Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ) is one of the best universities in Brazil. In general, the best universities are funded by the government.

In UFRJ there are there are five schools, of which we visited the School of Technology (Centro de Tecnologia, CT). In CT we visited the School of Technology (Ecole Politecnica), which consists of 12 different departments. We visited the Department of Marine Engineering as our contact to the university was acquired through Aalto University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, which offers a program in ship engineering.

In UFRJ there are any extracurricular programs that are similar to those conducted in Aalto University. An example of these is a start-up incubator (similar to Aalto’s venture garage) where potential start-ups are evaluated and the best ones are given free legal advice, working facilities and other help for two years. After this the newly formed companies pay a minimal fee for the services.

Currently Brazil has a huge deficit of professional workers. The universities can’t currently satisfy the industry’s need for engineers as the rapid economic growth increases demand very quickly. While the government has been asking the universities to increase intakes, the universities are somewhat reluctant to do this as the quality of education might suffer.

The link between universities and the industry is very strong. Students may even build their curriculum to fulfill the needs of a certain company and many students also work well before receiving their bachelor’s degree. The amount of graduate student’s depends on the economic situation, but currently fewer students continue their studies further as the industry offers very tempting work opportunities. The industry presence can be seen in the campus area as many companies have their own research facilities there.

After the visit many of us were already considering spending a year in Rio: studying at a top university and being able to surf all year long sounded like a perfect deal.

Learn more about UFRJ.