The Federal University of Santa Maria was founded in 1960, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state.
The university is primarily based in Santa Maria, a medium-sized city in the centre of Rio Grande do Sul. Santa Maria has five universities, and as such has become known as a student hotspot in southern Brazil, with a vibrant and welcoming environment for young people from all over southern Brazil.
The university is mainly based on a large campus just outside the city limits which plays host to a planetarium, restaurants and a campus TV station. In addition, the university runs three smaller campuses spread out across the state. It also has a teaching hospital – the University Hospital of Santa Maria (HUSM).
Despite the size of the main campus, the bulk of academic centres and services are based in the city of Santa Maria proper. Whilst the university has nine different academic centres providing support to a wide range of subject areas, the university is perhaps best known as a significant centre of palaeontology.
Santa Maria and the surrounding state is a significant site for dinosaur bones, and the university not only operates a dedicated palaeontology department, but also has responsibility for overseeing 5 different dig sites in Rio Grande do Sul. As such, the university has become well known for the volume and quality of its paleontological study, and has a great deal to offer students looking to study in this specific academic field.