Situated in south-western Europe, Portugal does not only boast idyllic beaches but is also a great country for completing your university studies with nearly 5000 study programmes to choose from.
In 2019, approximately 350,000 students were enrolled at Portuguese universities. As usual in the European Higher Education Area, the degree-structure is three-tiered for the large part of subjects and study programmes, i.e. bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.
This section highlights the overall performance of Portuguese universities at the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. Overall, Portuguese universities perform clearly above average in the dimension of regional engagement and international orientation.
In general, the level of payable fees depends on whether you want to study at a public or in a private university, whereas public universities are cheaper. In addition, there is a difference between EU and non-EU students. Non-EU students mostly have to pay higher fees. The average tuition fee in public universities varies from 650 to 6,600 EUR annually for bachelor and master programmes. For Ph.D. courses, fees range between 2,500 EUR to 3,000 EUR per year. At private universities, annual fees range between 3,323 EUR and 3,872 EUR. You are also required to pay a small registration fee at most universities.
Reference year(s): 2020/2021
In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Portugal. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.
In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Portugal. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances. How these terms are defined, are outlined below:
If you are from an EU or EEA member state or Switzerland and your school-leaver’s certificate allows you to enroll at a domestic higher education institution, it will usually also enable you to study on a bachelor's programme in Portugal. If you are a third country national wish to study on a bachelor's programme you are required to provide a school- leaver’s certificate in Portuguese language, English, French or Spanish. If you want to study in a master's programme you need to hold a bachelor degree.
Bachelor’s degrees in Portugal:
To study at the Bachelor level in Portugal, students will need to present a transcript of an upper secondary education, and in some institutions, foreign students must also pass an entrance exam. EU students can sometimes forgoe this test and present final examination results from their home country. Non-EU students can take the exam at the Portuguese embassy in their home country if it’s required. To learn whether you need to pass an exam before registering to study a program of your choice, you should seek advice from the Higher Admissions Office (Gabinetes de Acceso).
Master’s and PhD degrees in Portugal:
To apply for a master’s program, applicants will need to possess a relevant bachelor’s or equivalent diploma. For a PhD, applicants should have a relevant master’s diploma. The Bologna Process means that Portuguese universities recognize bachelor’s and master’s degrees from other member states without the need for any international conversion.
The documentation required for applying to any program in Portugal may entail some, or all of the following:
At the bachelor’s level, most Portuguese universities only offer courses in Portuguese. A Portuguese proficiency test is usually an entry requirement for bachelor’s programs. Most higher education institutions will require a minimum proficiency corresponding to the B1/B2 level. This requirement is less likely to apply to second and third-cycle programs (Master’s and PhDs) as these research-oriented programs are often designed for international students and offer courses or instruction in English.If English is not your first language, you may need to prove your proficiency in English. Requirements vary significantly from one program to another, but the following tests are typically accepted as proof of your English proficiency.
Language requirements can vary significantly between institutions and between programs. Contact the International Office or the Admissions Office at your institution to confirm that you meet the language requirements for the program you’re planning to apply to.
No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Portugal. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are not required to obtain a visa but need to register with the local authorities within 90 days of their arrival. These authorities will furnish you with a student residence permit (Licença de Permanência), upon you providing proof of sufficient financial means for your stay in the country. Generally, all non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must hold a student visa along with a with a residence permit. The visa has to be obtained before traveling to Portugal. Upon arrival in Portugal, you are able to apply for a residence permit.
Here you can find the current Portuguese country report.