How to Study in Portugal: Complete Guide to Study in the Country

19 de January, 2023

How to Study in Portugal: Complete Guide to Study in the Country

If studying in Portugal is in your plans, it is not difficult to get a place at a good university in the country!
Reading: 8 min

If studying in Portugal is in your plans, know that it is not difficult to get a place at a good university in the country! But there are many doubts, from the application to the required documents and the process of moving. For this reason, we have prepared a special content to answer all these doubts.

How to study in Portugal for free?You must be selected to receive a scholarship, which can be from Brazil, Portugal, or Europe.
How can I study in Portugal using my Enem score?It is necessary to apply to one of the 51 Portuguese universities that accept Enem scores in the selection process.
How much does it cost to study in Portugal?Between 1,500€ and 10,000€ per year. The amounts depend on the course, the university (there is a difference in prices between public and private) and the student’s situation (whether or not they have European citizenship).

How to study in Portugal?

We have prepared a basic step by step guide to study in Portugal, and during this article we will go deeper into the subject, check it out below:

1. Search for a university and course of your choice

First you should research the universities, start with the best known institutions, read about the courses and analyze the course schedule to make sure it is what you are looking for.

2. Analyze the cost of tuition and the cost of living in the city

Prices vary greatly depending on the college, even within a university each course has different prices for international students. Evaluate the costs of your intended university, but also consider the costs of living in the cities. In larger cities, such as Porto and Lisbon, it is more expensive to live.

3. Be aware of the application deadlines on the university’s website

Application processes begin in January, 9 months before the start of the academic year. So, in December, start looking for the calendars of your intended universities, write down the dates and set reminders so that you don’t miss any deadlines.

Remember that the ideal time to apply is the first phase, still in January/February, until the result is out you will have about 6 months to apply for the visa. Avoid leaving it to the last minute.

4. If approved, apply for a student visa

The student visa is a prerequisite for those without European citizenship. Therefore, as soon as you receive the university’s acceptance, apply for the visa. The list of documents is quite long, so it is good to separate the necessary documents in advance.

5. Leave everything prepared to embark for Portugal

Acceptance letter and study visa in hand, it is time to embark. The first few months can be hectic, you will need to find a place to live, apply for the Residence Permit, and provide documents such as the NIF and enrollment in the Health Center. But be sure to experience the city and enjoy the rest of the summer if you arrive in August/September.
Now that you know how the process works, let’s get down to details.

Do you want to live in Europe?

Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.

What do I need to study in Portugal?

See the list of essential documents:

  • Passport, preferably valid for more than 2 years;
  • Student visa, which must be applied for as soon as you receive acceptance from the Portuguese university;
  • Financial planning is essential for a move abroad. A move to study is a life project, it will be at least 2 years abroad, which requires savings or someone who is willing to pay for it;
  • Emotional planning is an essential item when moving to another country. You will be away from your family, with a few friends to support you in your difficult moments, you have to consider the distance and the costs of going to Brazil.

How to apply to college in Portugal

There are two ways that depend on whether or not you have European citizenship.

For those with European/Portuguese citizenship

To take a degree in Portugal you must take the National Access Competition. The exam is held annually and will be used as a ranking for entry to the university.

The grade of the high school, attended abroad, will also be considered. To do so, it is necessary to go to a high school in Portugal, with your school transcript, in order to make the equivalence of the grades. These grades are also used in the university’s selection process.

After weighing the two scores, you should apply to the desired university and you will compete normally with Portuguese students.

If you have European citizenship other than Portuguese (like Italian, Spanish, etc.), you can apply normally without having to take the National Access Competition, and you will pay the same fees as a national student.

For those without European citizenship

There are three ways to enter university in Portugal without Enem and without European citizenship. The first is by doing the Zero Year, offered by the New University of Lisbon, for example. It consists of a preparatory period for university entrance.

Another way is to take the university-specific exams. Not all institutions conduct direct exams, so you should research whether the university of your interest has this system. Often it is enough to apply, have a resume analysis and interview to apply. This way you will pay the tuition fees as a CPLP or international student (we will explain below).

The third possibility is to live in Portugal legally for 2 years or to have Equal Status before applying and take the National Competition normally and compete with Portuguese students.

The most important thing is to visit the website of the intended university to check the admission conditions, because there is no unified process.

How much does it cost to study in Portugal?

Between 1,500 and 10,000 euros per school year.

