Study in Portugal
As the oldest nation in Europe, Portugal is an ideal place to study abroad, particularly if you are interested in enjoying a sunny weather and admiring splendid coastlines each day. Anywhere you go in Portugal, you’ll always have a beach nearby and because the Portuguese are known for truly celebrating life, you can always join a local festival that involves dancing in the streets.
In Portugal, you’ll experience the charming atmosphere of a constant holiday, while you also prepare to become an expert in your chosen field of study.
Why Study in Portugal?
Portugal is one of the most popular countries for study exchange programmes and many universities are active members of the Erasmus program. Portuguese universities are both focusing both on providing valuable theoretical knowledge and on engaging students in prevalent research projects. Many universities are affiliated with several research centres and they have been contributing to more than 1% of the world's highly cited publications.
As a student enrolled in one of the Portuguese universities, you can complement your degree with an internship in a local company and attend interesting workshops taught by international leading experts.
What to study in Portugal
Portugal is particularly known for offering Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees in fields such as Biotechnology, Medicine, Social Sciences and Arts. However, since Portugal has started to welcome more and more international students each year, Portuguese universities have been introducing English-taught degrees for most disciplines, from Computer Science to Business.
Major cities in Portugal
Most universities are concentrated within 12 major cities of Portugal. Wherever you choose to study, you will benefit from quality academic training. When you’re not engaged in studying, you can have fun at numerous bars and pubs, listen to the famous fado, or enjoy one of the many festivities held in each city in Portugal. Check out the major student cities in Portugal and learn more about what it is like to study there: Offering a mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful coastline and cities packed with historic interest and cultural experiences, Portugal – the westernmost country in mainland Europe – is surely among the continent’s most attractive destinations. Aside from the many historic sites and areas of natural beauty, the country is also known for its contemporary culture and nightlife.
If you’re a fan of rock and world music, in the main cities along the coast you’ll find 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.
Read on for information about the top universities in Portugal, as well as popular student cities and practical information to help you get started.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
Gather all the complete and necessary information to apply and make sure if it is necessary to recognize any degree or diploma.
Some DOCUMENTS you may need:
- Application form;
- Secondary education leaving certificate, or legally equivalent qualification
- Results of final exams of secondary education corresponding entrance exams
- Evidence of physical, functional or vocational skills, if required
- ID card or passport
- Other Diplomas or Degrees, as well as the grades and academic background
- Health insurance or European Health Insurance Card
- Visa or Residence Permit
- Official translation of documents or recognition by the Portuguese diplomatic or consular representation in your country
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) or individual Portfolio
- Motivation letter
- Language skills proof
- For PhDs Short draft for a Doctoral thesis project.
This form of access is for students that do NOT have Portuguese nationality, or that aren’t nationals from any European Union country, and that do NOT legally reside in Portugal for more than two years, continuously until the 31st of August of the enrolment year.
Or the other few documents are also like: The documentation required for applying to a program in Portugal may entail some or all of the following:
- A completed application form
- A certification/diploma stating that you have completed the relevant high school education/Bachelor’s/Master’s degree
- Transcripts of academic records
- A motivational letter stating why you want to attend the university
- For a Bachelor’s, you will need to have passed the university entrance exam
- For some degrees you will also require a portfolio of your work
- Proof of payment pf the application fee (50 EUR)
Applications are made directly with the higher education institution where the student wants to enroll.
- Hold a qualification giving access to Higher Education, meaning any diploma or certificate issued by a competent authority in the country in which it was awarded attesting the approval in a study programme giving direct access to higher education in the country where it was awarded; OR
- Hold a Portuguese secondary school diploma or equivalent qualification (for recognition see).
Statement of Purpose (SOP): All you need to know!
