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Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Study Abroad Program Overview

Rio de Janeiro is a stunning world metropolis set between coastal mountains and a beautiful series of bays. The constant interplay between international politics and local cultures, unique approaches to race relations, and incredible biodiversity makes this the ideal place to study in the 21st century.
You may study in your major at PUC-Rio, a highly ranked research university known for intimate class sizes, close interaction with professors, and strong course offerings in the sciences. The university consists of four centers with studies in the social sciences, physical sciences and technological studies, the arts, and health sciences.
Take advantage of the:
  • Location in Rio de Janeiro on the attractive and secure PUC-Rio campus near the city's southern beaches.
  • Full range of departments and majors in Portuguese.
  • University-organized opportunities to volunteer in community service projects.
  • Track for students to study beginning Portuguese language and take other courses in English (more limited than regular university offerings.)
Discover Brazil's exciting opportunities as experienced by UCEAP students.
Students attend classes with international and/or host country students.

Language of Instruction

English; Portuguese
 - ​Full range of majors offered in Portuguese; limited options in English.

Language Study

 - PUC-Rio requires Portuguese language study during the semester and year for all students whether your other classes are instructed in Portuguese or English.


​Go to the Participants section to see current or past calendars.

Fall :  
early July to mid-December ​

Spring :  
​early January to mid-July

Year :  
​early January to mid-December






​The academic year in Brazil runs from January to December. If you are attending the spring option, you may extend your UCEAP participation to the year. If you are attending the fall option, you may extend your UCEAP participation to the spring.


​For the first month of the program, you will live in a rented room in a Brazilian household. This housing is prearranged by PUC-Rio and is located in one of the safest neighborhoods in the zona sul (southern zone) of Rio de Janeiro: Gávea, Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, Leme, São Conrado, Botafogo, Humaitá, or Jardim Botânico. All Brazilian hosts are screened by PUC-Rio’s International Programs Office. After the first month, you may find your own housing or remain in the PUC-Rio prearranged housing. You may live with other UC students and international students.  Click here for more information on housing

Extracurricular Activities

​Students wishing to immerse themselves more deeply into carioca culture may engage in the volunteer community service projects organized by PUC-Rio and some NGOs around the city. Be aware that any project taking place in a favela requires PUC-Rio sponsorship. See also the section on Internships on the "Courses and Credit" tab.
Former students recommend joining a capoeira group or taking lessons to meet Brazilian students and experience a rich strain of local culture.

On-site Support

​UCEAP students are supported by UC's network of UCEAP offices at every UC campus and partnerships with UCEAP host universities throughout the world. A UC Program Coordinator and PUC-Rio International Programs staff help students integrate into Brazilian culture and provide assistance with academics, housing, safety, and other issues relevant to life in Rio de Janeiro. The UC Study Center is located on campus within the International Programs Office.

​See the UCEAP Program Guide for program-specific details about host institutions, program structure, and courses; academic culture and conduct; internships, research, & independent study; units, exams, and grades; orientation; housing; and information about the intensive language program.

Course Opportunities

Students of all language levels are welcome and become eligible for appropriate coursework based on a language placement test. Those registering in English course offerings will take classes with other US and international students, while participants who opt to take regular university courses will attend classes at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) with local Brazilian students.
This program features regular university courses in all disciplines, with a diverse selection for courses in business and economics (administraçao and ciências econômicas), political science (relações internacionais), biology and environmental studies (ciências biológicas and engenharia ambiental) and the STEM fields (engenharia, física, matemática, química, sistemas de informaçao, etc.).

Students whose primary goal is language acquisition can select from a variety of PUC-Rio courses offered in English (PDF).
Use the following resources to learn about courses on UCEAP:
  • Host institution online catalogs or course listings:
    • Academic Departments
    • PUC-Rio CCCI webpage has valuable information for International Students. Follow the link that says Study in English at PUC-Rio to see a list of available English-language courses.
  • MyEAP Course Catalog lists courses previously taken by UC students. Additional courses may be available and not all courses may still be offered. Since courses in new programs have not yet been taken for credit, they may not appear in the MyEAP Course Catalog.
  • Academic Information in the Program Guide
Many of the courses offered across various disciplines provide unique Brazilian or Carioca perspectives that may not traditionally be found on your home campuses:
"In Brazil I was able to take a class called Desenvolvimento de Comunidade [SER 1188/SER 1825] that I recommend to every study abroad student. With this class I was able to meet Brazilians that don’t live in the same conditions as a normal PUC student. I was also able to see parts of Rio that not even some cariocas have seen. That class taught me more than any other class I have ever taken."


You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad.
Summer or Winter ILP: 3 to 6 quarter/2 to 4 semester UC units required; students are placed in their language level during the online pre-registration process.
Term:  Minimum of 18 quarter/12 semester UC units and four courses required each semester. Portuguese language study is required by PUC-Rio each term. Courses are typically worth 6 quarter/4 semester UC units.   

Research and Independent Study

​Internships for academic credit may be possible in this program, especially to students with good command of Portuguese. See Internships for examples of past projects.
UCEAP in Rio also offers a number of interesting and unique opportunities for independent studies and volunteer community service projects at the undergraduate level. Some ongoing social service projects are sponsored by several university departments, while other projects may be organized by community service organizations that have offices on the PUC-Rio campus.
UCEAP participants have become involved with local NGOs in projects as diverse as teaching English or math, or conducting research on the connection between violence and health in Rio.
Arrangements for such opportunities are generally made for qualified students at the UCEAP Study Center after arrival.

