Master's degree programme in Brazilian Studies



This programme is only offered in English, but utilizes English and Portuguese.

Please note: It is not possible to apply for admission on this Master’s degree programme in 2018. The study program is merged with other Master's degree programs to the Master's degree program in Global area studies.

The goal of Brazilian Studies at Aarhus University is to apply knowledge about Brazil and the Portuguese language to real world problems and international issues that link Brazil to the rest of the world. The program features a term abroad with opportunities to study a range of subjects at the top universities in Brazil.

The degree programme requires a sound knowledge of the Portuguese language. M.A. students of Brazilian Studies use language skills as a practical tool to delve into Brazilian culture, history and politics and to develop a distinct intellectual profile as a Brazilianist.

The famous composer Tom Jobim supposedly once said to an inquisitive journalist wondering about the "Brazilian sound" of bossa nova as the new wave of jazz: "well, you know, Brazil is not for beginners". This pithy phrase has been used countless times as a way of introducing the complexity of this massive country. We see it another way. Brazil is, in fact, perfect for beginners, because it encapsulates the two meanings of the word "awesome". Brazil is both incredibly cool and beautiful as well as overwhelming and complex. The aesthetic draws the "beginner" in and inspires him/her to want to acquire a deep knowledge of Brazil and, consequently, develop cultural competences to act in transnational arenas. Brazil is not only influencing globalisation, it is itself the result of the global movements of people, goods and cultural practices.

Brazil and Denmark: some old and many new contacts

At first sight, Denmark and Brazil do not look back upon a long tradition of shared histories and memories. An early example is Danish scientist Peter Wilhelm Lund who greatly contributed to Darwin’s theories of evolution by studying Brazil’s pre-history. In recent decades, alongside with Brazil’s increasing international protagonism, both countries have developed more robust trade and cultural relations. In some sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and clean energy, Danish investors have been leading the way in Brazil. In turn, Brazilian scientists carry out research in Danish laboratories as the South American country has moved from being a supplier of raw materials to a producer of knowledge. Brazilian policymakers follow closely the Danish experiences in social welfare systems, public education and transparency of state institutions. In addition, a growing Brazilian community visibly asserts its place in the cultural life of Denmark’s cityscapes.

With that said, however, Denmark needs a better understanding of Brazil’s economic, social, cultural and political realities. In the popular imagination, Brazil is often reduced to stereotypes related with Samba, Carnaval, futebol and exuberant nature. The intensifying cooperation and deepening entanglements between Denmark and Brazil require mediators who can translate between languages and cultures in an ever more complex and connected world.

Brazilian Studies at AU

In 2014 Brazilian Studies joined the Department of Global Studies and since then fills a niche in the European field of education and professionalization by moving beyond the traditional models of language/culture and geographical expertise. It provides a unique mixture of theoretical knowledge and opportunities for grounded application, thereby establishing a productive hybrid of humanities tradition with social science fashioned for a competitive employment market.

Courses are interdisciplinary ranging from anthropology and history to international relations as well as language acquisition and use. Small groups create opportunities for dialogue-based teaching and a close relationship between teachers and students. The common thread is a project-oriented approach. To the extent possible, all course material is intended for application to real world issues such as climate change, immigration, urban mobility, identity and linguistic politics, social policy and international cooperation.  

Experience Brazil

Students are expected to spend at least one semester studying, researching or doing an internship in Brazil. AU has agreements with several universities throughout the country’s diverse regions, for instance Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Universidade de Brasília and Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Brazilian Studies professors and the AU International Centre staff provide guidance in selection so that students can get the most personalized benefit from this unique opportunity.

Career Opportunities

In students’ subsequent professional careers language and intercultural skills enable them to act as a mediator between Denmark and Brazil - and by extension between Europe, Latin America and the Portuguese-speaking world. Examples include positions as as a consultant or translator in a private sector company, in diplomatic institutions and non-governmental organisations or as a researcher in academia. During the Bachelor and Master’s degree periods there are opportunities to gain valuable experience in internships with Danish businesses that trade with Brazil, the Danish embassy in Brasília, the Brazilian embassy in Copenhagen, the Danish Innovation Centre in São Paulo and a number of NGOs and civil society organizations throughout the country.




Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degree programmes qualify the student for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies:

  • a Bachelor’s degree in Brazilian studies, Aarhus University
  • a Bachelor’s degree in the humanities, in business language or in the social sciences and a knowledge of and language proficiency in Portuguese at a level corresponding to a completed Bachelor’s degree programme.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Right of admission

Students of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Brazilian studies at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor’s degree programme to the Master’s degree programme. This legal entitlement only exists if applications are received on time by Aarhus University.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.

In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA. 

The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.

Language requirements

Admission to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies requires Danish at upper-secondary school ‘A’ level or equivalent.

Programme structure

Academic regulations


Student life

Nobel Park campus is home to Brazilian Studies, along with the other area studies, theology, history, philosophy, European languages and many other subjects.

Nobel Park library hosts a Brazilian Studies section and a first-class study environment. Moreover, AU’s main library, Statsbiblioteket, is a five minutes walk away and offers excellent facilities.

The programme of Brazilian Studies has an active international community of researchers, and promotes events, such as  lectures, workshops and study trips. The programme also has an Online periodic publication, fully edited and produced by the students together with the language professor.

Traditionally, students organise regular parties and cultural events, turning Nobel Park into a vibrant space of interaction with other students of Global Studies.

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Graduates of the programme will have ac­quired not only first-hand experience of Brazil, but the crucial analytical and cross-cultural compe­tencies that are required for working as part of a team in international or Danish companies and organisations that are expanding their relationships with Latin America. Graduates will find work not only in government agencies but in consultancy firms, international organisations, academia, NGOs and the tourism industry.


The Master’s degree teaches the following competences:

  • the ability to work methodologically, critically and independently with texts and other media
  • the ability to analyse and work with complex issues of an interdisciplinary nature
  • the ability to reflect independently within a given theoretical and methodological area
  • the ability to communicate in oral and written modalities in both scientific and non-scientific contexts
  • the ability to communicate in Brazilian Portuguese, both in oral and written modalities
  • the ability to be a part of professional and social groups across cultural differences and to understand other people’s perceptions of reality

Job Profile

Five examples of potential jobs for graduates of Brazilian Studies:


  • Communication officer or text writer in the public or private sector
  • Consultant in a company in Denmark or abroad, embassies, NGOs, government agencies and international organisations
  • Translator and interpreter
  • Researcher and university teacher
  • Travel and tourism expert – concept development, marketing and planning

Brazilian Studies also affords a career as a researcher with the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. Students can apply upon completion of the Bachelor’s degree and one year of the Master’s degree studies or upon completion of the Master’s degree.

Career guidance

Please contact the Student Counselling Office for advice about employment opportunities and the subject profile options of the degree programme.

Please also read more about a range of career guidance services including special events and workshops at AU Career.