University of São Paulo

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"São Paulo University" redirects here. It is not to be confused with São Paulo State University.
University of São Paulo
Brasão da USP.png
Shield of the University of São Paulo
Motto Scientia Vinces (Latin)
Motto in English
With knowledge, you will conquer.
Established 1934[1] (University of São Paulo Law School dates from 1827)
Type Public university
Budget R$ 4 725 126 513.00[2]
Rector Marco Antonio Zago
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 88,261[1]
Undergraduates 56,998[1]
Postgraduates 25,591[1]
Location São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Carlos, Ribeirão Preto, Bauru, Pirassununga, Lorena, State of São Paulo, Brazil

The University of São Paulo (Portuguese: Universidade de São Paulo, USP) is a public university in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. It is the largest Brazilian university and the country's most prestigious educational institution,[3][4] the best university in Ibero-America,[5][6] and holds a high reputation among world universities.[7][8] According to reports by the Ministry of Science and Technology, more than 25% of scientific papers published by Brazilian researchers in high quality conferences and journals are produced at the University of São Paulo.[9]

USP is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Latin America, with approximately 90,000 enrolled students. It has eleven campuses, four of them in São Paulo[10] (the main campus is called Campus Armando de Salles Oliveira, with an area of 7,443,770 m²). The other campuses are in the cities of Bauru, Lorena, Piracicaba, Pirassununga, Ribeirão Preto and two in São Carlos. USP is involved in teaching, research and university extension in all areas of knowledge.


The Faculty of Medicine in the early twentieth century.
Law School, founded in 1827.

After its defeat in the Revolution of 1932, São Paulo needed institutional improvements. Therefore in 1933 a group of businessmen founded the Free School of Sociology and Politics (ELSP) (the current Foundation of the School of Sociology and Politics in São Paulo). In 1934, the intervenor of São Paulo (which corresponded to the governor) Armando de Sales Oliveira founded the University of São Paulo (USP). [19][20] According to Sergio Milliet:

"From São Paulo does not leave more anarchic civil wars, but after all a scientific and intellectual revolution capable of changing economic and social conceptions of the Brazilians."

That was one of the efforts carried out to provide Brazil with modern administrative, educational and military institutions in a period known as "search for alternatives". One of the main initiatives included the creation, that same year, of the University of São Paulo. Its nucleus was the School of Philosophy, Sciences and Languages, with professors coming from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other European countries.

The ELSP assumed the goal of administrative elites to form a new model in which they noted an increasing role of the state, while USP focused on training teachers for secondary schools, experts in sciences, engineers, lawyers, physicians and professors. ELSP followed a sociological American model, while USP used the French academic world as its main source of inspiration.

Foreign professors such as Claude Lévi-Strauss (France), Fernand Braudel (France), Roger Bastide (France), Robert H. Aubreton (France), Heinrich Rheinboldt (Germany), Paul Arbousse Bastide (France), Jean Magüé (France), Martial Gueroult (France), Emilio Willems (Germany), Donald Pierson (USA), Gleb Vassielievich Wataghin (Russia), Pierre Monbeig (France), Giacomo Albanese (Italy), Luigi Fantappiè (Italy), Vilém Flusser (Czech Republic), Giuseppe Ungaretti (Italy) and Herbert Baldus (Germany), broadcast in various institutions new standards for teaching and research, creating new generations of scientists in Brazil.

Since its foundation USP received professors and researchers from all over the world, such as David Bohm (USA), Giuseppe Occhialini (Italy), François Châtelet (France), Anatol Rosenfeld (Germany), Helmi Nasr (Egypt), Gérard Lebrun (France), Fritz Köberle (Austria) and Heinz Dieter Heidemann (Germany).


University of São Paulo is the result of a combination of the newly created School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters (Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras, FFCL, currently Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciencias Humanas, FFLCH) with the existing Polytechnic School of Engineering (founded in 1893), the "Luiz de Queiroz" College of Agriculture (Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz) (founded in 1901), the Medical School (founded in 1912), the traditional Law School (founded in 1827), the old School of Pharmacy and Dentistry (founded in 1898), the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (founded in 1886) and the School of Veterinary Medicine (founded in 1919)).[11]

The FFCL emerged as the integrating element of the university, bringing together courses in various areas of knowledge. Also in 1934 the School of Physical Education (sports science) of the State of São Paulo was created, the first civil school of physical education in Brazil, which would later be part of the university. In 1944 the Medical School opened its public hospital (Hospital das Clínicas da Universidade de São Paulo). In the same year, the School of Engineering of Sao Carlos (EESC) emerged. In subsequent years several other research units were also created, such as a second Medical School, located in the city of Ribeirão Preto (São Paulo's inland) in 1952).[11]

In the 1960s, the university gradually transferred the headquarters of some of its units to the City University Armando de Salles Oliveira, in São Paulo. In 1963 it was established the Heart Institute of the University of São Paulo. Thereafter new institutes and schools were created, for instance the School of Journalism, Communications and Arts (ECA) in 1966. Over the years, some of the university's old departments were transformed into autonomous faculties or institutes, such as the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICB), the Institute of Geosciences (IGc) and the Institute of Biosciences (IB) in 1969).[11]

Military dictatorship[edit]

Monument Ramos de Azevedo at the University City Armando de Salles Oliveira.

