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Entry Requirements for Universities in Portugal

Applying to an international university can be an overwhelming or even daunting prospect. Follow these six key strategies for applying to universities abroad, and read on below to discover how to make your application to a Portuguese university shine. 

For studies at the undergraduate level, applications to Portuguese universities are made through the centralized online portal Candidatura Online. Applicants may select six universities to apply to and rank them in order of preference. For graduate and postgraduate studies, students should apply directly on the website of their chosen university and may be required to translate their documentation into Portuguese if requested by the institution.

Each year, the Portuguese Ministry of Education publishes the number of study places (vagas) available at public and private universities and polytechnics. Students are then ranked on their grade point average for access to limited places. It is therefore worth checking the minimum passing grade for your chosen institution/course before applying.

Portuguese universities are well-known for converting foreign qualifications to Portuguese entry requirements. Therefore, educational qualifications from your home country are usually enough for your application – grades are converted to the Portuguese points system by the institution you’re applying to.

There are typically three rounds of applications for students in Portugal, as courses can begin either in the Fall or Spring semesters. You should check with your chosen institution as deadlines can differ, but usually the first round of applications ends in April-May, the second in June-July and the third in August-September. You should receive a response from the university one or two months after the application deadline.

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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:

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. 

Learn more about studying abroad in Portugal:

Overview of Portugal

Over 50,000 international students choose Portugal as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

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Education System

The higher education in Portugal follows the traditional three-cycle format, split into undergraduate (Bachelor’s), graduate (Master’s) and postgraduate (Doctorate) certifications. Take a minute to learn more.

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Student Visas

The student visa requirements for studying Portugal depend on your nationality. The rules differ for EU/EEA nationals and non-EU/EEA nationals. Read here to learn more about what you might need.

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Housing & Living Costs

Compared to many other European nations, students who choose Portugal as their study abroad destination can look forward to a more budget-friendly experience overall.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Higher education institutions in Portugal independently choose how much they want to charge both national and international students. Take a look at some of these costs here.

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Language & Culture

With about 260 million speakers worldwide, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!

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Interested in studying in Portugal? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Portugal today!

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Last update: 30 Dec 2019

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Language & Culture in Portugal

With about 260 million speakers worldwide, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere and the second most spoken romance language after Spanish. Portuguese is the sole official language of Portugal and Brazil, as well as former colonial territories such as Guinea-Bissau and Angola.
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