The Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) is a public university, founded as an agricultural college by pastor Samuel Rhea in 1908. It is located in the in the small municipality of Lavras, part of the densely populated southern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
From 1938, the university was known as the Agricultural School of Lavras. It was federalised in 1963, and in 1994 it became Federal University of Lavras.
Until 1997, the research conducted by the institution was primarily focused on agricultural sciences. Since then, the university has taken steps towards diversifying its curriculum by introducing new courses such as engineering, health sciences, law and creative writing.
UFLA now has a total of 17 departments: Management and Economy; Agriculture; Biology; Computer Science; Food Sciences; Soil Sciences; Exact Science; Forest Sciences; Humanities Sciences; Education; Physical Education; Engineering; Entomology; Phytopathology; Veterinary Medicine; Chemistry; and Animal Science.
The institution now offers about 30 bachelor's degrees, 20 master's degrees and 18 doctorate degrees, some of which can be studied via distance learning.
The university has established partnerships with a number of Brazilian institutions, and has more than 150 partner institutions overseas, including Lancaster University in the UK. Together they offer dual PhD programmes in biodiversity, which aim to combine the knowledge and expertise of professionals from two continents.
The town of Lavras is well known in Brazil for its agriculture, and is a key producer of both milk and coffee. The average annual temperature in the city is 19.6°C, and the average annual rainfall is 1,511 millimetres.