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Courses & Credits

The program curriculum includes two required courses, one or two elective courses, and an optional independent study project:

Courses are four semester credits each. Recommended credit is 16 semester credits (four courses); students can earn 15 to 18 semester credits depending on the number of electives chosen.

Except for the Portuguese language course, all courses are taught in English. There are no prerequisites for any of the courses.

Course offerings are subject to change based on the number of students enrolled in each course.

  More information about credit distribution and grades

Portuguese as a Second Language

Instructors: PUC-Rio faculty
Required, 4 semester credits

Students are required to take an online placement test before arriving in Rio de Janeiro. Language is offered at five levels, Beginning to Advanced II.

Note: An optional pre-term Intensive Portuguese course, not for academic credit, is offered in July.

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Elective courses in Brazilian Culture

Instructors: PUC-Rio faculty
2-4 semester credits per course (varies by course)

Students register for two or three elective courses taught in English, choosing from the Brazilian Culture area studies courses in anthropology/sociology, art and design, history, business and marketing, and international relations. Course content focuses on Brazil. See the list of courses taught in English on the PUC-Rio website (final course offerings will depend on enrollment). The course offered by the ACM visiting faculty director (see below) is one of the options. Students with background in Portuguese language may be permitted to enroll in elective courses taught in Portuguese. The International Cooperation Office advises ACM students on their academic options.

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Independent Study Project

Instructor: ACM visiting faculty director
Optional, 4 semester credits

As one of their electives, students may choose an independent study project (ISP) during their time in Rio, under the direction of the visiting faculty director. There are countless topics to explore over the course of your time in Brazil—a main challenge of every student’s ISP is narrowing down to just one area of focus! Whether you look at the methods by which the informal economy becomes legitimized, follow the trajectory of locally beloved soccer clubs, or explore the politics behind how the bus system works, you’ll have an entire class during your time at Brazil dedicated to exploring a topic you’re passionate about.

Projects may be conducted in a wide variety of fields in social sciences and humanities, with topics that are linked to the program location. Students are encouraged to formulate projects to fit their individual interests and/or their program of study at their home campus.

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Credit Distribution & Grades

The course credit you receive for the Brazil: Culture, Community, & Language at PUC-Rio program is determined according to policies at your college. Check with your advisor and college registrar in advance to find out how much credit you will receive and how it will be distributed, especially if you plan to use your courses in Brazil to fulfill college or departmental requirements.

Grade reports

All students who complete an ACM off-campus study program receive a grade report which lists their courses, credits, and grades. Most colleges accept this grade report as an official academic document. If a college requires an official academic transcript, ACM can arrange to have an official transcript issued through Beloit College for a $350 processing fee. To request an official transcript, students must make a formal request through ACM at the time of acceptance.