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15 Best Universities in Portugal for International Students

Written by Michael Nz. on May 27, 2022

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We understand that choosing the right university can be exciting and challenging. The options available to you here are endless.

Take the time to explore and discover why each of these schools is the first choice for international students and perhaps also the best option for you.

So, here is a list of the Best and most Accredited Universities in Portugal for International Students:

#1. University of Lisbon

Address: Cidade Universitária, Alameda da Universidade, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal

The University of Lisbon is the largest university in Portugal and is based in the capital of Lisbon. Its history goes back several centuries until the end of 1200, but it acquired its university status thanks to a merger in 2013 between the Technical University of Lisbon and the Universidade de Lisboa.

Currently, this elite university provides education to more than 45,000 students, which makes it one of the largest the number of students enrolled in Western Europe.

Academically composed of 18 study schools, Ulisboa offers a series of around 400 degrees and courses of study to its students. The vast majority of these programs are taught in English to their international student community.

To this end, the university receives more than 1,000 foreign students annually. Thanks to the location of the university in the city of Lisbon, students are exposed to the rich Portuguese culture and society.

With the pleasant coastal climate and the iconic hospital, the Lisbon university is definitely a tempting option for all international students!

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#2. University of Porto

Address: Praça de Gomes Teixeira, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal

Located in the emblematic city of Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, the University of Porto is another prestigious institution of higher education. The university was founded in 1911 and provides education to approximately 30,000 students.

Of this cohort, about 13% of the students are international students and they come from more than 100 countries. Today, it consists of 15 schools and departments of academic studies distributed in 3 main campuses. A total of about 600 courses and diplomas are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition, the numerous international associations of the university also offer exchange programs that open the possibilities of the study of a potential student.

Also, research and development have grown over the years, and the university’s scientific progress has increased with the creation of 50 world-class research institutions.

In addition, the city of Porto is one of the most picturesque cities in the country with its characteristic baroque architecture. His numerous job offers and worldwide reputation are helping to increase the employment rate of university graduates.

Currently, the university is ranked among the 10 best Portuguese universities, as well as among the 300 best universities in the world according to the ARU ranking.

Therefore, the University of Porto is considered one of the best universities in Portugal for international students from our ranking.

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#3. Catholic University of Lisbon

Address: R. de Diogo Botelho 1327, 4169-005 Porto, Portugal

The Catholic University of Lisbon (commonly known as USP or Catholic) is a university located in Lisbon. It is the only institution of higher education in the country that is not primarily run by the government but has a status consistent with the Catholic Church. It was originally established in 1967 as a faculty of philosophical studies.

Since then, the PCU has become a generalized university system with campuses in Lisbon, as well as in Beiras, Porto, and Braga. With a student community of around 11,000, the PCU is academically composed of 18 faculties and study departments.

Among the many faculties, perhaps the most recognized and prestigious is the Catholic Lisbon School of Business and Economics. This business school is the best in Portugal and ranks 25th in Europe. Its most selective and elitist program is the “Lisbon” MBA, which offers a one-year MBA in partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Administration.

In addition, the university attracts almost 1,000 foreign students each year through its Erasmus exchange program. With more than 50% of the students and a staff of foreign nationality, it really reflects the international atmosphere of the university.

Therefore, the Catholic University of Lisbon is considered one of the best universities in Portugal for international students from our ranking.

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#4. University of Nova de Lisboa

Address: Lisbon, Portugal

The first university was founded in 1289 in Coimbra, in response to the growing need for education, as well as communication with other European universities. This tradition has remained until today when universities are fundamental institutions in Portuguese society.

During its early years, the University concentrated its offers mainly on postgraduate and specialized programs, but since late 1977, NOVA has not stopped expanding its offers.

Basically, NOVA is a decentralized university; its faculties and institutes enjoy great autonomy. Currently, NOVA has 20,077 registered students and 1,800 teachers and researchers.

With more than 20,000 students, NOVA University has 2,527 foreign students of 109 nationalities.

