Education has played an important role in Portuguese civilization. The country is home to one of Europe’s first universities and at that time education was accessible to only the most honoured citizens. Now universities operate according to the Bologna convention to facilitate the maximum number of international students. Five of the Portuguese universities have earned a place in the World University Rankings list.
Most courses offered at undergraduate level are conducted in Portuguese while English-taught programs are more common at graduate level. There are two types of institutes of higher education in Portugal: polytechnics and universities. University education concentrates more on academics while polytechnics train students for specific careers. In subjects like engineering, humanities and management there are lot of overlaps between the two types of institutes.
There is a large variety of short term study programs ranging from a few weeks to full year certificate programs for international students. Admission to these programs is set by the university itself. Certain foundation courses may even take work experience into consideration along with other mandatory qualifications when accepting a student.
Students from EU countries do not need an entry visa but do need to show proof of funds to cover cost of studies. Students from non-EU countries will have to get a visa to study in Portugal which takes about two months to process. For more specific details, you have to check with the Portuguese embassy in your home country.
Private universities in Portugal are more expensive than public institutions. Generally, foreign students have to finance their own studies, as there are almost no scholarships or financial aid available. The good news is that Portugal is still cheap compared to other European countries.