Brazil adopts a mixed system of public and private funded universities. Usually public funded universities offer a broad spectrum of university courses and they are 100% financed by the government. Public universities can be funded by the Federal Government (all universities with acronyms in Portuguese starting with "UF" are federal universities) or by State Governments (such as USP in the State of São Paulo).

The total number of public Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in 2009 accumulated to 169 (68 federal, 48 state and 53 local), while private HEI increased to 1,667. In the same year 16,000 Graduation courses were offered, among those 1,833 master courses and 986 PhD courses.[1]

The country graduates approximately 10,000 PhDs per year (2007), 70% in sciences and engineering. According to official data, 65% of these PhDs' work in public research centers and 30.9 % in the industry. Brazilian's Ministry of Research and Technology Actions Plan (Plano de Ação 2007-2010) describes the aim to reach 16,000 doctoral degrees by 2010. Academic Master Degrees have increased to more than 30,000 in 2007, while in 1987 less than 4,000 Master Degrees where granted. Since 1999, Professional Master Degrees (MBAs) are offered by Brazilian Higher Education Institutes, the number of degrees granted is about 2,500 (2007). The number of researchers per 1,000 active people Brazil is estimated at 0.98% in 2004.[2]

Public universities are also responsible for a significant part of the Brazilian research effort. All 27 Brazilian states have federal and state universities.

An extensive list of Brazilian public and private universities can be found in the Wikipedia:

 List of Higher Education Institutions in Brazil 

[1] INEP:  Sinopses Estátisticas da Educação Superior
[2] Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT):  Action Plan 2007-2010