Above all, the NOVA University of Lisbon (NOVA) offers all its students a vibrant and relaxed atmosphere in an appropriate environment, characterized by a high international profile and a close relationship between professors and students.

In addition to a wide academic offer of professional careers (degrees, masters, and doctorates) in Portuguese, which makes NOVA is a natural destination for students from PALOP and Brazil. It offers a considerable amount of programs in English, which makes an institutional reference for students of Other nationalities too.

Currently, 2,527 foreign students study at NOVA as part of a complete academic program, and 903 are exchange students for short periods of mobility.

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#5. University of Coimbra

Address: 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal

Known for being one of the oldest universities in the world in continuous operation, the University of Coimbra is an elite public university located in the city of Coimbra, which was established in 1290. Its original headquarters was in Lisbon before its transfer to Coimbra.

The university currently provides education to some 25,000 students and is academically organized in 8 different faculties. Education is comprehensive and encompasses humanities, social sciences, medicine, law, engineering, technology, and sports.

Research plays a new role in its academic base and the university is a founding member of the prestigious group of Coimbra universities. The university also has an exceptionally high international student community of more than 10%, making it one of Portugal’s best universities for international students.

The city of Coimbra is colored by the active traditions led by the university; Its student association is the oldest in the country and organizes some of the most dynamic student festivals, such as “Qualia das Fitas” and “Festa das Latas”.

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#6. University of Minho

Address: R. da Universidade, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

The University of Minho (UMinho) is a young and dynamic Portuguese university. Founded in 1973, its academic activity began in 1974. There are three campuses: Gualtar Campus, Azurém Campus, and Couros Campus, located in two charming historic cities: Braga and Guimarães.

In recognition of its quality, UMinho has risen, year after year, among the best universities in the world in the Times Higher Education. Equally, the University of Minho is also at the forefront of the famous CWTS Leiden ranking that measures the quality and impact of scientific production worldwide.

UMinho also offers an international student preparation course designed for students who have completed their higher / secondary studies abroad. And also for those who wish to prepare before registering for a bachelor’s and an integrated master’s course.

Above all, the University of Minho offers a wide range of courses corresponding to the first, second, and third cycles of studies. Which is leading to the first cycle (BA / BSc), second cycle (MA / MSc), or Ph.D. (Ph.D..).

In addition to these study cycles, the University of Minho also offers a large number of courses without a university degree, namely specialized training courses for teachers and doctoral students.

Finally, the University also offers several short courses and a preparation course for higher education assistance (adult students over 23 years old).

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#7. University of Aveiro

Address: Mandeville, Jamaica

Basically, the University of Aveiro is a public university founded in 1973. Located in the city of Aveiro, the university is a prestigious institution that welcomes a student community of almost 12,000 people.

At the academic level, the university is composed of several academic departments of schools that collectively offer a full range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees programs.

However, Aveiro focuses mainly on polytechnic education and has a great advantage in research and development. Above all, it is underlined by the numerous research units that operate in conjunction with university studies.

In addition to the main university campus in Averie, it also operates regional offices and campuses in two other regions of the country, namely Águeda and Oliveira de Azemeis, which run specific departments.

The University of Aveiro is currently ranked among the best 500 to 600 universities (according to the ARWU, Times, and QS classifications). It is a common and popular option for Erasmus exchange students and benefits from a strong international student community.

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#8. University of Beira Interior

Address: Universidade da Beira Interior, R. Marquês de Ávila e Bolama, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal

Created in 1986, the Universidade da Beira Interior (University of Beira Interior) is a public non-profit higher education establishment located in the urban environment of the central city of Covilhã, Castelo Branco.

Officially accredited and/or recognized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal, the University of Beira Interior (UBI) is an important institution of mixed upper secondary education.

Most importantly, the University of Beira Interior (UBI) offers courses and programs that lead to officially recognized higher education degrees. Such as undergraduate degrees (i.e. certificates, diplomas, associate or basic diplomas), graduates, teachers, doctorates in various fields of study.

Above all, this 33-year higher education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance exams academic history, and student grades. Currently, the admission rate varies from 90 to 100%, which makes this Portuguese institution of higher education the least selective.

