study in Portugal
Updated 3 months ago

Portugal attracts thousands of Portuguese speaking students every year. Portuguese universities offer high-quality education in a country rich in culture and history.

Portugal hosts one of Europe's oldest universities, the University of Coimbra. Other top universities include the Universidade of Aveiro, and the Universities of Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, Minho, and the Catholic University of Portugal.

The country offers several public and private universities, which offer academic degrees in a wide range of fields. The country also offers several polytechnic schools, which provide students with technical trades and on-the-job skills.

Entry requirements

Most importantly, you must have a good command of the Portuguese language to be able to enrol in a Portuguese university. You must also pass the 'provas de ingresso' test, an entry test on Portuguese language and culture. Note that results will be calculated according to your secondary studies results. The 'provas de ingresso' or 'provas especificas' results may vary according to the candidate's level and study program. Additional documents may be required for specialised fields, such as medicine.

Portuguese students have the priority in the student quota, meaning their applications will receive priority over non-Portuguese students. University places can be competitive, so a strong academic record is necessary to secure a place.

Applications to university made be made either directly to individual schools, or via the centralised portal, Candidatura Online. This allows applicants for undergraduate study to apply to multiple schools at once, ranking their preferences. Educational transcripts and qualifications from your home country will be converted into the Portuguese grading system, so they can weigh up your application. Non-EU students will also need to take a higher education entrance exam, which can be done via the Portuguese embassy or consulate within your home country.

Generally, university applications will include:

  • Completed university application form
  • Evidence of a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Academic transcripts
  • A letter or essay (as required), indicating why you wish to obtain your degree
  • Application fee (generally around 50 EUR)

University fees

Course fees vary from one university to another. The average cost to study at an undergraduate level in a public university range between 980-1.250 EUR per year, or 3,323-3,872 EUR per year in private universities. Tuition fees are generally higher for postgraduate courses. In addition, prospective students should also factor in accommodation and board costs, in addition to spending money.

Financial aid and scholarships may be available, contact your university for more information on what programs you may qualify for. Some grants are also available from the Portuguese government, and both EU and non-EU students can apply.

Degree options

Higher studies in Portugal can result in the following degrees:

  • Licenciatura - This is an undergraduate degree, which is completed over 3-4 years.
  • Mestrado - This is a master’s degree, and is earned after completion of the Licenciatura. It requires five years of postgraduate study.
  • Doutoramento - This is a doctorate degree or PhD. It requires you to write an original thesis and to defend it in front of an academic audience and is the highest level of degree.

The Portuguese academic year generally runs from September to June, broken into two semesters. Classes are usually also offered over the summer and winter holiday breaks. Undergraduate classes are taught almost exclusively in Portuguese, while postgraduate degrees may offer more English-speaking classes. You may require Portuguese language classes before commencing your studies if you aren’t already fluent.

 Useful links:

Higher Education General Directorate
Study in Portugal
Juventude portal
Candidatura Online
Education in Portugal

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