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Best Universities and Top Master´s Programs in Portugal

24 de April, 2024

Best Universities and Top Master´s Programs in Portugal

Discover the best universities in Portugal, explore the rankings, and choose where to pursue your master's degree in the country.
Reading: 10 min

Portugal offers some of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Europe, attracting students from around the world with its quality of education and innovative courses. To help you choose the best institution for your academic and professional ambitions, we present an overview of the best universities in Portugal in 2024, based on detailed statistics and prestigious rankings. We’ll also present the top master’s programs currently in the spotlight in the country.

Discover also how to obtain your student visa in Portugal. Studying in Portugal is one of the simplest and cheapest paths to Portuguese citizenship, as the country grants the possibility of becoming a national after 5 years of residency in Portugal.

Top universities in Portugal

Home to centuries-old universities, Portugal has a great tradition in studies of architecture, engineering, economics, communication, law, literature, medicine, and biological sciences.

The University of Lisbon and the University of Porto are often at the top of famous rankings and stand out not only for academic excellence but also for offering courses in areas like Information Technology and Engineering.

Another prestigious institution is the University of Coimbra, which has been operating for over 720 years and has hosted illustrious figures from history as students or professors, including:

  • Writers Eça de Queirós and Luis Vaz de Camões;
  • The Patriarch of Brazilian Independence, José Bonifácio;
  • German scientist Christopher Clavius;
  • Diplomat D. Luís da Cunha;
  • Physician and poet Domitila de Carvalho;
  • Classicist Maria Helena da Rocha Pereira;
  • Physician Garcia de Orta,
  • Six of the nine non-military Portuguese presidents, such as Sidónio Pais and Bernadido Machado.

Read also: How to do your master’s in Portugal

Portuguese university rankings 2024

There are various global rankings that assess the quality of university education. Among the most well-known are: the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. The list below refers to the QS World University Rankings:

  • University of Porto – 253rd position;
  • University of Lisbon – 266th position;
  • University of Aveiro – 344th position;
  • University of Coimbra – 351st position;
  • Nova University of Lisbon – 400th position;
  • University of Minho in Braga and Guimarães – 611-620;
  • ISCTE-IUL – 751-760
  • Portuguese Catholic University – 901-950

University of Porto

Considered the best university in Portugal, the University of Porto offers undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral courses, with management, engineering, and information technology courses being highlights.

Its annual cost is approximately 7,500 euros, offering excellent infrastructure and international exchange opportunities.

University of Lisbon The largest university in the country, the University of Lisbon offers a diverse range of programs in Engineering, Medicine, and Humanities.

With an average tuition fee of 7,000 euros for Engineering courses, it is a valued option due to its internationally renowned faculty and global partnerships. It provides cutting-edge education supported by a vibrant student life.

University of Aveiro

Founded in 1973 and located in the city of Aveiro, one of the most charming cities in Portugal, known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’ due to its canals and traditional boats. The institution has risen rapidly, gaining prominence for bringing innovation and dynamism to its curriculum.

This university has over 60 buildings and nearly a thousand professors, offering more than 120 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The campus includes modern facilities, well-equipped libraries, specialized laboratories, and social spaces.

The courses in Medicine, Law, and Computing are highlights in Aveiro!

University of Coimbra

If you seek tradition, this is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, founded in 1290, being one of the oldest continuously operating universities in the world. It is internationally recognized for its academic tradition, consistently ranked as one of the best universities in Portugal and Europe. Its campus has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013, standing out for its historic architecture, ancient libraries, and traditional classrooms. The institution maintains several academic traditions, including freshmen reception ceremonies, student parties, musical groups, and cultural events that celebrate the university’s history and culture.

Its most prestigious course is Law, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, it also excels in courses like Medicine, Engineering, Literature, Economics, and Architecture.

University of Minho

Closing our special, we have the University of Minho, founded in 1973 and located in the cities of Braga and Guimarães, both in northern Portugal. It offers a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in various fields of knowledge, recognized for its contribution to the country’s scientific and technological development. It is home to one of the best Criminology and Criminal Justice courses in the country, already considered a global reference in the field of studies.

Currently, the University of Minho has about 20 thousand enrolled students. Its reputation is strengthened by partnerships with other internationally renowned institutions and its modern and well-equipped infrastructure.

Cost of studying in Portugal: Tuition Fees

The cost of studying in Portugal can vary significantly depending on the courses and universities. Tuition fees, called ‘propinas’, are usually associated with the number of credits taken each semester. There is also differentiation in fees based on nationality: for Portuguese students, foreign students from another European Union country, and students from outside the EU.

For Portuguese citizens, fees range from 1000€ to 9000€ annually, depending on the course and university. For international students, fees are at least twice as much as those for nationals, and can be three times higher, in the case of public universities. Despite this, studying in Portugal is still cheaper than in many other European countries and certainly cheaper than in the United States!

Comparative Table of Prices*:

Course LevelInstitutionCourseAnnual Tuition Fee (national / international students)*
UndergraduateUniversity of LisbonBachelor’s in Architecture€7,000 / €14,000
UndergraduateUniversity of PortoBachelor’s in Law€1,000 / €2,000
UndergraduateUniversity of MinhoBachelor’s in Psychology€700 / €6,500
Master’sUniversity of CoimbraMaster’s in Civil Engineering€700 / €2,000
Master’sUniversity of AlgarveMarine Biology€1,100 / €4,000
Master’sUniversity of Beira InteriorMaster’s in Biochemistry€700 / €5,000
Master’sLusophone University (private)Master’s in Civil Engineering€3,500 (flat rate)
Master’sUniversity of AveiroMaster’s in Psychology€3,500 / €5,000
Ph.D.University of PortoPh.D. in Physical Education€2,750 / €6,000
Ph.D.Nova University of LisbonPh.D. in Education€2,700 / €3,000
Ph.D.University of PortoPh.D. in Communication Sciences€1,500 / €5,000
*Approximate values disclosed on the websites of each university

Why do foreigners choose to live in Portugal?

In 2022, approximately 800,000 foreigners citizens lived in Portugal. A report released by Pordata shows that the top ten nationalities present in Portugal are from:

  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Cape Verde
  • Italy
  • India
  • Romania
  • Ukraine
  • France
  • Angola
  • China

The increase in the foreign population is reflected in the education system, with the number of enrolled immigrants doubling in five years, reaching 105,955 in the academic year 2021/22. In the first cycle, one in ten children is foreign, and one-third of doctoral students are immigrants.

About 68% of foreigners reside in Lisbon, Cascais, Porto, Faro, Loulé, Lagos, and Setúbal.

Explore here the good and cheap cities to live in Portugal!

Best master’s and MBA programs in Portugal

The Eduniversal Ranking Best Masters & MBAs 2024 classifies 5,820 courses in 56 scientific areas, analyzing over 20,000 programs across nine geographical zones and countries. In Portugal, some of the top master’s programs and their respective universities according to the field of study are:

Accounting and Management Control:
Master’s in Accounting and Management Control
Faculty of Economics, University of Porto – School of Economics and Management, University of Porto

International Law:
Law in a European Global Context
Catolica Global School of Law – Portuguese Catholic University

Business Communication:
Postgraduate in Business Communication
Porto Business School – University of Porto

Digital Marketing
Postgraduate in Digital Marketing and Analytics
NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS) – Nova University of Lisbon

Entrepreneurship
Master’s in Management – Specialization in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Nova School of Business and Economics – Nova University of Lisbon

Human Resources Management
Master’s in Management – Specialization in Human Resources Management
Nova School of Business and Economics – Nova University of Lisbon
Postgraduate in Personnel Management
Porto Business School – University of Porto

Marketing
Master’s in Management – Specialization in Marketing
Nova School of Business and Economics – Nova University of Lisbon

Innovation
Postgraduate in Project Management
Porto Business School – University of Porto

Economics
Master’s in Economics
Nova School of Business and Economics – Nova University of Lisbon
Master’s in Economics – Specialization in Public Policies
Nova School of Business and Economics – Nova University of Lisbon

Public Health
Master’s in Health Care Economics and Management
Faculty of Economics, University of Porto – University of Porto

Public Administration
MPA (Master in Public Administration)
Institute of Social and Political Sciences (ISCSP) – University of Lisbon

Tourism
Postgraduate in Tourism and Hotel Management
Porto Business School – University of Porto

Law in Technology
Law in a Digital Economy
Catolica Global School of Law – Portuguese Catholic University

Data Analysis
Master’s in Data Science and Advanced Analytics
NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS) – Nova University of Lisbon

Other top master’s programs in Portugal

Master’s in Law – University of Coimbra
Description: This master’s provides comprehensive training in law, focusing on areas such as civil law, criminal law, administrative law, and international law.

Master’s in Computer Engineering – Instituto Superior Técnico
Description: This master’s offers comprehensive training in computer engineering, focusing on areas such as software, hardware, networks, and artificial intelligence.

Master’s in Architecture – University of Porto
Description: This master’s offers comprehensive training in architecture, focusing on areas such as design, urban planning, sustainability, and cultural heritage.

Master’s in Biotechnology – Portuguese Catholic University
Description: This master’s offers comprehensive training in biotechnology, focusing on areas such as genetic engineering, molecular biology, bioprocessing, and biomedicine.