During the 1970s and part of the 1980s, some critics believe that USP has undergone an intellectual dissection, both in terms of knowledge production and the quality of human resources. During the past decades, the university played an essential role in the discussion and dissemination of important political ideas that contributed to the democratization of the country, bringing together many leftist intellectuals (such as Florestan Fernandes, Boris Fausto, Paul Singer, Antonio Candido, Gioconda Mussolini among others).

During the Brazilian dictatorship a large number of professors from USP were persecuted and even tortured - many were forced to leave the country.[12][13][14] This situation slowed down scientific production in Brazil.[15] It also promoted a systematic increase in the total number of graduate vacancies, encouraged by the state government.

The gap caused by the removal of teachers and students chased by the military regime was interrupted with the campaign of political amnesty, since the early 1980s. Several units of USP celebrated the return of their deposed professors, although many of them were rehired in different set of conditions (old full professors took positions of assistant professors).[16]


Parallel to the resulting intellectual emptiness of political repression occurred at USP in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s a process of fragmentation of their units, new faculties were created and new institutes, which resulted in new courses, new lines of research and graduate programs. The dissolution of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters (FFCL) is often cited as a paradigmatic symbol of this process.

Originally conceived as the academic core of the university, gathering itself the various fields of pure knowledge, the FFCL, over time, saw their departments to gain autonomy and become full units (autonomous and administratively separate from your original drive). The Institute of Physics was the first department to extricate itself from the old FFCL, followed also by other departments of exact and biological sciences. Thus, with only the permanence of the majors in the humanities, there was an internal reform drive and it was renamed as the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Humanities (FFLCH).

In 2004, the university founded the Institute of International Relations, with the aim to study global matters in a multidisciplinary (law, political science, economy and history) environment with Brazilian and international students and professors (International Exchange Program). In 2005, was built in the East Zone of the city of São Paulo a new School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH), taking a few courses that go beyond traditional Brazilian university model and aim to diversify the areas of the consolidated institution. [22] On 21 March 2006, USP approved the merger of a second School of Chemical Engineering (FAENQUIL) in the city of Lorena (rural area), at the Paraíba Valley (State of São Paulo's rural area), with about 1,600 students in total and of these 1,200 at graduation. In 2007 was established a second School of Law in the city of Ribeirão Preto, also in the State of São Paulo's countryside.[17]

USP have today five hospitals and offers 247 undergraduate programs and 239 graduate programs in all areas of study.[18] The university houses altogether 24 museums and galleries – with half a million visitors a year – two theaters, a cinema, a TV channel and an orchestra.[19] The University of São Paulo welcomes people from all continents, and stimulates this process via networks and consortiums (International Office – USP), such as Erasmus Mundus, Associação das Universidades de Língua Portuguesa, Rede Magalhães (SMILE - Student Mobility in Latin America, Caribbean and Europe), among others.[20]



University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report
(2014, national, world)
1 (77)
Ranking Web of Universities
(2014, national, world)
1 (34)
(2014, national, world)
1 (101-150)
(2014, national, world)
1 (132)
(2014, national, world)
1 (201-225)
(2014, national, world)
1 (10)
Ranking National Taiwan University
(2014, world)
1 (62)
Ranking URAP
(2014, national, world)
1 (31)
(2014, national)

SIR World Report 2013 from SCImago Institutions Rankings classified the university in the 12th place in the world (11th in 2012).[21] In 2012, according to the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),[22] the University of São Paulo is the best university in Ibero-America and 28th university in the world. According to ARWU, USP was classified in the first place, regarding the number of doctorates awarded during 2011.[23] Mines ParisTech ranked USP in 42nd place.[24] Ranking Web of Universities 2013 classified USP in the 31st place.[25] USP is ranked among the top 70 universities in the world, in the Ranking "Top Universities by Reputation 2013" published by Times Higher Education.[26] NTU Ranking classified the university in the 53rd place.[27] According to the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities, USP is placed in the group of the 101–151 top world universities.[28] According to the 2013 CWTS Leiden Ranking the University of São Paulo is placed in the position 12th at the world.[29] In the 2013 QS World University Rankings[30] University of São Paulo ranked 127th (academic reputation 51st)[31] and is the best classified in the specific ranking of Latin America's universities.[32][33] In 2012, the University of São Paulo is the first Ibero-American institution in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings's top-200 (Position 158 in the World).[34]


USP operates 4 hospitals, among them University of São Paulo Medical School Public Hospital, the largest hospital complex in Latin America and the major teaching and training site for the university's School of Medicine - it is considered one of the best health care institutions in Latin America.[35]

Library system[edit]

The University of Sao Paulo has 42 libraries spread over its schools. Together they represent one of the most important bibliographical collections in Brazil. The libraries are managed by the Integrated Library System (SIB - Sistema Integrado de Bibliotecas in Portuguese), which is also responsible for university's online system - DEDALUS.

