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2020-12-23 00:00:59

Study in Portugal: primary, secondary, higher education for foreign students

Study in Portugal: primary, secondary, higher education for foreign students

The set with education in Portugal comes with a sea of bonuses: a high standard of living, comfortable climatic conditions, local flavor and friendliness. Therefore, the country deserves attention. We have collected everything about studying in the country, and, who knows, maybe after reading you will go to gnaw the granite of science on the Iberian Peninsula!


Geography and history

Portugal occupies most of the Iberian Peninsula, located in its southwestern region. This small state has a long history, during which the country has experienced both ups and downs. In the 16th century, it was a great power, and several centuries later found itself in the outskirts of Europe. But Portugal has always had something to be proud of: a large number of outstanding people and their own contribution to world culture.

Climatic conditions

The best part is that good bonuses come with high-quality educational programs in Portugal, and one of them is an environmentally friendly and comfortable environment for living and resting. Educational institutions are often located in resort areas and are located on the ocean. The climate in the country is mild and warm, there is little precipitation in summer, and the average temperature in July does not exceed 25 degrees Celsius. In winter, the temperature is kept at 8-15 degrees Celsius.

Education in Portugal: Key Features

  • Language of instruction = English , Portuguese
  • Currency = €
  • Cost of programs = from 900 € to 6500 € per year
  • Additional costs (food, accommodation, transport) = about € 3000 per year
  • Number of international students = 42,000 foreigners from 167 countries
  • Entrance exams = none
  • Competition of documents = the points of the certificate are taken into account, the level of proficiency in the language of instruction
  • Are there any pre-university training programs = yes
  • Language requirements = B2
  • English = IELTS 6.0-7.0
  • Age requirements = 16+
  • Percentage of receipts = 95%.

Language of instruction

Although English is not the official language in Portugal, the local population speaks it well, and the top educational institutions in Portugal often choose English as their main language of instruction. The reason for this choice is the high demand for English-language programs among both foreigners and locals.

Language classes

The leading language schools in Portugal develop Portuguese and English courses with great care: they meet modern standards and are in no way inferior in quality to neighboring countries. Portuguese is not the most popular language among students, and Portugal is not the most obvious (but in vain!) Choice among students. There are pluses in this: students quickly immerse themselves in the language environment; among foreigners it is easier to forget about the language barrier.

You can learn a language for different purposes, language courses can be with different specifics.

The most popular types of programs:

  • English / Portuguese + leisure: such courses combine business with pleasure, students have a great time at pleasant leisure in their free time
  • Summer camp for children: in the language camp, children actively develop their speaking, listening and writing skills, participate in social activities and entertainment
  • Preparation for university: such courses purposefully prepare children for admission and successful study at a university abroad
  • For work: for specialists of different profiles, this is a chance to acquire the necessary language competence and get a good job in an international environment.

5 facts about Portugal: not to be confused with the Spaniards, admire the style and not be surprised at anything

  1. The Portuguese get very offended when compared to the Spaniards and addressed in Spanish, but otherwise they are friendly and open!
  2. Local cuisine

The national cuisine is known for its diversity: everyone is encouraged to try salted cod, vegetable soup caldu verde and Portuguese port.

  1. Manueline architecture

Portuguese architects have developed the Manuelino style, a special feature of which is the Gothic style, complemented by a large number of decorations.

  1. Contrasts

The Portuguese try to keep up with the times and keep up with the progressive partners in the European Union, so many regions look very modern. At the same time, the locals zealously honor their traditions, in some places it seems to be too much: in some areas, the land is still plowed by oxen and wear exclusively black clothes.

  1. Ethnic diversity

In the northern part of the country, descendants of the Celts and Germanic tribes live, so do not be surprised to meet a large number of people with blue eyes and white skin. In the south, on the other hand, there are people with black eyes and olive skin.

Secondary education in Portugal

Secondary education is compulsory until the age of 18. The basic level (6-15 years) and secondary school (15-18) are distinguished, the latter prepares schoolchildren for universities. Foreigners can choose between public schools and international ones. Private boarding schools in Portugal are elite educational institutions with high-quality training programs and high-comfort living conditions.

Higher education in Portugal

The educational system is represented by public and private universities . In public universities, the cost of education is lower, and with high knowledge of Portuguese, you can apply for free education. Private universities and business schools have more English-language programs and courses in in-demand specialties.


According to international estimates, higher education in Portugal is ranked 23rd in the world, and the best areas for study are economics, management and tourism. The higher education system is focused on Europe, the system of graduation of scientific degrees - bachelor's, master's and PhD. The duration of the programs is 3-5 years.

Master's degree

After completing a master's degree, foreigners can extend their visa for another 6 months in order to find a job. It is quite difficult to find a job due to unemployment in the country, but the diplomas of Portuguese universities are recognized by all countries of the European Union, therefore, graduates have good chances of employment in other countries. Higher chances of finding a job with qualified professionals in the following areas:

  • Information technologies
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Informatics
  • Medicine
  • Exact Sciences.

TOP 5 best public universities:

  1. University of Porto
  2. Universidade Nova de Lisboa (University of Nueva de Lisbon)
  3. University of Coimbra
  4. University of Lisbon (University of Lisbon)
  5. Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (Lisbon School of Economics and Business).


Students with a residence permit can apply for scholarships. Usually, when considering applications, the well-being of the family and academic performance at the university are taken into account. Large companies support research activities, so there are good chances to win a grant from undergraduates and graduate students.

Scholarship Facts:

  • Minimum amount for living in a country that is usually not covered by the scholarship: 650 euros
  • Minimum Language Proficiency Requirements for the Scholarship: IELTS 7.0
  • Minimum academic performance requirements: 5.0 grade point average
  • Scholarship Achievement Statistics: 1 in 40 Students Receives a Scholarship
  • Grant amount: 25% -50%
  • Deadline for submitting documents: 12 months.

The number of scholarships for foreigners is less than for EU residents, but it is still worth trying to get help.

Examples of popular scholarships:

  • Bolsas de estudo = government scholarship from € 100 to € 664 per month
  • State Fund of Camões = 500 euros monthly for the study of the Portuguese language
  • Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia = encourages the research activities of bachelor, master and postgraduate students in the amount of 745 euros to 1495 euros
  • Erasmus Plus = scholarships for students from foreign universities participating in exchange programs; the amount of the scholarship is about 800 euros per month
  • Santander University Scholarships = supports graduate and undergraduate students who choose to study in Portuguese; about 2500 euros at a time.

Programs with prices

  • Summer language camps for children = 550-1200 per week
  • Language schools = 500-1500 per week
  • Secondary schools = 0-27 800 per year
  • Pre-university training = 4500 per year
  • Undergraduate = 900-6500 per year
  • Master's degree = 1500-8000 per year
  • Doctorate = 12000-36000 per year
  • Business schools = 3000-9000 per year.


At public universities, when studying in Portuguese, you can study for free, but despite this, foreigners pay annual fees from 700 euros to 1500 euros, pay for housing and cover personal expenses. The cost of living in Portugal is one third lower than in the European Union - here are the approximate costs:

  • Dorm room rent: 200 euros
  • Meals in the dining room: 2 euros
  • Public transport: free.

Work while studying

By law, students are allowed to work 20 hours a week, and up to 40 hours on vacation. The hourly wage will be about 3 euros, with employment an advantage for students with a good level of English. Most often, students work as consultants in shopping centers, travel agencies, hotels, translators and tutors.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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