Updated 3 years ago

Portugal is a very popular European tourism destination. But what about studying in Portugal? Find out in this article.

Portugal is a mixture of traditions and modernity which attracts thousands of Portuguese speaking students every year. In fact, the country attracts mostly young students seeking adventure in a European country. Note that Portugal hosts one of Europe's oldest universities, the University of Coimbra.

In fact, Portugal's higher education system is in line with European standards. The country hosts 10 private universities known as 'universiades', some of which have economic and social partnerships. It also has 14 public universities, an open distance-learning university, as well as many other polytechnic and other higher education institutes.


You must, above all, have a good command of Portuguese to be able to register in a Portuguese university. You must also pass the 'provas de ingresso' test which refers to an entry test on Portuguese language and culture, as well as on your level of knowledge. Note that results will be calculated according to your secondary studies results. The 'provas de ingresso' ou 'provas especificas' results may vary according to the candidate's level and study program. Required documents may also vary if the student selects a specialized field.

Note, however, that Portuguese students have the priority in the student quota.

In all cases, foreign students have to request for a file from the chosen university which they will have to duly fill in and join copies of their diplomas, certificates and results, as well as a resume. Registration usually ends between March and April. Hence, you may receive a response within the two following months.

Registration fees

Registration fees generally vary from one university to another. But public university fees may cost between 950 and 1,250 euros per academic year, that is from October to May. Private university fees will be higher.

Financial assistance

Foreign students can apply for financial help for their studies from various organizations, namely:

Erasmus which offers a mobility scholarship amounting to some € 100 for a three months stay

Camoes which is a cultural study program aiming to valorize the Portuguese language and culture around the world

Leonardo da Vinci which is a professional internship program.

Diploma validity

Foreign students have to check their certificates’ and diplomas’ validity before moving to Portugal. They are also advised to verify the validity and recognition of the Portuguese diploma they wish to obtain through their studies in their home country and in other countries. Otherwise, they will need an equivalence.

Those who have secondary education certificates can apply for an equivalence with the Ministèrio da Educaçao Départamento do Ensino Secundario which is located at Av. 24 de Julho, 140, 1300 Lisboa, Portugal.

Those who have post-secondary and higher education diplomas can apply with the Ministèrio da Educaçao, Gabinete de acesso ao Ensino Superior, which is found at Av. Elias Garcia, 138 10500 Lisboa, Portugal.

 Good to know:

Higher studies in Portugal are carried out in three cycles:

  • the first one having a 3 to 4 years duration according to the study program and allowing to obtain a 'Licenciatura' (the first cycle entitles the student to 180 to 280 credits ECTS - European Credit Transfer System)
  • the second cycle leads to a Masters or 'Mestrado' with 1 to 2 years duration
  • the Doctorate or 'Doutoramento' involving many more years of study for those who wish to specialize in a particular field.

Those who prefer to study in a polytechnic institute are likely to obtain a 'Bacharelato' after three years of study. However, these institutes are now able to issue degrees.

 Useful links:

Higher Education General Directorate www.dges.mctes.pt
Study in Portugal www.studyinportugal.edu.pt
Juventude portal www.juventude.gov.pt

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.