Universidade de São Paulo - USP International Cooperation Office

International Cooperation Office

Universidade de São Paulo


Structure of degree programmes


Undergraduate Programmes on offer at USP are available to study full time or part time. Most bachelor’s degrees and teacher education programmes are either 4-, 4½- or 5-year programmes without having a combined master’s degree. The curriculum of each programme includes compulsory courses and may include elective and optional ones.

As the approaches to teaching, learning and assessment vary considerably across subjects ( the terms subject and programme are used interchangeably) offered at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), differences between programmes in part reflect the basis on which the courses are offered, e.g. full-time and part-time, besides also affecting the amount of contact time and coursework required, since subjects with an emphasis on developing practical skills tend to involve higher amounts of contact time, whereas more theoretical subjects may require more non-contact hours, hence more independent study (see also Credit System and Credit Transfer & Grade Equivalencies).


The so-called stricto sensu postgraduate programmes – even the professional ones –  are divided into two levels: mestrado (master’s degree) and doutorado (doctoral/ PhD degree), which may differ in structure and nature from the ones offered abroad.

A dissertation is the final project for the master’s degree and a thesis leads to a doctoral degree. Postgraduate programmes are strongly research oriented and structured in such a way that students are required to attend courses and elaborate a dissertation or thesis. Both master and doctoral students may attend the very same courses without distinction of level, since there are no fixed curricula one has to strictly follow, i.e., postgraduate students choose courses according to their interests and needs under the supervision and with the consent of their advisors, who are responsible to direct their studies, supervise the writing of the papers and the like.

When it comes to degree-seeking students, the maximum allowable length for programme completion from the date of admission into the programme is four years for Master’s programmes and five years for Doctoral programmes, but also the allowable length of the programmes is determined by each department (the average length is from two to three years for master’s programmes and four years for the doctoral ones).