Hence, international applicants are eligible to request registration.

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#9. The University of Algarve (Universidade do Algarve)

Address: Estr. da Penha 139, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal

Basically, the University of the Algarve is a young state university, located in the southern part of Portugal, one of the most tourist regions of Portugal. Equally, the University has experienced significant growth in terms of the student population, modern facilities, and the quality and diversity of the programs offered.

Founded on January 16, 1979, the University of Algarve is the result of the union of two pre-existing institutions, the University of the Algarve and the Polytechnic Institute of Faro. Because the faculties and schools of the two systems coexist, it now makes the school somewhat unique to most universities.

Currently, the student population of the university today is close to 8,000 and employs more than 700 academics. And interestingly, it has three faculties and four schools, which offer a range of quality undergraduate and graduate courses in excellent academic settings.

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign students from more than 60 countries due to the internationalization strategy of the University of the Algarve.

Hence, the quality and diversity of European teachers and doctorates, combined with postgraduate training open to students from all over the world justify the scope of this mobility.

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#10. Polytechnic Institute of Braganza

Address: Pimento Way, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Located in the city of Bragança, in the northeast of Portugal, is the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, which is a small public institution of higher education. Despite what its name indicates, the institute offers comprehensive training through a variety of diplomas and courses of study.

Basically, this university in Portugal for international students was created in 1983 and since then it has become a highly classified polytechnic institute with a student population of over 7,000 in total.

In addition, the university has a high reputation for international students, and a large percentage of almost 30% of the student community is made up of students of foreign nationality.

Most importantly, the school manages an internationalization program to promote this inclusion and offers numerous undergraduate and master’s programs in English. Above all, foreign students who wish to study the Portuguese language and culture also have the opportunity to select such courses.

Finally, IPB also has an internationally recognized success program. This includes the annual mobility of more than 900 incoming and outgoing students and 300 teachers, through collaboration with several higher education institutions worldwide. Today, the IPB is a multicultural institution, where 33% of its students are international students.

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#11. University of Évora

Address: Largo dos Colegiais 2, 7000-645 Évora, Portugal

Basically, the University of Évora is a transdisciplinary university, with a constantly updated training offer. Because of this, it grants them excellent study and research conditions, thereby offering courses in all fields of knowledge: arts, social sciences. and science and technology.

Currently, more than 1000 foreign students, from more than 70 nationalities, meet every year at the UÉ. Thereby making the school a unique opportunity for excellent training and multicultural experience.

Equally, more than 150 training programs in all fields of knowledge, baccalaureate, integrated masters, and masters in advanced doctoral training are offered by the EU.

Today, the University of Évora is a multicultural institution, where 45% of its students are international students.

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#12. University of Madeira

Address: Rua dos Ferreiros Colégio dos Jesuítas, 9000-082 Funchal, Portugal

Basically, the University of Madeira (University of Madeira) or UMA is a public university located in Funchal on the island of Madeira in Portugal.

Currently, the university offers administrative and rectorial services. And in 1992, he expanded his academic offer by creating different academic departments and study programs.

Madeira University has 224 professors and researchers, 129 administrative employees and laboratory technicians, and around 2,900 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students.

Also, the UMA has several research centers and groups that carry out scientific and cultural activities of international aid and, in some cases, of great impact in the region.

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#13. The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro

Address: Quinta de Prados, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal

Basically, the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) is one of the most recent public universities in Portugal. Frankly Innovative, dynamic, creative, promoter of knowledge, entrepreneurship, and development, the school is today a national and international reference.

Above all, its campus is also one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe. And it has the ideal conditions to study, research and fraternizing, and continues to invest in the creation of modern laboratories. In such a way its teachers and students participate in recognized activities, learning projects, and research projects.

Most importantly, the excellent relationship between students and teachers leads to close teaching and is a differentiator that is appreciated by the university. Therefore, UTAD is an inclusive university that welcomes international students seeking quality higher education in Portugal.