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro 
The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is located on a single attractive campus in the scenic and conveniently located neighborhood of Gavea, a residential area in the south foothills of Rio. The lush campus includes classrooms, laboratories, offices, cafeterias, libraries, study and activity centers, and a gymnasium. It is connected by efficient bus service to all other parts of the city. Once on campus, it is easy to travel by foot. The university enrolls approximately 12,500 students (80 percent undergraduate) and offers a wide range of disciplines. Academically, this highly-ranked research university consists of four centers that sponsor studies in the social sciences, physical sciences and technological studies, the arts, and health sciences. The UCEAP Study Center is conveniently located on campus adjacent to the International Students office.

Test Drive Your Future

Internships abroad are a great way to enhance your resume for today’s competitive job market. Stand out from your peers, gain hands-on experience, and develop your global professional network.


  • Work with NGOs and Brazilian municipalities on environmental awareness projects.
  • Develop business and communication plans for local not-for-profit organizations.
  • Incorporate cross-cultural or multicultural skills and awareness into English language acquisition lesson plans for students at the elementary and high-school level.
  • Gain sales and marketing experience with local Brazilian companies.
  • Assist with social research and policy analysis to support ongoing community service projects.
  • Advise Brazilian students interested in U.S. academic programs on the application process and develop informational materials for campus study abroad fairs in Rio.
  • Work with tech start-ups gaining a foothold in the dynamic Brazilian marketplace.
NOTE: Internships for academic credit are restricted to projects arranged by the Resident Program Coordinator or practicum courses available at PUC-Rio.

In order to ensure the internship is within the legal boundaries of the student visa, students may not seek out other opportunities in Rio on their own. ​The student visa only allows participation in an internship as a volunteer; visa holders are prohibited from holding any paid job in Brazil.

See the current Brazil Program Guide for additional information.

Setting Up Your Internship

  • All internships are secured once you are on-site.
  • Both the UCEAP Program Coordinator and the International Office staff of PUC-Rio can help you set up your internship after arrival onsite.

Additional Information

  • Knowledge of Portuguese may be required for some internships.

Student Experiences

"I had the opportunity to intern at Endless Mobile, a tech startup. The internship was an incredible professional experience, but more importantly, it taught me things about Brazil I never would have learned otherwise. In the process, I met some incredible people, made great friends, and gained a unique perspective into their day-to-day lives. The best part was that, based on everything I learned, I created something that I hope can have an impact on improving the quality of their lives. It was the first time I was able to apply everything I have learned in school to a very real life situation to help make a difference. It really was a dream come true!"
- Alex Mandel, UC Berkeley
Participation in UCEAP is a great value! The cost of studying abroad on UCEAP programs is typically less than that of non-UC study abroad programs. The dollar figures listed in the chart below represent an estimate of: 1) the UCEAP fees for the current year, and 2) the additional amount needed to cover your living expenses in this location. Estimates for personal travel, entertainment and Non-Resident (out of state) Fees are not included.
Keep in mind that on UCEAP you take your financial aid with you. The amount of your financial aid package will take into account the total estimated costs of this experience. One advantage of selecting UCEAP for study abroad is that we facilitate the process by working with your UC Financial Aid Office (FAO), informing them of your UCEAP participation and providing them with your UCEAP budget. Just like your UC Campus billing office, we receive your financial aid and scholarships from your FAO, apply it to cover the UCEAP program fees, and disburse any remaining aid on a set schedule.

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​​These expenses are estimated for 2015-16. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. For a more detailed breakdown of 2015-16 payment information, visit the Participants Portal and select the appropriate program. Estimates do not include non-resident supplemental tuition. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay the same non-resident fees on UCEAP.

Here’s what is included in the estimate:
  • UC fees
  • Tuition at PUC-Rio
  • Intensive language program instruction, field trip, and homestay
  • Estimated room and board for the semester or year
  • Overnight excursion to another state in Brazil
  • City tour
  • On-site orientations
  • Round-trip airfare from California
  • Transportation to PUC-Rio from the airport
  • Books and other incidental expenses
  • Farewell dinner
  • Predeparture expenses (health clearance, student visa, etc.)
  • Automatic transfer of credits and grades to your UC transcript
While on UCEAP, you are covered by UC’s accident and medical insurance, including non-medical benefits, and 24/7 travel assistance anywhere in the world.​


UCEAP scholarships are available. Please visit our scholarships overview page for general information and details regarding eligibility requirements and application deadlines.​

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Application Information and Deadlines

Important: If you are planning to participate in back to back study abroad programs (with UCEAP or any other organization), you must notify your campus study abroad office. There are important things to consider when participating in consecutive programs, such as program dates and visa requirements. Not all program combinations are possible.

Application deadlines and information on the application process are available through your Campus EAP Office. Supplemental pre-departure materials will be required for many programs, including, but not limited to, host institution applications, visa and housing applications, medical clearances, etc.

For participation in the program, you must meet all deadlines and submit complete application materials.

These are minimum requirements. Your Campus EAP Office determines selection and final admission.  

Visit your Campus Study Abroad website for program-specific deadlines: