best universities Portugal

7 Best Universities in Portugal for International Students


Portugal is well known as the home of some great institutes for higher studies. Added with the low cost of living and tuition, it also is an easier goal for students from all over the world. Universities in Portugal offer tremendous value and opportunities.

Here we’ve discussed the best universities in Portugal, in terms of education and research quality, international affiliations, and opportunities for a more affordable study experience.

How Many International Students Study in Portugal?

Portugal is home to over 50,000 international students coming from all corners of the world. It’s a very popular choice for students because the tuition fees and living costs are relatively low, and Portugal is also a very friendly place to be for students coming from abroad.

What is the Most Prestigious University in Portugal?

The University of Lisbon is the most prestigious university in Portugal. Although the both University of Lisbon and the University of Porto offer similar education quality and ranking, being in the capital city gives the University of Lisbon the edge and higher popularity.

Best Universities in Portugal for International Students

1. University of Lisbon

Founded in 2013 in Lisbon as a merger, the University of Lisbon is thee best university in Portugal for international students. It’s also one of the biggest, with 50,000 students and 4,000 lecturers. The university has 8 campuses, and students can reside within 18 residences. Every year, over 9,000 international students are admitted here, who come from 100 countries.

The university has 18 faculties that offer over 406 degrees of study. Beyond that, it also contains 59 libraries, 13 museums, and 2 astronomical observatories. The research base contains over 100 research units led by more than 5,000 PhDs. The QS World University Ranking placed the University of Lisbon in 357th best university in the world.

2. University of Porto

The University of Porto is another top university in Portugal for international students. Founded in 1911 in Porto, the university has over 32,000 students and 2,500 teachers. Among them, over 6,300 are international students. They can choose among 14 faculties of study and 1 business school. A total of 451 courses are offered here, most of which are master’s degree (145) and 34 are bachelor’s.

The University of Porto has a very high research output. The 49 research units produced over 20,300 papers and 335 patents, making this the 296th best on research reputation. Apart from these, the university also has 16 libraries, 18 dormitories, and 12 museums. QS ranked it 357th best university in the world.

3. Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Universidade Nova de Lisboa was established in 1973 in Campolide, Lisbon. Within the capital city, this is the newest public university, yet one of the best in the country. It has over 1800 teachers and researchers, along with 20,000 students, among whom 2500 are international ones coming from 109 countries. The university offers 9 schools of study, and also has 9 libraries and 3 residences.

The university offers over 250-degree programs. It has a highly active research base with 41 research units. In 2016, the university had 4514 publications, almost half of which were indexed in Web of Science (WoS). It had 19 grants from the European research council and over 530 partnerships with 63 countries. Universidade Nova de Lisboa is ranked 428th best in the world.

4. University of Coimbra

The next university in our list of best universities in Portugal for international students is the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal. It was established in 1290 in Lisbon, then later moved to Coimbra. It has 8 colleges of study, containing over 25,000 students. Students reside within its 3 campuses and 14 residences. Beyond that, the campuses contain 16 libraries and 2 museums, one of which is the largest institutional museum in the country.

The 8 colleges offer a total of 446-degree courses including 35 undergraduates, 123 masters, and 69 PhDs. The university has over 480 research projects going on within its 38 research units. Students and alumni here achieved 58 national and 188 international patents. The University of Coimbra is the 431st best university by the QS.

5. University of Aveiro

University of Aveiro (UA) was founded in 1979 in Aveiro. Currently, it holds over 13,000 students and 1000 teachers. International students from over 85 countries are enrolled here. It offers over 150-degree programs within its 20 schools.

This top university in Portugal for international students has 16 residences on its 3 campuses. The research outputs are very high here compared to its number of students. It holds 22 research units and 5 libraries. More than 500 international universities are affiliated with UA. Students completed 433 national and 95 international projects and currently, 135 contracts are running. It also has 7 patents under its name. The University of Aveiro is placed in 581st place globally.

6. University of Minho

University of Minho (U.Minho) was established in 1973. It has currently had over 19,000 students and 1000 teaching staffs. The education program is distributed to 12 schools and institutes. There are 8 libraries and a technology park within its 4 campuses.

Over 360 researchers work under 31 research units alongside 641 assistant researchers, achieving over 30 patent applications. The university has 26 international centers and institutes. 415 projects are ongoing and 2533 scientific publications have been achieved. QS ranked the University of Minho in 591st place worldwide.

7. Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Catholic University of Portugal, UCP) is one of the best universities in Portugal for international students. It has over 11,200 students among whom 7,500 are postgraduate and 2600 are international students coming from 100 countries, with 1000 academic faculty members. UCP offers 174 programs under 17 basic teaching units.

As for research, the university has 15 research units led by 1271 researchers who managed over 42 patents and 6,800 publications as of now. It also has over 1280 mobility protocols for affiliations. QS World Ranking placed UCP in 801st place.

I hope that this article on the best universities in Portugal for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!