Rice University announces its first dual-degree doctoral program with the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil


Jeff Falk

Rice University announces its first dual-degree doctoral program with the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil

HOUSTON – (Jan. 3, 2013) – Rice University today announced its first dual-degree doctoral program with the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Campinas, Brazil, a public university ranked among the best in both Brazil and Latin America. The program will allow history graduate students who study at both Rice and Campinas to receive a Ph.D. from both schools if they meet certain criteria.

Both Rice and UNICAMP’s history departments are known for their expertise in the history of both global and regional slavery.

“If you’re a student from Brazil or from the U.S., you don’t have to make a decision as to whether you want to have your Ph.D. from a leading Brazilian institution or a leading American institution,” Rice Provost George McLendon said. “You can have both at the same time.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us not only in the context of Brazil but also in the context of other possible international partners. It enables us to expand our offerings in a critical area of historical studies that would be hard to do if we only called on our own faculty.”

The program is intended for a few, highly talented students who are enrolled in the history graduate programs at either school. Students will complete graduate level courses at both institutions. They will write a dissertation that is co-supervised by one faculty member from Rice and UNICAMP. There will be a single dissertation defense at the students’ home institution; prior to this the student will present a summary of the dissertation, the equivalent of a journal article, in the other language.

“The idea is to create a student who is completely at home in the academic culture, community and standards in Brazil and the United States, which is a pretty tall order,” said Alida Metcalf, the Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor of History and Rice faculty member who will oversee the program. “Traditionally, students who start off in an American or Brazilian institution really master their home academic culture and may study or do research abroad, but this way they have to actually meet the standards of Brazil or the United States, which means functioning at a really high level in two languages.”

The dual-degree doctoral program with UNICAMP joins the list of ongoing Rice and School of Humanities outreach efforts in Brazil, including:

— a collaboration with the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis to remediate urban water that has been used to produce hydrocarbons for energy use;

— a  memorandum of understanding with the University of  São Paulo to facilitate an exchange-student program and research collaborations;

— an agreement with Brazil’s National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) that enables postdocs and Ph.D. and undergraduate visiting students from Brazil to study at Rice annually with financial support from the council.

“This is going to be an exceptionally comprehensive degree,” said Dean of Humanities Nicolas Shumway. “The degree will make students competitive in a job market where most of their peers only have one degree. These graduates will immediately rise to the top of many search lists. This is true for both Rice and UNICAMP students.”


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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf


About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.