The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is the largest federal university in Brazil and is one of the Brazilian centers of excellence in teaching and research. In terms of scientific, artistic and cultural productions it is recognized nationally and internationally due to the great teachers, researchers, reviews and assessments made by international agencies. In 2015 QS World University Rankings ranked UFRJ as the best Brazilian federal university, as well as the third best university in the country occupying the ninth position among institutions of Latin America.
Brazil’s first official higher education institution, it has operated continuously since 1792. Today it has157 undergraduate and 580 postgraduate courses, the UFRJ is responsible for seven museums, most notably the National Museum, nine hospitals, hundreds of laboratories and research facilities and forty-three libraries. Its history and identity are closely tied to the Brazilian ambitions of forging a modern, competitive and just society. The university is located mainly in Rio de Janeiro, with ramifications spreading to other ten cities.
UFRJ is one of the main incubators in the formation of the Brazilian intellectual elite, contributing significantly to build not only the history of Rio de Janeiro but also of Brazil. Some of its former students include renowned economists Carlos Lessa and Mario Henrique Simonsen; Minister Marco Aurélio Mello; the architect Oscar Niemeyer; the educator Anísio Teixeira; the engineer Benjamin Constant Botelho; writers Clarice Lispector, Jorge Amado and Vinicius de Moraes; politicians Francisco Pereira Passos, Osvaldo Aranha and Pedro Calmon, besides the great physicians Carlos Chagas, Oswaldo Cruz and Vital Brazil.