Portugal offers a mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful coastline and cities packed with amazing historic interest and immersive cultural experiences. Yeah, Portugal – the westernmost country in mainland Europe – is indeed one of the continent’s most attractive destinations. Beside the many historic centres and areas of natural beauty, the country is equally popular for its contemporary culture and nightlife.
Say you are a fan of rock and music, you’ll find in the main cities along the coast a remarkable number of festivals and events to suit your tastes. But if this isn’t your thing, fear not, because the diverse student communities in Portugal’s major cities will ensure there’s always something to get involved in. So, whether you’re a food lover, hiker, music fanatic, sight-seer or history buff, choosing to study in Portugal is a great option.
Application to Universities in Portugal
Note that all undergraduate applications to study in Portugal are done through a centralized online system, known as Candidatura Online, which allows applicants to pre-select up to six program in order of preference. In addition to submitting evidence of your secondary level qualifications, you are likely to need to sit an entrance examination in your home country; public universities use the national exam, while private universities have their own. If studying in Portuguese (as is likely) you’ll need to prove your proficiency in the language.
Prospective graduate-level students should apply directly to the universities in Portugal they wish to study at, submitting all the required documents, including proof of previous qualifications.
Student Visa Requirements
Those from countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland who intend to study in Portugal for longer than three months must apply for a residence visa (visto para residencia) before entering the country. This can be applied for through your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate, and requires:
- Passport valid for at least three months after the end of your course;
- A completed application form;
- Letter of acceptance from a Portuguese university;
- Academic transcript;
- Photocopy of key passport pages;
- Three passport-sized photos;
- Police record of good conduct;
- Copy of health insurance;
- Proof of sufficient funds – either a bank statement or grant/scholarship.
Your visa will cost a maximum of €170 (~US$190) and will take two or three months to be issued, so you should apply in good time. Students from within the EU should apply for an EU citizen residence card within four months of arriving in Portugal, and pay a small fee for this.
Tuition fees are set by different Portuguese universities.Public institutions are likely to charge less than private universities. Tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s degrees average around €950-1,250 per year (~US$1,075-1,415) while fees for doctorate programs are around €2,500-3,000 per year (~US$2,830-3,400).
Although the cost of living in Portugal has increased in recent years, it’s still a relatively affordable place to live. Accommodation will be your biggest monthly spend, and the cheapest option is to live in your university’s halls of residence, which is likely to cost between €165-230 (~US$190-260) a month, whereas renting an apartment in private accommodation could cost in the region of €400 (~US$450) each month.
To cover all of your living expenses, you will need around €7,800-10,200 (~US$8,830-11,550) a year, but you may wish to budget more for life in large cities such as Lisbon.
Students from the EU can work for up to 20 hours per week during semesters, and full-time during semester breaks.
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