Portugal has so many beautiful and interesting features that make international students simply fall in love with this country once they come here for their study experience. For one thing, you enjoy amazing weather, beautiful beaches and landscapes, lovely cuisine and fine wines.
Secondly, Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, with low living costs, and Portuguese universities offer numerous quality study programmes while charging affordable tuition fees.
1. University tuition fees in Portugal
Tuition costs in public universities
Generally, public universities are cheaper, but some private universities provide discounts of up to 100% of the lecture fees according to students’ evaluation marks. One thing you should remember is that if you attend a public university, fees are payable annually and at most private universities you will have to pay a part of the total tuition monthly.
Most Portuguese universities charge higher tuition fees to non-EU/EEA students.
Additionally, public universities decide their own level of tuition fees (propinas), which in some cases, are higher than the minimum recommendation.
Average tuition prices:
- Bachelor and Master programmes: between 950 and 1,250 EUR/year
- PhD courses: fees can lead to approximately 2,500 – 3,000 EUR per academic year.
- An exception is Coimbra city, where tuition fees are smaller, around 700 EUR/year.
Tuition costs in private universities
Generally, the tuition fees in private universities vary from 3,323 and 3,872 EUR/year for any degree level.
Each student has to pay a registration fee of about 25 to 35 EUR.
Most affordable universities in Portugal
Here is a list of Portuguese universities with some of the most affordable tuition fees:
- Catholic University of Portugal – Porto – average tuition fees 700 EUR/year
- Polytechnic Institute of Bragança – average tuition fees 1,050 EUR/year
- Polytechnic Institute of Leiria – average tuition fees 1,150 EUR/year
- Polytechnic of Tomar – average tuition fees 1,200-1,400 EUR/year
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities
Check average tuition fees at the top-ranked Portuguese universities:
- University of Aveiro – average tuition fees 5,000 EUR/year
- University of Coimbra – average tuition fees 1,500-1,800 EUR/year.
- University of Lisbon – average tuition fees 2,500 EUR/year.
- University of Porto – average tuition fees 3,000 – 4,500 EUR/year.
2. Living expenses for students in Portugal
As already mentioned, Portugal is considered to be one of the cheapest countries in Europe. Of course, living costs vary in the different regions, but the average is between 650 and 850 EUR per month. These sums are meant to cover for all your expenditures: accommodation, food, public transportation and other costs.
Here is a cost estimator for living costs in Portugal.
Accommodation costs in Portugal are pretty much in line with the international average, so especially if you choose or can get a place in halls of residence, you won’t spend a big amount on housing.
Here is a list of the most common housing options:
- Students halls of residence – between 165 and 230 EUR/month for a single room.
- Rent apartment – one-bedroom apartment is between 330 and 450 EUR/month.
- Homestay – around 500 EUR/month, with breakfast included.
Prices for food and drink are usually not so different throughout Portugal. For your monthly food bills from local groceries, you would spend on average 120 EUR. Some of the cheapest supermarkets in Portugal are Jumbo, Continente/Modelo, Lidl and Pingo Doce.
Another good option for cheap food are university canteens, where you can get a meal for around 2-4 EUR. In a small restaurant, even in Lisbon, you can get a meal for 5 – 6 EUR. A dinner will be more expensive as expected, but it will not cost more than 15 EUR, including the drinks as well.
Drinking choices in Portugal are varied as well – from beer and sangria, considered as cheap drinks more or less to so typical for Portugal port wines and other winery products. You can get a beer or coffee for 1 – 1,5 EUR and up to 5 EUR for a cocktail.
A one-way ticket for local transport is 1,3 EUR, while a monthly fare for public transportation for students in Portugal is around 35 EUR/month.
- In most cities, the metro card costs around 25 EUR/month.
- In some small cities in Portugal or depending on where you stay, you won’t have to pay for transportation, except for some rare occasions, as you can easily wander around and explore the city by foot.
- You can easily get around Portugal and visit splendid sights by train. Prices start from 25 EUR for a trip within the country.
- In the 1st Sunday of each month, students have free access to numerous museums in Lisbon.
- In Porto, you can get an urban train weekly pass at the cost of between 14 and 20 EUR.
3. Scholarships in Portugal
Portugal equally offers grants and government-funded scholarships to both EU and non-EU students. In order to be eligible for a grant, you must apply to a university that is recognised by the Portuguese Ministry of Education.
Great variety of scholarships is offered to students, mostly forwarded to the Master students, but one can find some financial aid for the other degrees as well. Foundations and research institutions also offer practical experience and internships to students.
Government and some chambers or associations are also offering different kind of aids – either for the whole period of studies or just an annual with an option for renewal. There are special financial aids for scientists with pre-specified topic of research and as well for women in science (regardless the domain).
Check out a few institutions offering scholarships or financing:
- DGES – scholarships, including merit scholarships and student loans in both public and private universities
- FCT – offers several funding opportunities to doctoral students.
- Prémio Calouste Gulbenkian – provides scholarship opportunities to:
a) graduate students pursuing research in Armenian studies,
b) students involved in research projects in Portuguese language and culture
- Instituto Camões - offers numerous scholarships
Find and view scholarship opportunities in Portugal.