Portugal is a host to 20,000 international students every year. The majority of the students choose to study in Portugal because of the excellent academic institutions, budget-friendly cost of living, and mild Mediterranean weather.
Public universities offer affordable courses for 1,250 EUR/year for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and 2,500 to 3,000 EUR/year for PhDs. Tuition fees for non-EU citizens at private universities are slightly higher but are still relatively cheaper than in other Western Countries.
Many universities offer courses in Portuguese and English. The most popular English courses for international students are Engineering, Computer Sciences, Nursing, Finance, and Medicine. It is also possible to study at a university in Portugal without IELTS as some universities do not require this from applicants whose previous education was conducted in English. In this article, we will be looking over the best scholarships in Portugal for international students.
Living Costs in Portugal for International Students
An international student studying in Lisbon or Porto can live comfortably with a 600 to 1,000 EUR monthly budget. In smaller cities where living expenses are less, a budget of 500 to 700 EUR would be enough.
While there are not as many university-owned accommodations in Portugal, it is still possible to rent private rooms and apartments from 400 to 600 EUR per month. In addition, because of Portugal’s mild climate, you can keep utility expenses low. Public transport is also cheap with the average monthly rate at 36 EUR.
Staple foods are affordable, and a monthly budget of 200 to 300 is enough to cover more than the basic. International students may also eat out more often as the average restaurant bill is about 7 EUR.
Can international students work in Portugal?
EU/EEA nationals studying in Portugal can work without any restrictions. Non-EU students can work part-time up to 20 hours a week or work full-time during holidays and non-study periods. It is easier to find a job if you know Portuguese. Still, there are also employment opportunities for expats and English speakers in the tourism and hospitality industry, while start-ups and call centers are mainly based in Lisbon and Porto.
Top Universities in Country:
Five Universities in Portugal made the University QS Ranking 2024’s top 600.
Tied at 357 are the University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. The University of Lisbon is the largest and most prestigious school in Portugal, with over 400 courses and 50,000 students. On the other hand, the University of Porto has close to 32,000 students and offers a wide variety of programs.
The Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA) is ranked 428 in the University QS Ranking of 2024. A relatively young university established in 1973, NOVA offers courses across nine faculties.
Established in 1290, the University of Coimbra is the oldest university in Portugal and the entire world. It ranked 431 in the University QS Rankings of 2024 and is the fourth top-rated university in Portugal.
The fifth top-rated is the University of Aveiro, ranked 581-590. This is a multidisciplinary institution that offers a wide array of courses across five different locations.
Best Scholarships in Portugal
The Lisbon MBA International scholarship is offered by Católica-Lisbon and Nova SBE in collaboration with MIT Sloan. Various scholarships are available to cover the cost of the one-year full-time, intensive business course. These Portugal scholarships include:
- The Lisbon MBA Scholarship – outstanding applicants, evaluated during the application process;
- Entrepreneurship Scholarship – applicants with exceptional entrepreneurial skills, evaluated during the application process;
- Woman in Business Scholarship – exceptional women with relevant accomplishments in their fields;
- Social Impact Scholarship – awarded to applicants with careers in the non-profit or government organizations for at least two years; and
- Merit Scholarship – for applicants with a minimum GMAT score of 670 and a bachelor’s degree of GPA of 3.0.
Lisbon MBA Scholarships are awarded in varying amounts of up to 40% of the tuition fee cost.
The University of Porto has several scholarship programs open to international students. The Merit Scholarship Programs awards a monetary prize equivalent to five times the minimum national salary to top students in the bachelor’s, master’s, or integrated master’s course. In addition to this scholarship in Portugal, the Social Services of the University of Porto (SASUP) provides a monthly stipend to disadvantaged students.
International students from the EU and students from countries with a cooperation protocol with Portugal may use this annual, renewable assistance. Lastly, the University of Porto grants scholarships for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees for research projects with a minimum duration of three months. This Portugal scholarship usually lasts for a year and is renewable for up to three years.
The University of Coimbra awards up to 200 merit scholarships annually to international students enrolled full-time at an undergraduate or integrated master’s degree.
The scholarship comes in the form of tuition fee support, the amount of which is determined by the entry rating (for first-year students) or average grade (2nd or subsequent years).
The university also offers a program called the Strategic Support Scholarship. Students are provided with a 2000 EUR grant in their first year, and the selection is based on students’ employment options and qualifications.
University of Alverio’s offers a reduction of tuition fees based on the prospective applicant’s GPA. For example, international students who have GPAs higher or equal to 17.5 would receive a tuition waiver. However, the requirement for international students is full-time enrollment.
This scholarship in Portugal can easily be extended to the entire undergraduate and master’s degree program, but the requirement is that students are fully enrolled and maintain a high GPA. Students in their second cycle of education must obtain a GPA of 14 or more to receive a tuition fee waiver amounting to 1000 EUR.
Universidade Catolica Portugesa offers scholarships to disadvantaged students and students in need. This grant is related to Erasmus + scholarships and Portuguese government grants.
Based on humanitarian grounds, this scholarship in Portugal needs proof of lower-income status or a document that the applicant comes from a disadvantaged background. The student applies to Erasmus Mundus program and simultaneously applies for the Portuguese Government grant. DGES – the General Directorate of Higher Education, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education decides the student’s eligibility and allows the financial award in the form of a tuition fee waiver.
Students with special needs for which they have documented medical proof are welcome to apply for this scholarship. The application process includes a simultaneous application to Erasmus Mundus program and the UCP Department of International Relations.