In order to apply for UTAD courses as an international student, the B1 Portuguese language level is mandatory. If you do not have this level, you must first enroll in the Portuguese preparatory course.

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#14. ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE – Instituto Universitario de Lisboa)

Address: Av. das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal

Basically, ISCTE is one of the most prestigious Portuguese universities and offers a variety of programs covering a wide range of fields of study at all levels of higher education. ISCTE also has the opportunity to complete part of its studies at one of the 450 international universities.

Some of these courses are taught in English and others are created in association with foreign universities, granting a joint degree.

During their training, students have the opportunity to complete part of their studies at one of the 450 foreign universities with which Iscte has entered into association agreements while benefiting from the competitive level of tuition fees in Portugal.

The degree issued by ISCTE is automatically accepted and recognized by all the countries of the European Union, which allows international students to continue their studies at any university in Europe.

Although most of its undergraduate programs are taught primarily in Portuguese, Iscte offers a bachelor’s degree in administration entirely in English, as well as several units of individual English programs. To browse these course offers, click on the button below.

If you are a foreign student and do not have Portuguese nationality or the nationality of another European Union member state, you can apply for the first courses. Cycle (License and Integrated Master) offered by Iscte, as part of the “International Student Status” (EEI), a special competition for access and admission of international students.

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#15. University of the Azores (Universidade dos Açores)

Address: R. da Mãe de Deus, 9500-321 Ponta Delgada, Portugal

Since its foundation in 1976, the University of the Azores has played a fundamental role in teaching and research. Thus contributing to a professional qualification, economic growth, social improvement, and intercultural awareness.

Many foreign students choose to continue their studies here and become members of a young and enthusiastic university community, internationally recognized in different fields of study.

Studying at the University of the Azores offers you an excellent opportunity to enjoy the natural and cultural riches of the Azores, in a safe and welcoming environment, with a touch of adventure. It also has a wide variety of outdoor activities and gastronomic and musical festivals in the summer, as well as live studies or internships in other European universities.

The admission rate varies from 80 to 90%, which makes this Portuguese institution of higher education the least selective institution. Hence, international applicants are eligible to request registration.

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Best Universities in Portugal FAQs

What is the best university in Portugal?

Here is a list of the Best and most Accredited Universities in Portugal for International Students:

#1. University of Lisbon
#2. University of Porto
#3. Catholic University of Lisbon
#4. University of Nova de Lisboa
#5. University of Coimbra
#6. University of Minho
#7. University of Aveiro
#8. University of Beira Interior
#9. Universidade do Algarve
#10. Polytechnic Institute of Braganza
#11. University of Evora
#12. University of Madeira
#13. University of Tras-os-Montes & Alto Douro
#14. ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE – Instituto Universitario de Lisboa)
#15. University of the Azores (Universidade dos Açores)

How much does it cost to study in Portugal?

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.

Are there English universities in Portugal?

The truth is that the language of instruction at Portuguese universities is invariably Portuguese. But there are very few courses with English as the language of instruction. And courses taught in English are growing in number, especially at the master’s level.

So if you are solely going to Portugal to study in English, here is a list of Universities whose language of instruction is in English:

#1. Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics
#2. Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon
#3. University of Lisbon
#4. University of the Algarve

How many universities are in Portugal?

It is composed of thirteen public universities, one public university institute, a public open university, and several private universities and university institutes.

Are there Research Universities in Portugal?

Yes. Most of the Universities in Portugal are research-based universities. Here is a list of the Best Research Universities in Portugal:

1. University of Lisbon
2. University of Porto
3. Instituto Politécnico de Bragança.
4. Instituto Politecnico de Coimbra.
5. Catholic University of Portugal.
6. Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa.
7. Instituto Politecnico de Viana do Castelo.
8. Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics.
9. Instituto Superior Técnico Lisboa.

In Conclusion

In this article, we have compiled a list of universities in Portugal that offer the best in terms of education and experience for potential international students. We hope that the descriptions give you a good idea of ​​what these schools can do for you!

So be sure to submit an application to save time and money.

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