In this article, I have included the list of best low tuition universities in Portugal, tuition fees, costs of living, admission requirements, how to apply and lots more. I will like to describe Portugal and Portuguese higher education before continuing.
The beautiful scenery, exciting mixture of old buildings and new life, and the affordable lifestyle that accompanies studying in Portugal are just a short list of the advantages for international students in Portugal.
With a small number of universities from which to choose, and owning the third most widely spoken language in Europe outside of English and Spanish, this country is a huge draw for international students. The excellent education and beautiful Mediterranean climate make Portugal a top choice for international students around the world.
Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire.
Higher Education in Portugal
Higher education in Portugal is divided into two main subsystems: university and polytechnic education. Portuguese universities have existed since 1290. The oldest such institution, the University of Coimbra, was first established in Lisbon before moving to Coimbra.
Why Study in Portugal
Below are the reasons I think you should study abroad in Portugal as an international student.
- Attend some of the famous and well-ranked European universities
- Availability of most popular study fields in Portugal
- International students choosing to study in Portugal will be impressed by the low cost of tuition and the equally affordable cost of living. On average, tuition is $1,500 USD per undergraduate year. This is also dependent on the degree level at which a student attends. The cost of living is a surprising 600-800∈ each month.
- Sightseeing in Portugal is full of big surprises
- Fantastically unique food and wine
- Chance to learn Portuguese – a global language
- Enjoy the lovely weather
- Portugal welcomes you with open arms
- It’s a small country
- It opens up doors for your future
- Portugal is a safe stable place to study.
- Due to the emphasis on education and culture, there are several ways that international students studying in Portugal can become a part of the life of Portugal. There are several sports and clubs on each individual campus as well as opportunities within the communities to be involved.
- The educational quality of studying in Portugal dates back to 1290AD, when the ninth oldest university in the world was established and the standard of education was cultivated.
- There are two types of education offered—University and polytechnic. Within these large institutions there are smaller subcategories of study that make studying in Portugal ideal.
- Why study in Portugal? It isn’t just Portugal! Africa is a great tie to Portugal and it will enrich students’ lives as they study in this unique country. Brazil is another strong tie that provides great education and association with Portugal.
- With the exciting Bologna Accords and the continued union between most European nations, transferring between two, three or even four universities is quite possible throughout Europe. International students who wish to gain life and experience in several places instead of just one have this opportunity when they study in Portugal.
Cost of Living in Portugal
The costs of living in Portugal are extremely low and affordable when compared to places like the UK, USA or Australia. Although the cost of living in Portugal has increased in recent years, it’s still a relatively affordable place to live. According to research, the cost of living generally depends on the location and the student’s lifestyle.
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.
You will need around €7,800-10,200 (~US$8,830-11,550) a year to take care of your living expenses. Living in large cities like Lisbon will cost you more. So, you can stay at minor cities if you want your living cost to reduce.
Admission Requirements and How to apply to Universities in Portugal
Undergraduate applications to study in Portugal are made through a centralized online system, called Candidature Online, which allows applicants to choose up to six programs in order of preference.
As well as 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.
Tuition Fees in Portugal
Tuition fees are not the same for all universities as Portuguese universities set their own fees. It might interest you to know that public institutions are likely to charge less than private universities. Tuition fees for bachelors 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).
Visa Application and 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.
Work and Study Options
Students from the EU can work for up to 20 hours per week during semesters and full-time during semester breaks.
List of Top Low Tuition Universities and Schools in Portugal
- University of the Azores (Ponta Delgada (the headquarters), Angra do Heroísmo and Horta)
- University of Algarve (Faro) (includes polytechnic sector)
- University of Aveiro (Aveiro (the headquarters), Águeda and Oliveira de Azeméis) (includes polytechnic sector)
- University of Beira Interior (Covilhã)
- University of Coimbra (Coimbra)
- University of Évora (Évora)
- University of Lisbon (Lisbon)
- University of Madeira (Funchal)
- University of Minho (Braga (the headquarters) and Guimarães)
- Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisbon)
- University of Porto (Oporto)
- University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Vila Real (the headquarters)
State-run university institutes
- Lisbon University Institute
- Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
State-run distance teaching universities
- Universidade Aberta
- Lusíada University of Porto
- Universidade Atlântica (Oeiras)
- Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (Lisbon)
- Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Braga, Lisbon (the headquarters), Figueira da Foz, Porto and Viseu)
- Universidade Fernando Pessoa (Porto, Ponte de Lima)
- Universidade Lusíada, (Lisbon)
- Universidade Lusíada de Vila Nova de Famalicão, (Vila Nova de Famalicão)
- Universidade Lusófona (Lisbon)
- Universidade Lusófona do Porto (Porto)
- Universidade Portucalense (Porto)
- Escola Superior Gallaecia (Vila Nova de Cerveira)
- Escola Superior Artística do Porto (Porto)
- Escola Universitária Vasco da Gama (Coimbra)
- Instituto de Arte, Design e Empresa – Universitário (IADE) (Lisbon)
- Institute of Higher Studies of Fafe, Fafe
- Instituto Piaget (Almada, Lisbon (the headquarters), Mirandela, Silves, V. N. Gaia, Viseu) (includes polytechnic sector)
- IPAM – Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing (Porto), (Aveiro) and (Lisbon)
- Instituto Superior Bissaya Barreto (Coimbra)
- Instituto Superior da Maia (Maia)
- Instituto Superior de Línguas e Administração (Lisbon, Leiria, Santarém, VN Gaia, Bragança)
- Instituto Superior de Ciências da Administracao (Lisboa)
- Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz (Almada)
- Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde – Norte (Paredes)
- Instituto Superior de Gestão (Lisbon)
- Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (Lisbon)
- Instituto Superior Dom Afonso III (Loulé)
- Instituto Superior Miguel Torga (Coimbra)
- Instituto Superior de Administração e Linguas (Funchal)
State-run polytechnic institutes
- Instituto Politécnico da Guarda (Guarda)
- Instituto Politécnico de Beja (Beja)
- Instituto Politécnico de Bragança (Bragança)
- Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco (Castelo Branco)
- Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra (Coimbra)
- Instituto Politécnico de Leiria (Leiria)
- Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa (Lisbon)
- Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre (Portalegre)
- Instituto Politécnico de Santarém (Santarém)
- Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal (Setúbal)
- Instituto Politécnico de Tomar (Tomar)
- Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo (Viana do Castelo)
- Instituto Politécnico de Viseu (Viseu)
- Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave (Barcelos)
- Instituto Politécnico do Porto (Porto)
- Escola Náutica Infante D. Henrique (Oeiras)
- Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril (Estoril)
State-run non-integrated nursing schools
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Coimbra (Coimbra)
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto (Porto)
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa (Lisbon)
Private polytechnic institutes
- Instituto Politécnico de Saúde do Norte
- Instituto Superior Autónomo de Estudos Politécnicos (Lisboa)
- Instituto Superior Politécnico Gaya (Vila Nova de Gaia)
- Instituto Superior de Ciências Educativas (Odivelas)
- Instituto Superior de Educação e Ciências (Lisboa)
Private non-integrated nursing schools
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem Dr. José Timóteo Montalvão Machado (Chaves)
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Santa Maria (Porto)
- Escola Superior de Enfermagem de S. José de Cluny (Funchal)