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Study in Portugal

Graduate programs in Portugal

Situated on Europe’s western most tip, Portugal is an inexpensive but desirable place to study a postgraduate program. Always a hotbed of education, Portugal created its first university in 1290, making it the ninth oldest provider of university education in the world.

With cheap tuition fees, an old world charm and new world adventure, Portugal is the perfect European country in which to study a graduate program.

Population: 10,560,000

Education overview

Portugal is traditionally a popular destination for international students, particularly those from former colonies such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.
Higher education in Portugal is typically divided into two bodies:

  • Universities – Teaching based on academic subjects, theory and research. Expect to study subjects such as medicine, law, economics and sciences.

  • Polytechnics – Institutions aimed at providing vocational training that lead to a particular profession. Expect to study subjects like nursing, teaching and accounting.

Portugal is home to 16 public universities, with almost half of them (7) being in main city and capital Lisbon. Most universities will ask you to sit an entrance exam before starting a graduate program in Portugal, as well as asking you to show proof of an internationally recognised undergraduate qualification.

Most graduate programs in Portugal will be taught in Portuguese, so a good grasp of the language is vital of you want to study here.

Immigration and visas in Portugal

EU students who want to study a graduate program in Portugal will be able to do so under the terms of the EU free movement. Non-EU students will have to apply for a study visa, with rules and regulations depending on the country you are applying from. In all cases your chosen university should be able to help you through the process.

As a guide, all students will have to demonstrate the following regardless of nationality:

  • You have a confirmed place on a course at a recognised education institution
  • You are studying for more than three month
  • You have paid all relevant visa fees
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself
  • You have comprehensive health insurance cover

Life in Portugal

Portugal is one of Europe’s most affordable countries, with plenty to see and do outside of your studies. Most of its universities are located near a beach, which throws up plenty of images of relaxing on beaches and swimming at weekends.

Culture is also a big part of life in Portugal. Entry to museums, gigs and galleries are normally much cheaper than most other European countries, while food – especially seafood – plays a big part in life here.

Try listening to some traditional Fado music to get a taste for Portugal’s melodic approach to life.

Working in Portugal

Portugal’s economy has been one of the hardest hit in Europe by the global recession, with the country experience high unemployment and debt. Despite bailouts by the European Union, 2013 saw the end of a three year aid program worth €78 billion and unemployment set to peak at 18.5% in 2014.

Portugal’s economy has traditionally been based around agriculture and farming, with forestry also playing an important role. However, in recent years Portugal has diversified to include modern technology-based industries and aerospace. As ever, tourism remains a major employer of graduates in Portugal.


Many international students coming to live in Portugal will choose to live in their own private accommodation, as rental prices in Portugal are often lower than many other European countries. However, universities do offer international students dedicated university accommodation. As a guide, a rented flat in Portugal will cost around €400 per month, although it may be more in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto.

Climate in Portugal

Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe and typically gets between 2,500-3,200 hours of sunshine each year. The country has a typically Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. It’s not unusual for some regions to see temperatures above 40C during the main summer months of June to August.


Portugal’s two major cities of Lisbon and Porto both have metro systems that are inexpensive and help students to get around cheaply, while every city has decent public transport systems and taxi services.

Portugal’s three international airports are based near the cities of Porto, Faro and Lisbon.


The currency of Portugal is the Euro.

What to do next

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