An SOP is a long essay that is often asked by universities abroad. The full form of SOP is Statement of Purpose. Usually about 1000 words, this essay seeks to understand the candidate’s life, the motivations for the chosen career path and his/her goals. There are many elements to a Statement of Purpose or a SOP as it is famously referred to. The Universities could ask question-based essays or simply to present your statement of purpose. Until and unless categorically asked, a SOP must include your goals, the career path you have taken up so far as well as your academic progress. Other elements that are further important to the SOP are also the personal motivations that lead you to choose the university/course you have applied to as well as how you intend to use that experience to achieve that goal.
IELTS 2018 Exam
IELTS is an English language exam that is required to be taken by international candidates considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication. The full form of IELTS is International English Language Testing System. Most popular countries where IELTS is accepted for university admissions are UK, Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada. The exam mainly measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
A lot of students get confused about why are the IELTS scores required. The simple answer to this is that foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that you will not have communication issues while staying in the country. You need to show a good understanding and strong command of the English language and that is why your overall IELTS scores are so important. Another common doubt students have is whether IELTS is a compulsory exam or not. No, IELTS isn’t compulsory in all university admissions. Many universities might even not even require IELTS scores for admission purposes. But remember that if you don’t give IELTS, your chances of getting the student visa might suffer as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency without IELTS scores. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall.
You can take IELTS exam with the British Council or IDP up to once a week (four times a month). The British Council and IDP global schedule for test dates are 48 days per year.
IELTS or International English Language Testing System assesses the student’s abilities in all four skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking of the English language in under three hours. Students are required to be above 16 years of age to be able to appear for the IELTS Exam. Students who are applying to study in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia are required to appear for the exam. Medical professionals who are planning to work or pursue further studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are required to take the test. Candidates who are planning to settle down permanently in Canada, Australia or New Zealand are also required to take the test.
Types of IELTS
IELTS is available in two test formats: Academic or General. Students need to take the Academic IELTS test. Other applicants who need IELTS scores for a work visa or immigration purposes need to take General IELTS test. Here we cover only the Academic IELTS test.
IELTS Exam Pattern
IELTS Syllabus includes four sections - Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. You get marked on these four sections and you get the IELTS total score as well. The total score is the sum of the scores in the four skill areas.
The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes
Here is the IELTS paper pattern –
|Listening||30 minutes||It encompasses four recorded monologues and conversations|
|Reading||60 minutes||Three long reading passages with tasks.
Texts range from descriptive and factual to discursive, and analytical includes non-verbal material like diagrams, graphs and illustrations texts are authentic (taken from books, journals and newspapers)
|Writing||60 minutes||A writing task of at least 150 words where the candidate must summarize, describe or explain table, graph, chart or diagram, and another short essay task of at least 250 words|
|Speaking||11 to 14 minutes||Face-to-face interview includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion|
Listening, Reading and Writing sections are tested in one sitting. Speaking section may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after other tests.
The language of instruction at Portuguese universities is Portuguese, and not all courses can be found in English. Therefore, a test of proficiency in Portuguese is usually an entry requirement for all first-cycle programs (Bachelor’s). Most higher education institutions will require a minimum proficiency corresponding to the B1/B2 level. This requirement is less likely to apply to second and third-cycle programs (Master’s and PhDs) as these research-oriented programs are often designed for international students.
If English is not your first language, you may need to prove your proficiency in English. Requirements vary significantly from one program to another, but usually, the following tests are accepted for admissions: IELTS, TOEFL, CAE/CPE, PTE A. Usually the minimum score that Portuguese universities ask for is between 5.5-6.5 in IELTS tests or 550 points (written test), 213 points (computer-based) or 80 points (online) in TOEFL test.
Language requirements vary significantly from one institution to another. You should therefore contact the International Office or Admissions Office to check this information for specific courses.
The academic year is divided in two semesters, the first starting in September and ending in January/February, and the second starting between February and June/July.
- Christmas (25th of December)
- Break between semesters
- Carnival (around 1,5 month before Easter)
- Easter (between March and April)
- Summer (July and August)
Applications for the national contest for the 1st cycle (Licenciatura and Mestrado integrado), usually take place between July and August. There is a second phase of this contest, in September, for available vacancies and a third phase in October.
Applications for the other cycles take place in the dates and with the requisites indicated by the higher education institutions.
Student Visas for Study Abroad
Student Visas, as the name suggests are visas issued to applicants whose primary purpose of visit to the country is the pursuit of education. Needless to say, while getting admission in the university is extremely important, these legal documents stand in the way of all your pursuits. Each and every country is governed by its own Immigration Laws. These could vary in terms of the requirements of documents to the different proof of funds acceptable to what all the visas would let you do apart from studying in the country. Also, there are some broad commonalities that are visible in all student visa applications.
Student Visa Classifications
Student Visas are often classified on the basis of two broad distinction points
Student Visa Classification Based on Program’s Duration
Depending on the length or tenure of the program the applicant is planning to undertake, the countries often divide the student visa into Short Term Student Visas or Long-term Student Visas. Often, the short-term visas are given to students who plan to take a short course of a language or a diploma certificate course and the entire duration is often limited to 90 days (3 months). Long term visas, on the other hand, are given to students who are planning to take up degree courses extending beyond the 3 month period. These could include the internships and small certificate programs of 6 months and so on. European Union Countries often have this broad classification.
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Documents Required for Student Visa Application
Every country, depending on their Immigration Laws have a specific list of documents. However, while the exact requirements are different in terms of actual terms, the list is generic. However, there are two documents which you would require certainly.
1. VALID PASSPORT
This is the primary requisite. While you would need a valid passport, what you need to know is that for different countries, the requirement of the validity of your passport might vary. Some countries would want you to have the validity until the end of the course even at the time of applying for the student visa. Some, on the other hand, might let you apply but request you to have a validity that extends beyond the intended stay in the country.
You also need to ensure that you have at least two blank pages in your passport for stamping for a visa. What is important to note is that in case you have any expired passports, you would still have to submit a copy of all such passports.
2. PROOF OF A BONAFIDE STUDENT
No matter which country you are applying to, if you are applying for any category of Student Visa, you must be able to prove that you are a bonafide student. This is often done by producing confirmation of admission with an educational institute of that country.
3. FINANCIAL LUCIDITY
Most of the countries would require you to prove that you are capable of not only taking care of the tuition and college expenses but also have the requisite funds to afford your stay in that country for the intended study period. While many countries have a stipulated amount of funds it would require, some have broader more extensive guidelines. For instance, many countries in Europe (like Germany, Netherlands, etc.) have a minimum living cost computed as per government standards. Students applying for student visas in these countries, accordingly, must provide proof that the said amount is available with them in ready cash. Read more about the Financial Documents Required for Study Abroad Applications.
4. LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
Another thing which is required perhaps across various countries is the proof that you can communicate in the language which would be your medium of instruction. Since most of the students plan to study in English speaking countries, most of them would require you to provide proof positive that you can communicate in English - both written and verbal. This is usually done by a minimum score requirement for various English Language Tests like TOEFL, IELTS and/or PTE. Accordingly, if you plan to take up a course in any other language (say German for instance), you would be required to provide certification for that language in accordance to the CEFR Certified Levels.
It is important to note here that while universities might accept different any or either of the above mentioned tests, for Visas, as times, the requirements are set. For instance, UK does not recognize TOEFL for Visas. Hence, it is important that before a student writes an English Language Test, he/she checks whether or not the country's immigration department recognizes that test. Also, Visa Guidelines for different countries usually mandates a minimum score. While Universities might offer admission at a lower score, Visas would be rejected until the minimum standard is met.
The complete list would depend on the country you are applying to. While some countries would require medical proofs, some might require a blocked account. Many countries also require an SOP. Provided below are the link for the individual country visa requirements and the process, visa fees and documents required.