Master’s in Tourism – University of Algarve
Description: This master’s offers comprehensive training in tourism, focusing on areas such as destination management, tourism marketing, development of tourism products, and sustainability.

Master’s in Marine and Coastal Systems – University of Algarve
Description: Aims to train highly qualified professionals to work in areas such as research, environmental management, coastal development, aquaculture and mariculture, marine conservation, and related public policies. Located in the Algarve region with rich biodiversity, it allows students to conduct field studies.

Master’s in Psychology – University of Minho
Description: This master’s offers comprehensive training in psychology, focusing on areas such as clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and neuroscience.

Best MBA course in Portugal

The Lisbon MBA Católica|Nova, a program by the joint-venture between CATÓLICA-LISBON and NOVA SBE, ranks 74th globally and 24th in Europe according to the Financial Times Global MBA ranking 2024. The international MBA program in Portugal stands out globally, ranked 4th in the world for “international course experience.” This is driven by partnerships with leading business schools and exchange programs with other MBAs, including an immersion at the renowned MIT Sloan School of Management. Additionally, the program excels in career progression, with graduates experiencing an 81% salary increase three years after graduation, with an average gross annual salary of $120,575. The International MBA also boasts a high employability rate of 91% three months after program completion. Diversity is a key pillar, with an average of 60% international students and 40% women, bringing a variety of professional and academic experiences.

Where to study in Portugal?

Lisbon

A favorite among 18 to 40-year-olds, the Portuguese capital is the largest city in the country and offers great employment opportunities, along with various cultural and artistic attractions.

In addition to its strong cultural presence, the city’s strengths lie in education, safety, and healthcare. Public transportation is also of excellent quality, often eliminating the need to rent or own a car.

Recommended neighborhoods to live in: Belém, Campo de Ourique, Chiado, Parque das Nações, and Alfama.

Faro

Living in Portugal, especially in the Algarve region where Faro is located, means experiencing long summers, calm beaches, and a Mediterranean climate.

Hosting one of the country’s largest airports, Faro is considered the gateway to the region and a tourist hub. Consequently, the city’s main job opportunities are tied to tourism, especially in hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Despite having an older population, receiving accolades such as the best city to retire in Portugal, the city also hosts many students as it is home to the University of Algarve, one of Portugal’s most sought-after universities!

Setúbal

For those looking to save a bit while not giving up on living or working in Lisbon, Setúbal is a great option. Located about 50km from the capital, the region has a strong port activity and has strengthened its infrastructure in recent years, especially in education and healthcare.

To travel between cities, residents cross the famous Ponte 25 de Abril daily, taking an average of 50 minutes to complete the journey.

The cost of living in each neighborhood of Setúbal doesn’t vary much, but Monte Belo is considered the area with the most infrastructure and newer buildings, increasing rental prices.

Consider living in Bonfim, Pinheirinhos, or Terroa, more accessible and equally enjoyable areas!

Porto

A cultural and gastronomic hub, the city of Porto enchants with its architecture and fantastic landscapes. Its proximity to beaches can be a great attraction despite the high cost of rent in the city.

The high cost of living in the city is due to its high influx of tourists, which also causes traffic congestion and a shortage of rental properties.

The most sought-after places to live in the city are: Bonfim, São Nicolau, Ribeira, Aldoar, and Cedofeita.

Coimbra

A historically university city, Coimbra is one of Portugal’s most important cities due to its infrastructure and organization. It is estimated that about 25% of the population studies at the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290 and the oldest in the country.

With a very strong job market in industrial areas, technology services, and healthcare, the city is considered one of the best places to live in Portugal and one of the closest to certain regions of Brazil in terms of climate, mainly due to its proximity to mountains and the sea.

The best neighborhoods to live in Coimbra are Vale das Flores, Solum, and Santa Clara.

Sintra

A village located in the metropolitan area near Lisbon, Sintra is also a “dormitory city,” similar to Setúbal. With a 30km distance from the capital, the train journey between the two cities takes about 40 minutes.

The city’s environment combines a historic center that seems frozen in time with technological advancements that place the city in the highest ranks of healthcare and education development in the country.

The most classic neighborhoods in the city are Linhó, Portela de Sintra, Abrunheira, Albarraque, Alcabideche, and Fitares.

Are you even more excited to live in Portugal? Don’t forget to research more information on our website. Learn how to study in Portugal, how to obtain your student visa, good and cheap cities to live in, the cost of living in the country, and much more. If you’re ready to apply for your visa or obtain any documentation in Portugal, Atlantic Bridge can help you. Click here and fill out our form so one of our specialists can contact you!

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Atlantic Bridge

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