Have a look into a brief about the Portuguese Higher Education system.


Portuguese universities offer degree programs according to the European standard. This includes undergraduate, master’s and PhD programs.
Bachelor’s programs, also known as undergraduate programs, take place after upper secondary school (high school) and are usually three years long (180 ECTS credits).
Master’s programs, also known as postgraduate programs, build upon the knowledge developed during bachelor’s-level studies and can be one or two years long (60 or 120 ECTS credits).
PhD programs, also known as doctoral programs, are research degrees involving several years of work towards a dissertation. The duration and setup of PhD programs in Portugal vary between universities.


A degree program at a Portuguese university is based on a number of courses in a particular field of study leading to a specific degree. Degree programs generally contain a mix of compulsory, recommended and optional courses.
Regarding courses, these are the modulares of each program. Each semester, program students follow one large course or several smaller courses.
Instead of applying for a full degree program, it’s also possible to apply for admission to some courses directly. When you apply for and enrol on a course rather than a program, you are only registered for that specific course. When you apply for and enrol on a program, you will then register for many courses over the duration of your program.


Portuguese academic year is divided into two semesters and students can apply based on twor different intakes:

Fall Intake

  • Applications take place from February to May
  • Classes start in September

Spring Intake

  • Applications take place from September to October
  • Classes start in February

Classes usually include various types and levels of lectures, seminars and laboratory sessions with varying group sizes. The main goal of the Portuguese education system is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills, where students are expected to be active participants in all forms of meetings. It is always required independent work regardless of your field of study, and students are expected to come well-prepared to class.
Examinations usually take the form of written or oral tests, group work or special projects. Most programmes conclude with a degree thesis or project.

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