.

For Brazilians, taking the undergraduate course in medicine abroad implies subsequently validating the diploma in the country through Revalida. So, to avoid this obstacle and at the same time take advantage of the opportunities that the international environment offers, what many recently graduated professionals are doing is to seek specialization abroad.

Top Medical Universities

In 2016, the British consultancy QS released a ranking with the best universities to study according to the area of ​​expertise. For medicine, among the top ten placed, six are in the United States. The list went like this: 1st Harvard University, 2nd University of Oxford, 3rd University of Cambridge, 4th Stanford University, 5th Johns Hopkins University, 6th University of California – Los Angeles UCLA, 7th University of California – San Francisco, 8th Yale University, 9th University College London and 10th Karolinska Institutet.

In Latin America, among the ten best medical universities, four are in Brazil and the others in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. The QS survey recognized the institutions for their service, publications, patent applications, adequate facilities, and excellent teaching.

Best countries to specialize

When considering doing a specialization outside of Brazil, it is clear that it is important to observe aspects directly related to your professional interest, such as the concept of the University and the course, the infrastructure, the ease of obtaining vacancies, and the number of publications of the institution. However, other aspects more indirectly linked to training are as important as the previous ones, such as the countries that invest the most in this area, knowledge of the language, the cost of living, and the amount paid to residents.

In this sense, Germany has been an attractive destination for newly graduated doctors seeking specialization, especially from other European Union countries. Due to the aging population and low birth rate, the country needs health professionals, and there is a lot of vacancy in the most diverse areas. In addition, it invests in technology, offers a good health system and the resident’s salary is above 4 thousand euros. To compete, it is necessary to validate the diploma – and the information is available on the Federal Ministry of Education and Research page.

One of the countries most sought after by Brazilians has been the United States, where the best universities are located. The diploma revalidation process – necessary to enter a specialization – is quite popular. In addition to document analysis and English proficiency, the physician must pass three tests (known as 3 Steps), which every American medical student performs during training. The detail is that in the United States, the medical course is already a postgraduate course. The student needs to be trained in any area that contemplates some required disciplines and applies to the Medical Schools.

In Canada, a country that has an excellent immigration policy due to the deficiency of professionals in almost all areas, the Brazilian doctor needs to validate his diploma, and one of the best ways to enter a specialization is through clinical Fellowship or research programs (the clinic offers remuneration and authorizes medical care while research does not).

Despite the ease with the language, Portugal offers few vacancies for recent medical graduates, and the Portuguese themselves have been looking for specializations in other countries. On the other hand, neighboring Spain is a country with a language close to Portuguese and with a cost of living that is among the smallest in the European bloc.

However, to apply for postgraduate or residency positions, it is necessary to prove advanced knowledge in Spanish and certify the diploma – which is basically a bureaucratic process. Depending on the equivalences obtained with the undergraduate course, you may or may not be asked to do complementary training.

But to be a good healthcare professional, it is not only in medicine that you need to go deeper. If you are thinking of opening your own practice or increasing your results and the number of patients, you also need to understand management and medical marketing!

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