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.
What to study in Portugal
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:
- Master’s degrees in International Business in Portugal
- Master’s degrees in Finance in Portugal
- Master’s degrees in Information Sciences in Portugal
- Master’s degrees in General Engineering in Portugal
Major cities 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:
Which universities to attend in Portugal
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:
- University of Porto
- Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics
- Polytechnic of Leiria
- Polytechnic Institute of Bragança
- ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management
How to apply to 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, 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!
Make sure you qualify for a Portuguese 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:
What is it like to study in Portugal
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.