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The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO) was the first private higher education institution in the country of Brazil, created by the Catholic Church.  The university was founded in 1940 by Cardinal D. Sebastião Leme and Father Leonel Franca S.J.

About the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro operates under the supervision of the Society of Jesus and under the supreme authority of the Cardinal Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro as its Grand Chancellor. PUC-Rio is a non-profit philanthropic institution, and as a Catholic university its mission is guided by Christian humanistic principles.  The school welcomes students, staff members, teachers, researchers and administrators of all religions, nationalities, ethnic groups and social classes, including international students studying abroad.

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro is committed to the complete development of the human being in two main perspectives: the philosophical and the theological. Besides that, the university is also a renowned doctoral research institution, one that focuses primarily on the development of academic and scientific knowledge.

PUC-Rio is, above all, a community of people, teachers, students and staff members united by a common interest: seeking the truth and acting in accordance with the needs of the society and with the ever changing world around us.

Beyond providing a world-class education, PUC-Rio has consistently undertaken the task of assisting the community of Rio de Janeiro in a number of educational and societal areas, offering services based on Christian ethical values, solidarity and human respect. The university represents a space for student achievement, a place that helps them overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

Facilities at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro offers a number of facilities and conveniences for students.  Among these are:

  • A large central library
  • 6 smaller libraries (offering field specific materials)
  • 3 auditoriums
  • Wi-Fi language lab and Internet spaces
  • Computer labs
  • An International Programs Office
  • Basic health assistance
  • Bookstore
  • Church
  • Sports gymnasium
  • Campus ministry office
  • 4 coffee shops and 2 restaurants
  • 5 ATM machines
  • And more…

The PUC-RIO main campus is located near the forest and the beach. It features a very pleasant green area with a natural stream running through it; small monkeys and squirrels can regularly be seen jumping through and up the trees.

History of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

As mentioned above, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro was founded in 1940 by the Catholic Cardinal D. Sebastião Leme and Father Leonel Franca S.J.  Below we have provided a timeline illustrating how the school has evolved from that point forward:

  • 1946.  PUC-Rio acquired the status of university.
  • 1947. The title of Pontifical was conferred on the university, a rare honor conceded by the Vatican establishing a special link between the university and the Pope.
  • 1955.  PUC-Rio moved to its present campus in another part of Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1960.  The school became the first Brazilian university to have a main frame computer installed exclusively for academic purposes.
  • 1963.  The school began offering its first graduate courses (Master Degree only).
  • 1965.  The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro became the first Brazilian institution to have a student obtain a Master of Science Degree (Mechanical Engineering).
  • 1968.  Introduction of the Credit System; Beginning of PhD courses; (re)organization of the University in Academic Centers and Departments; first school to offer Portuguese as a second language courses in a Brazilian institution.
  • 1972.  Creation of the Rio Datacentro (RDC)—the first computer science center in a Brazilian university. 
  • 1980.  PUC-Rio saw the Inauguration of the Solar Grandjean de Montigny, the University Museum. 
  • 1991.  Creation of the International Programs Office, now, International Program Central Coordination Office (CCCI).
  • 1997.  Inauguration of the Genesis Institute (Companies Incubator) – responsible for helping students combine academic and entrepreneurial development through their participation in business units related to their specific areas of interest. 
  • 2000.   Inauguration of the new Gymnasium dedicated to Fr. Ormindo Viveiros de Castro. 
  • 2003.  Inauguration of the RDC Open Space and Wi-Fi Net.
  • 2009.  Inauguration of the PUC-Rio Institute of Digital Medias, the first digital media institute created in Brazil.
  • 2011.  Inauguration of the PUC-Rio Confucius Institute. 
  • 2012. 20th Anniversary of the International Cooperation Central Coordination Office

Information for International Students

The International Program Central Coordination Office (CCCI) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro provides a number of programs and services, including, but not limited to:

  • Assisting with student exchange for both undergraduate and graduate students
  • Short-term study abroad programs for PUC-Rio students
  • Customized programs for international students
  • Double degree programs for engineering, mathematics and business students
  • Promotion of scientific events, conferences and seminars
  • Any activity of an academic interest regarding international partnerships
  • Exchange and translation of bibliographic materials
  • International Inter-institutional cooperation
  • Assistance to the academic units in promoting cooperation with overseas Institutions, celebrating and following the execution of agreements

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro: Students and Faculty

As of the 2013 school year, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro played host to:

  • 12,516 undergraduate students
  • 2,566 graduate students
  • 7,386 extension students

Of these, over 5,800 undergraduate students received a full or partial waiver of their fees, and nearly 2,300 graduate students were attending the school on full or partial scholarships.

The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro has 488 full-time faculty members and 824 part time teachers.  Of these, 567 hold a Master’s degree and 745 hold a doctoral or PhD degree of some kind.

All Programs Available:
  • Philology, Languages, Literature
    • Language Courses
    • Language Courses and Cultural Immersion Programs
Language of instruction


Type of school

Private University


+(55-21) 33111578


CCII - International Programs Central Coordination. Rua Marqués de Sào - Vicente 225, Ed. Pe. Leon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22453-900