Why should I study in Portugal?

The country of a rich history of seafaring and discovery looking out from the Iberian peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean...

How to Study in Portugal

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.

The Portuguese Higher Education System

In 2016, 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.

Portugal’s Higher Education System in International Comparison

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.

National performance: Portugal

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 38% 26% Research 30% 43% Knowledge Transfer 60% 27% International Orientation 38% 49% Regional Engagement 30% 59%

How much does it cost to study in Portugal?

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.

What are the entry requirements for Portuguese Universities?

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:

  • A completed application form;
  • A certification/diploma stating that you have completed the relevant high school; education/Bachelor’s/Master’s degree;
  • Transcripts of academic records;
  • A motivational letter stating why you want to attend the university;
  • For a Bachelor’s, you will need to have passed the university entrance exam;
  • For some degrees you will also require a portfolio of your work; and
  • Proof of payment of the application fee (50 EUR).
  • Language requirements

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.

  • TOEFL;
  • IELTS;
  • CAE/CPE; and
  • PTE A.

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.

How to get a Scholarship in Portugal?

A scholarship database can be found here.

Do I need a Student Visa for Portugal?

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.


Top Student Cities in Portugal


How do Portuguese Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  • In 2020, U-Multirank presents data on 27 Portuguese higher education institutions: both universities as well as polytechnic institutes.
  • In a global comparison, Portuguese institutions are very strong in the dimension of Regional Engagement. They publish much of their research with other universities in their region.
  • Nova University Lisbon (13), University of Minho (11), and the University of Lisbon (9) have the highest number of top group positions (‘A’ scores) of all Portuguese institutions. In addition, four (4) Portuguese HEIs score eight (8) top positions.
  • Our lists of the global ‘Top 25 Performers’ include five (5) Portuguese institutions for the share of regional publications, i.e. publications published with co-authors from the same region: CESPU - INSTITUO UNIVERSITÁRIO DE CIÊNCIAS DA SAÚDE, Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon (IPL), Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, Universidade Aberta (UAb), and University Fernando Pessoa. Furthermore, Universidade Católica Portuguesa is listed for their Income from Continuous Professional Development activities.
Portugal's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

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