Dedalus is an online database that allows simultaneous consultation in all libraries in the university. Dedalus is also integrated to a system named Integrated Research which integrates all online databases signed by the university. That makes academic researches faster and it provides researchers easy access to international publications.

Museums and art galleries[edit]

Paulista Museum (Ipiranga Museum)

University of São Paulo manages a rich set of museums and art galleries, most of them located in the central campus, in the city of São Paulo:

Vista panorâmica do Museu Paulista da Universidade de São Paulo (Ipiranga Museum).

Academic career[edit]

  • Teaching Assistant (Auxiliar de Ensino) – MS-2 (must have a Master's degree and be enrolled in a doctoral program). Undergraduate students can also be a teaching assistant for a semester, with scholarships from each department.
  • Professor Doctor (Professor Doutor) – MS-3 (must have a doctoral or equivalent degree).
  • Associate Professor (Professor Associado) – MS-5 (must have a Livre Docente title; equivalent to the German Habilitation).
  • Full Professor (Professor Titular) – MS-6 (top rank, only MS-6 professors are allowed to hold positions such as the Dean of a Faculty/School or the Dean of the University).
Aerial view of the university. The buildings on center are part of the IQ – Institute of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Pharmacy.



Central plaza at USP's main campus at São Paulo City, showing the Clock Tower.

USP's entrance exam, the vestibular, is prepared and administered by FUVEST (University Foundation for Vestibular), subject to regulations approved by the university's Undergraduate Studies Council. In 2012, 159,603 students signed up for Fuvest's vestibular, for a total of 10,982 openings. Candidates are required to take a multiple choice test involving chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, geography, history, Portuguese and English. The second round of tests is written and specific to the chosen field of studies, including more-in-depth questions in physics, chemistry and mathematics for engineering; history, math and geography for law and so on. In-depth written Portuguese questions are required for all.

USP doesn't require its students to pay any tuition fees and its source of funding comes from São Paulo State sales taxes.

Although public, USP has struggled to combine high standards of student acceptance with fair conditions that minimize the stigma of an exclusivist school. Currently most students from its most competitive schools, including engineering, law and medical schools, studied in expensive private high schools and only a very small percent of students from public high schools are able to pass USP rigorous knowledge-based entrance exams.

Undergraduate programs[edit]

USP currently offers 229 majors.[36] In the first half of 2004, a total of 3,225 courses were offered. Undergraduate courses are classified by the University in three major areas: Humanities, Biological Sciences and Exact Sciences (hard sciences).

Biological Sciences

Exact Sciences


Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Universidade de São Paulo – Usp em números 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Evolução das Liberações Financeiras do Tesouro do Estado de São Paulo Para a Usp" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Baty, Phil. "The goals will come". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Ranking Folha
  5. ^ Brazil's Multi-Billion Dollar Education Industry: Shaping Futures, Changing Lives, and Minting Billionaires
  6. ^ The new ranking of Ibero-American universities
  7. ^
  8. ^ QS Academic Reputation Ranking
  9. ^ "ANPEI". 
  10. ^ "COCESP". Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c The History of USP - official webpage
  12. ^ Legislative Assembly of the State of Sao Paulo remembers the repression against the professors of USP
  13. ^ USP remembers its past - School of Arts and Communication
  14. ^ USP makes a posthumous tribute to Professor Ana Rosa Kucisnki with the Brazilian's Truth Commission
  15. ^ The recovery of censured books in Brazil
  16. ^ The philosophy of USP under the military regime - Prof. Marcos Nobre
  17. ^ USP's second School of Law in Ribeirao Preto - SP
  18. ^ USP's International Office Webpage
  19. ^ USP's International Office
  20. ^ USP's International Office
  21. ^ SIR – SCImago Institutions Rankings
  22. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "(Text in Portuguese)". Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  24. ^ International Professional Ranking of Higher Education Institutions
  25. ^ "Ranking Web of Universities – World". Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  26. ^ Top Universities by Reputation 2013
  27. ^ NTU Ranking 2012 (there is an English version)
  28. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2010". Shanghai Jiaotong University. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  29. ^ CWTS Leiden Ranking
  30. ^ "QS World University Rankings - 2013". Top Universities. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "Rankings of QS World University - 2013". Top Universities. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  32. ^ "QS Latin American University Rankings - 2013". Top Universities. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  33. ^ "Brazilian Universities Strong in 2011 Latin American Ranking". Top Universities. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  34. ^ The World Universities Ranking 2012–2013
  35. ^ América Economia, ed. (2009). "Rankings de Clínicas y Hospitales de América Latina 2009". Retrieved 11 de agosto de 2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  36. ^ University of São Paulo. "At USP". Retrieved 20 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°33′S 46°38′W / 23.550°S 46.633°W / -23.550; -46.633