The cost of studying in Portugal will depend especially on the educational institution chosen. The University of Porto, for example, is usually cheaper than most Portuguese institutions.

This is because the educational institution applies a discount for CPLP – Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa – students, which makes tuition up to 45% cheaper than for international students.

To give you an idea of the costs, we have listed below some of the most popular courses to study in Portugal. The indicated values are the ones applied to Brazilian students, already with the respective discounts.

The values were consulted in January 2023 on the websites of the universities themselves:


InstitutionCourseTuition (yearly)
University of LisbonBachelor of Architecture7.000€
University of PortoBachelor of Laws1.925€
Catholic University (private)Degree in Economics5.295€

Master’s Degree

Institution Course Tuition (yearly)
University of PortoMaster in Communication Sciences2.200€
University of Beira InteriorMaster in Biochemistry1.500€
Lusófona University (private)Master in Civil Engineering3.470€


Institution Course Tuition (yearly)
University of LisbonPhD in Fine Arts2.750€ (1st year)/1.500€ (other years)
University of CoimbraPhD in Law7.000€
New University of LisbonDoctorate in Education2.500€
studying in Portugal queima das fitas
The Queima das Fitas procession is part of the classic end-of-year festivities at Portuguese universities.

How to study for free in Portugal?

It is possible to study for free in Portugal through scholarships from Brazil, Portugal, or Europe.

Scholarships in Portugal offered by Brazil

In Brazil, generally the scholarships are for exchange periods, one of the best known is the Santander Universities scholarship. The scholarship consists of financial aid to pay for air fares and accommodation for a period of 6 months. To apply, your university in Brazil must have a partnership with the bank.

Scholarships in Portugal from Portuguese institutions

There are some scholarship options available from Portuguese institutions. At the University of Coimbra, for example, international students can apply for scholarships, just by having a score above 160 (on the Portuguese scale) to be eligible.

Like the University of Coimbra, there are several others that offer similar scholarship programs. All you have to do is search the institution’s website for the opportunities offered.

European scholarships to study in Portugal

The European Union also provides scholarships for foreign students. Generally the scholarships are for mobility periods, but they can be an alternative even for those who are already studying in Portugal, with an opportunity to do periods outside the country, paid with a scholarship by the Erasmus program.

Is there any way to transfer college to Portugal?

Yes, you should check the information and requirements of the college in which you intend to enroll.

The institutions allocate places for transfer or, if you prefer, you can try a normal application. The grades of each subject already taken in Brazil are considered, as well as the subjects’ menus, to analyze what can be eliminated. The university of origin is also evaluated in the process.

Before making the transfer it is good to analyze the situation well, because it is required that you perform at least 50% of the course in Portugal. That is, if you have already passed half of the course in Brazil, it may not be a good option, since the course may last longer than expected.

Top Universities in Portugal

The best universities in Portugal in 2023, according to the QS World University Rankingsare:

  • University of Porto – 274th position;
  • University of Lisbon – 335th position;
  • Universidade Nova de Lisboa – 369th position;
  • University of Coimbra – 438th position;
  • Aveiro University – 501-510;
  • University of Minho, in Braga and Guimarães – 591-600;
  • Portuguese Catholic University, in Lisbon – 801-1.000.

Do you need a visa to study in Portugal?

Yes, if you do not have European citizenship, a study visa is essential for moving to Portugal. The request must be made as soon as you receive the acceptance from the Portuguese institution, so get the necessary documents as soon as possible. If you need help to get your study visa in Portugal, Atlantic Bridge can help you. Talk to our consultants.

study in Portugal Lisbon
Universidade Nova de Lisboa is the 3rd best in Portugal according to the QS World University Rankings 2023.

Is it worth studying in Portugal?

Yes, in general it is worth studying in Portugal. The first reason is the quality of education; Portuguese institutions are well evaluated in international rankings, which can be a great differential in the job market.

Another aspect is the financial one, since some colleges are much cheaper in Portugal, especially for those who have Portuguese citizenship. Of course you have to consider the exchange rate, but the values practiced often do not compare to renowned private universities in Brazil.

The universities have people from various countries, mostly European, but there are also Africans, Asians, etc. Living with people from various countries is a good opportunity to broaden horizons and experience a new world.

A valued resume also enters into this account. Having an undergraduate or master’s degree abroad can add a lot of value to your résumé and open doors in large companies that seek professionals with experience abroad.

Article originally published on our partner site Euro Dicas.



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