Higher Education in the United States and Brazil: How the Two Systems Origins Shaped Their Further Development


This article draws a parallel between higher education in the United States and Brazil placing emphasis on its different origins. The college tradition in the United States began with Harvard in the seventeenth century soon after the pioneers settled in the new land. These institutions were private, closer to their Board of Trustees than to the British Crown, and had a deeply religious character. Since one of their objectives was to train religious leaders, character formation was very valued. Located far from city centers, colleges used to operate as almost a total institution. The first Brazilian higher education institutions were created in the early nineteenth century when the Portuguese Royal family left Lisbon for its colony, Brazil. Schools of Medicine, Law, Pharmacy, etc. were called Faculdades. Highly elitist they were located in large cities. They followed the model of Napoleonic Great French Schools, which were secular institutions aimed at training professionals. United States and Brazil have quite different higher education systems, but both still sustain, to a large extent, their respective marks of origin and pay tribute to them.

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Oliven, A. (2014) Higher Education in the United States and Brazil: How the Two Systems Origins Shaped Their Further Development. Creative Education, 5, 1662-1672. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.518184.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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