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Education System in Portugal

Study in Portugal follows the Europe-wide model of dividing higher education into three cycles: Bachelor’s (Licenciado), Master’s (Mestre) and PhD degrees (Doutor). Bachelor’s degrees last between three and four years, Master’s either one or two years and PhDs up to three years. Institutions that provide higher education are categorized according to the areas that they specialize in – universities offer more generic academic degrees, whilst polytechnics provide vocational and professional based training. Portuguese universities can either be public, in which case fees are lower, or private, which charge higher tuition.

Student Visas in Portugal

EU/EEA citizens will only need a valid passport to study in Portugal, however they should apply for a Portuguese residence card within four months of arriving. Non EU/EEA students will need to apply for a visa - those staying for under six months will need a short-stay visa (type C), while those staying longer should apply for a long-stay visa (type D). Students should apply at the Portuguese consulate in their home country, where documentation such as a university acceptance letter, proof of financial resources and proof that you have purchased health insurance may be required.

Housing & Living Costs in Portugal

The cheapest housing option for students is university-owned accommodation, which usually comes to about 165-300 EUR per month and should be applied for through the individual institution. Competition for accommodation is higher than it is elsewhere in Europe, so applying early is advised. Another option for those studying in Portugal is renting a privately-owned apartment – rent is usually no higher than 450 EUR per month, and those wishing to save money can share with roommates. You should budget between 500 and 800 EUR per month for expenditure such as accommodation, food and transport.

Tuition Fees in Portugal

There is no cap on Portuguese tuition fees, only a minimum amount that corresponds to the national minimum wage. Most universities and polytechnics charge more than the minimum, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at public institutions charging 950-1,250 per year, and a PhD costing between 2,500 and 3000 per year. Tuition fees for private institutions is higher, with fees ranging from 2,700-3,120 EUR per year for degrees of all levels. EU and non-EU students who will struggle to meet the cost of studying in Portugal have a number of government-funded scholarships available to them.

Portugal's Culture & Language

With 240 million speakers worldwide, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world and the third most popular in Europe. It is the main language of Portugal and Brazil, as well as being spoken in a number of formerly colonial territories. It is well worth learning some of the language before studying in Portugal – only 34% of the population report being able to speak English, and most Portuguese university courses require a level of proficiency. Don’t worry though - Portuguese is relatively easy for English speakers to pick up!

Entry Requirements for Portuguese Universities

For Bachelor’s degrees, students should apply to their chosen university or polytechnic through Candidatura Online. A transcript of prior educational qualifications will need to be submitted, and non-EU students may be required to take an entrance exam at the Portuguese embassy in their home country. For Master’s and PhD courses, students will need to apply directly to their institution of choice and will also submit proof of previous relevant qualifications. Most courses will require proof of some proficiency in Portuguese, as few courses are exclusively taught in English.


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