As the oldest nation in Europe, Portugal is an ideal place to study abroad, particularly if you are interested in enjoying a sunny weather and admiring splendid coastlines each day. Anywhere you go in Portugal, you’ll always have a beach nearby and because the Portuguese are known for truly celebrating life, you can always join a local festival that involves dancing in the streets.
In Portugal, you’ll experience the charming atmosphere of a constant holiday, while you also prepare to become an expert in your chosen field of study.
Portugal is one of the most popular countries for study exchange programmes and many universities are active members of the Erasmus program. Portuguese universities are both focusing both on providing valuable theoretical knowledge and on engaging students in prevalent research projects. Many universities are affiliated with several research centres and they have been contributing to more than 1% of the world's highly cited publications.
As a student enrolled in one of the Portuguese universities, you can complement your degree with an internship in a local company and attend interesting workshops taught by international leading experts.
Portugal is particularly known for offering Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees in fields such as Biotechnology, Medicine, Social Sciences and Arts. However, since Portugal has started to welcome more and more international students each year, Portuguese universities have been introducing English-taught degrees for most disciplines, from Computer Science to Business.
Here are some of the most popular study options in Portugal:
Most universities are concentrated within 12 major cities of Portugal. Wherever you choose to study, you will benefit from quality academic training. When you’re not engaged in studying, you can have fun at numerous bars and pubs, listen to the famous fado, or enjoy one of the many festivities held in each city in Portugal.
Check out the major student cities in Portugal and learn more about what it is like to study there:
Portugal is home to around 50 universities, over 80 polytechnics and 6 public institutions specialising in military and law enforcement study programmes.
The main difference between universities and polytechnics lies in the fact that universities are more focused on theoretical education, while polytechnics are dedicated to vocational studies.
Examples of top universities in Portugal:
If you’re interested in following a Bachelor’s degree in Portugal, you can apply online on the official Portuguese website dedicated to higher education. You can choose up to six universities/polytechnics and study programs you would like to apply for.
When applying for a Master’s or PhD degree in Portugal, simply apply on the website of your chosen universities.
Carefully check all the required application documents and make sure they are all translated into Portuguese if your chosen university requires it.
Make sure to know what the language requirements are, and whether you need to prove skills in English before enrolling in a degree programme.
Show how you performed as a student, and be sure to know what your Grade Point Average (GPA) was during your studies.
To help your chances of going to Portugal, be sure to apply to more than one university!
Improve your English through an English-language prep course: If you’re attending a degree programme in Portugal, you will sometimes need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.
There are over 200 English-taught programmes in Portugal
Universities in Portugal will want to see proof that you have good English-language skills, so that you can easily succeed in their courses. Almost all Portuguese universities accept these official English exams:
As a fresh enrolled student in Portugal, you will experience several welcoming rituals and traditions, named “praxe” – inviting you to socialise with your peers.
In terms of the academics, classes are rather formal and they usually start early in the morning. Professors are usually strict, but they have a more relaxed attitude in the beginning of the year, when students are just starting to accommodate with the university life.
The average rate of tuition fees in public Portuguese universities is between 950 and 1,250 EUR/year – for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. PhD programmes can have higher tuition fees that exceed 2,000 EUR per year. Private universities can set their own fees, which are usually higher compared to those charged by public ones.
Generally, Portuguese universities charge higher tuition fees to non-EU/EEA students.
Students can find affordable housing options starting from around 150 to 350 EUR/month, depending on location and facilities.
Students halls of residence are the most convenient option, with prices between 165 and 230 EUR/month for a single room.
If you choose to rent an apartment, the rent is between 350 and 600 EUR/month.
EU/EEA students enjoy the same benefits as Portuguese citizens in terms of access to free or reduced-cost healthcare. To benefit from these services, you should hold an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card); you can arrange for an EHIC card from your home country, before your departure to Portugal.
Non-EU/EEA students can apply for the National Health Service Card (Cartão do Utente do SNS) which offers you access to Portuguese Public Health Service. You can get this card from a local Health Centre.
Supermarkets in Portugal have affordable prices, so your monthly groceries should cost you around 150-200 EUR. A good option for cheap food are university canteens, where you can get a meal for around 4 EUR. Throughout Portugal, you can get a meal for 7 EUR in an inexpensive restaurant.
Overall, expect to spend about 500-800 EUR/month with living costs.
Portugal is a country rich in history and culture that has greatly influenced the world. More than just a sunny Mediterranean tourist destination, Portugal has become in recent years a great place to pursue quality higher education. University of Coimbra, Portugal's oldest university, dates from 1290, and is the 9th oldest university in the world.
With a diverse and developed economy, the most thriving sectors in Portugal are aerospace industry, biotechnology, automotive, financial services, tourism, and agriculture. Although Portuguese is the official language, you will encounter many people who speak good English, French or Spanish.
Portugal is a welcoming country, driven by innovative academics and research, inviting students worldwide to enrich their knowledge in its universities.
Throughout Portugal, you can visit splendid cultural and natural sites, from numerous museums and cathedrals to wonderful beaches and mountains.
Here are some attractions worth seeing in Portugal: