Abstract There are eight institutions offering a total of 10 masters courses in nursing in Brazil. The Nursing School of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (EERP-USP) offers a doctoral course in nursing. The school has been recognized as an Investigation Reference Center for Latin America by the WHO. The purpose of the study was to determine how health education has been studied in the production of graduates at the Nursing School of Ribeirão Preto, USP. The study field consisted of 87 thesis and dissertations produced since the inception of the graduate course (1977–1987). Studies in the educational function category represented 20% (18) of the sample. Among them six studies envolved the situation of nursing student education, 10 patient/client education, and two education of the nursing staff. The results showed the learning process is not covered the learning process. The findings suggested future studies will move from the ‘diagnosis’ of information needs to analysis of changes.