Studying Abroad

Studying in Portugal

Uni Compare  · Jun 8th 2021

Portugal is a beautiful country and has a long history when it comes to higher education.

Portuguese flag

If students opt to study in the country the variety of degree courses will appeal to all. The tuition fees are reasonable and living costs are relatively low making Portugal an attractive study destination in mainland Europe.

Portuguese is also the third most widely spoken European language in the world, and the majority of degree courses in the country are taught in the language, therefore fluency will help you not only settle in your new surroundings but will aid how comfortable you are during your studies as well as look impressive on your student CV when you return back home.

A lot of educational institutions are located near the coast, and the view along with the beaches are a perfect place to relax after studying. If you enjoy sports, then you’re in for a treat, because Portugal has some of the best football and surfing activities you can hope for!

Portuguese Education

Recently, Portugal’s education system has undergone a transformation in order to comply with the Bologna process – which aims to make European qualifications easily comparable. Higher education can either be private or public, and is separated into two main bodies:

  • Universities: With teaching methods traditionally based on theory and research. Degrees such as medicine, natural sciences, law, psychology, and economics are taught here.
  • Polytechnics: Provide vocational training that can lead into a profession. Nursing, accounting, healthcare, and teaching degrees are offered at these institutions.

Private higher education has 33 universities and 54 polytechnics, while public institutions are made up of 14 universities and 20 polytechnics as well as six military/police academies. Educational institutions in Portugal are all able to set their own separate fees for students looking to study abroad in Portugal.

Bachelors/First cycle (Licenciado), Masters/Second cycle (Mestre) and PhDs/third cycle (doutor) degrees are available. First and second cycle degrees can be studied and completed at university and polytechnic institutions. The Portuguese academic year is made up of two semesters or terms, the first term is between September and January while the second semester runs from February until June.

What do I need to get into a Portuguese University?

Universities in Portugal may ask prospective students to sit admissions tests: public universities use a national exam whilst private institutions set their own. This is so the universities can see what level students are currently at and test their knowledge and ability. To gain admission on to a Bachelor's degree programme, students need a Secondary School Leaving certificate, and we advise students to check with the individual institution to check on any additional prerequisites for their desired course abroad.

Although the number of degree courses being taught in English within the EU are increasing, most lectures may be conducted in Portuguese, therefore, unless you have a comfortable grasp of the language before you apply or have no issues overcoming the country’s obvious language barrier, language lessons or degree courses are worth pursuing.

\ Studying in Portugal.

How much will it cost me to study in Portugal?

EU citizens studying in Portugal will have the same conditions as nationals meaning EU or UK students are not required to pay higher course fees and are also entitled to apply for any grants, scholarships and bursaries available to aid tuition fees.

Both public and private institutions charge tuition fees, however, the cost of study is rather low in comparison to the UK or other European countries. If students attend a public university in Portugal, the fees are payable annually and at private universities students pay the fees monthly. To find out more about tuition fees, students should research and contact their desired individual institutions.

Will I get funding to study in Portugal?

Students from the UK and EU are eligible to apply for grants, and in the same as Portuguese students.

The grants available will be from individual institutions, and students must apply to a course or university that is recognised by the Portuguese Ministry of Education to be eligible. Ploteus has a number of different scholarships and grants that are available for students if they need them.

Will I need a student visa to study in Portugal?

Portugal is actually a part of the Schengen Area, which is made up of 26 European countries which have eliminated internal border controls – when entering countries next to each other. Therefore, EU citizens and individuals from the EEA and Switzerland only need an identity card to enter Portugal – a passport will also suffice.

To live in Portugal you will need to provide proof that you are studying on a course that is a part of an approved university or institution, have enough income to live on without needing to live off the government (this can be made up of savings or part-time work) and full health insurance cover.

Health insurance can be covered by your home country, and for UK citizens that means the EHIC card but we also advise purchasing extra travel insurance for extra coverage.

It’s important to have a study abroad back up plan, so search more than a couple of universities in Portugal but just as important, check out other countries, keep your options open!

Cost of living in Portugal for students

One thing students need to research well before taking the leap of studying abroad is the cost of living in that desired country. We have average costs for everyday items to get you started below:

Type Price in Portugal UK equivalent
Dining out per-meal €8.00 £6.88
McDonalds (per-meal) €6.00 £5.16
Beer €2.00 £1.72
Coke €1.32 £1.14
Water €0.95 £0.82
Milk €0.63 £0.54
Bread €1.09 £0.94
Bus ticket (one-way) €1.60 £1.38
Bus ticket (monthly) €40.00 £34.41
Utilities €101.86 £87.63
Internet (60+ mpbs) €33.36 £28.70
Cinema €7.00 £6.02
Rent (Apartment: 1 bedroom) in City Centre) per-month €584.77 £503.07

*All prices correct at the time of publication.

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