Students at the University of Michigan may pursue a Minor in Portuguese or an RLL Major by combining Portuguese with Spanish, as well as with French, and/or Italian.

The objectives of the Portuguese Program are to facilitate student's proficiency in the Portuguese language and foster knowledge acquisition on the cultures of the Lusophone (or Portuguese-speaking) world.

With over 250 million speakers, Portuguese is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world. It’s also one of the half dozen most understood languages on Earth. It is the language of Brazil and Portugal, as well as the official language of Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor. 

Fluency in Portuguese will open multiple professional opportunities in various countries with expanding economies and a promising future in connection to business, education, tourism, international relations, NGOs, biotechnologies, culture and the arts, the environment, energy, and development.

Speakers of Spanish have a significant advantage in being able to learn Portuguese in less than a year, given the close proximity of both languages based on their similar grammatical structures and vocabulary.

Portuguese is the gateway to the rich cultures of Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, most particularly, in the realms of music, literature, the visual arts (including moving image), and architecture.

Why Study Portuguese?

Brazil, with a population of approximately 200 million, is the largest country in Latin America as well as the sixth largest economy in the world. It is one of the emerging global geopolitical powers of the 21st century and a major player in the areas of agriculture, the environment, energy and biofuels, media, popular music, aerospace, banking, and sustainable development. 60% of the Amazon rainforest —critical to the planet’s survival— is located within Brazilian territory. Brazil is a multiracial nation with the largest Afro-descended population outside of the African continent. Brazil is hosting major global events: the 2014 FIFA World Cup in soccer and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Lisbon, Portugal —one of the most charming and cosmopolitan capitals of Europe— is the cultural center of the Portuguese-speaking world with a large population from the former Portuguese empire (Brazil as well as parts of Africa and Asia).

Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer and is fueling one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Angola also is the ancestral land of many Afro-descended peoples in the diaspora, including in the United States.

Former President Mary Sue Coleman has made both Africa and Brazil strategic priorities for the University of Michigan, so there is a range of exciting opportunities for collaboration with Brazilian and African institutions with visitors across many academic fields as well as the arts. This is a very exciting time to study Portuguese at Michigan!

Minor Requirements

Prerequisites to the Academic Minor: PORTUG 232, 280, or 415; or the equivalent.

Academic Minor Program: A minimum of 18 credits beyond PORTUG 232 (neither PORTUG 280 nor PORTUG 415 may not be counted toward the 18 credits), including the following course:

  • Required Course: PORTUG 287 Advanced Portuguese Conversation and Composition (this can be taken concurrently or before 400-level courses). 
  • Electives: For the remaining part of the coursework, students must choose courses beyond Portuguese 287.

Cognate Courses: Students pursuing the academic minor in Portuguese may petition to have up to 3 cognate courses (no more than 9 credits) from other units (for example, History, Afro-American and African Studies, as well as Latin American and Caribbean Studies), taught in English, which have a Brazilian, Lusophone African, and/or Portuguese focus to count for the academic minor. Cognate courses must be approved in advance by a Portuguese advisor in the department of Romance Languages & Literatures. Please consult the Portuguese Cognate List. Courses which do not appear on this list must be approved in advance by a Portuguese advisor in the department of Romance Languages & Literatures

Residency Requirement: At least 9 of the 18 credits for the academic minor must be taken in residence or in a study abroad program affiliated with the University of Michigan. 

Portuguese Minor Worksheet (PDF)

Course Information

Course Offerings

For a complete, at-a-glance list of all Portuguese courses offered in any given semester, see the LSA Bulletin. For information on currently offered Portuguese courses, visit the LSA Course Guide.

Independent Studies


RLL course information and highlighted courses

Portuguese Cognate Courses

A Portuguese cognate course is a course in which a majority of the content focuses on Portuguese studies, but which does not give instruction primarily in Portuguese. 

List of Portuguese Cognate Courses

Portuguese Cognate Request Form 

Non-UM Study Abroad and Domestic Transfer Credit

Review and follow this checklist which outlines the approval process for non-UM study abroad and domestic transfer credit.

Please note:  students are required to have coursework pre-evaluated by an RLL faculty advisor prior to enrolling or going abroad; syllabi and specific course descriptions are needed. A final evaluation of coursework is required upon completion of the course or upon return from abroad. Specific courses and credits must appear on the transcript; syllabi and completed coursework are needed. 

For information regarding earning credit for UM/CGIS study abroad programs, please reference the RLL Study Abroad page. 






Portuguese Language Resources

Instituto Camões

Museu da Língua Portuguesa



Universo Online (dicionários em várias línguas e sobre várias temáticas):

Priberam Informática (dicionário de língua portuguesa online):

Infopédia (dicionários e enciplopédia em língua portuguesa):

Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa:


Ferramentas Gramaticais

Conjugador de verbos:



História do Brasil:

Projeto Releituras:

Domínio Público (Ministério da Educação):

Biblioteca Nacional:

História da Educação no Brasil – UNICAMP:

Itaú Cultural:

Revista de Estudos Avançados – USP:

Revista USP:

Tempo Social: Revista de Sociologia da USP:

Revista Afro-Ásia



Biblioteca Nacional (Lisboa):

Biblioteca Digital Camões

Biblioteca Digital da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Portoções%20periódicas&id=4

Teses e dissertações digitais

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Fundação Luso-Americana (FLA):

Fundação Mário Soares:

Fundação José Saramago:

Centro de Estudos Africanos (ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)

Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto

Centro de Estudos Sociais/Universidade de Coimbra: