Property buying guide for Portugal
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Education in Portugal

The advantages of education in Portugal include affordable living expenses, good infrastructure and a wide range of academic programmes.

Primary and secondary education

Portuguese public education is free and compulsory for all children from 6 to 15 years old.

The Portuguese education system is divided into the following levels:

  • early education (educação pré-escolar) from 3 to 5 years old (optional)
  • basic education (ensino básico) from 6 to 15 years old (compulsory). It is divided into three cycles, lasting four, two and three years each, and ending with a diploma (i.e., diploma do ensino básico for general studies or diploma de qualificação profissional de nivel III for vocational studies).
  • secondary education (ensino secundário) from 15 to 17 years old. Pupils select one programme focus:
    • Humanities (cursos científicos humanisticos)
    • Technologies (cursos tecnológicos)
    • Arts (cursos artísticos especializados)
    • Professional Studies (cursos profissionais)

State schools teach in Portuguese, but the country also has private international schools, approved by the government, which also prepare pupils to enter university. International schools follow GCSE, PSAT/SAT and International Baccalaureate curriculums.


Portuguese higher education (ensino superior) includes universities and higher polytechnic institutes.

Top Portuguese universities

University English name
Universidade do Porto University of Porto
Universidade Nova de Lisboa New University of Lisbon
Universidade de Coimbra University of Coimbra
Universidade de Lisboa University of Lisbon
Faculdade de Ciências Empresariais
e Económicas da Universidade Católica
Católica Lisbon School of Business
and Economics
Source: QS World University Rankings 2015-2016

The most popular courses with international students are Computer Sciences (Higher Technical Institute of the University of Lisbon), Law, Medicine (University of Coimbra), Engineering (University of Aveiro, University of Porto).

The cost of living in Portugal is the lowest in Western Europe. A room in large cities such as Lisbon, Porto or Faro cost between €150 and €400 per month — meals and commuting cost about €250.

Those who want to study in Portuguese can attend a preparation course at the University of Lisbon, University of Porto or the University of Algarve. Students who successfully complete the certificate can apply to university. Each university has its own rules of admission but generally the applicant must pass tests in the relevant majors.

Documents required

  • application (via university website)
  • secondary education certificate
  • academic transcripts
  • passport copy
  • teacher recommendations
  • letter of motivation

All the documents must be translated into Portuguese and notarised.

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    Property buying guide for Portugal
    Article 6 of 7
    Tranio’s managers offer advice on buying real estate in Portugal
    Kseniya Kolesnikova
    Kseniya Kolesnikova
    Real Estate Expert
    +44 17 4822 0039
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