Study in Portugal
Portugal has so many sides to be considered and evaluated when talking about study there. From one point, you enjoy amazing weather, beautiful beaches and landscapes, lovely cuisine and fine wines, all making Portugal very attractive for many students all over the world when choosing the host country for mobility programme or degree. From another point, Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, with low living costs and it is far away easier for young people to find job, compared to Spain, for example.
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There are two types of universities in Portugal – private and public. Generally public universities are cheaper, but some private universities from their behalf provide discounts up to 100% of the lecture fees according to the evaluation marks.One thing you should remember is that if you attend a public university, fees are payable annually and at most private universities you will have to pay a part of the total tuition monthly.
Tuition costs in public universities
Tuition fees in public universities are usually set according to the regulations set by the Ministry of Education in Portugal, which is a minimum fee equivalent to 1.3 times the minimum national wage rate.
However, most public universities decide their own level of tuition fees (propinas), which in some cases, are higher than the minimum recommendation.
Full time students enrolled on Bachelor and Master programmes pay between 950 and 1,250 EUR/year. For third level degrees (PhD courses), the average tuition fee can lead to approximately 2,500 – 3,000 EUR per academic year.
An exception is Coimbra city, where tuition fees are smaller, around 700 EUR/year.
Tuition costs in private universities
Most private universities are forming their tuition fees upon the number of credits each student obtain during the years. As it is set the Bachelor degree or the so called licenciatura (Pre or Post-Bologna) to be 180 ECTS (60 ECTS for each of the 3 years), students must pay the respective tax for each of those 60 ECTS. When available some discount, they are applied mainly to the part of the subject (ECTS weight), that corresponds to the lecture classes. For a master degree, with set minimum of 120 ECTS, students also must pay the respective amount. Here it is necessary to specify, that in some universities exist 3rd type of degree (mestrados integrados or integrated master), which combines the 2 cycles in one degree. Generally the tuition fees in private universities vary from 350 to 500 EUR per month.
Average tuition fees in private universities range between 3,323 and 3,872 EUR/year for any degree level.
Besides tuition fees, some universities apply taxes for the matriculas which also varies from the university, the department and part or full time studying. Each student has to pay registration fee of about 25 to 30 EUR and annual insurance of less than 2 EUR.
Living Expenses for students in Portugal
As already mentioned in the beginning Portugal is considered to be one of the cheapest countries in Europe. Of course living costs vary in the different regions, but compared to the other countries it is significantly cheaper.
Average living costs in Portugal vary between 650 and 850 EUR per month. These sums are meant to cover for all your expenditures: accommodation, food, public transportation and other costs.
Lisbon, the capital has the highest living costs, while in smaller cities like Coimbra and other, you can easily survive with a small budget of 500 – 600 EUR/month.
Accommodation costs in Portugal are pretty much in line with the international average, so especially if you choose or can get a place in halls of residence, you won’t spend a big amount on housing.
Here is a list of the most common housing options:
Students halls of residence – between 165 and 230 EUR/month for a single room.
Rent apartment – one-bedroom apartment is between 330 and 450 EUR/month.
Home stay – around 500 EUR/month, with breakfast included.
Hostel – 20 – 22 EUR/night for a dorm room.
Other costs related to accommodation
You have to be very careful and always examine what is included in the total price of the accommodation. Often times, when you rent an apartment, the rate does not include utility bills, but most times owners will not mention this detail from the beginning. Average utility costs for a one-bedroom apartment should be around 60 EUR/month.
When you rent a place, you will also have to pay for a deposit (most times, price for rent for one month) in advance that will be refunded to you when the tenancy agreement expires.
Prices for food and drink are usually not so different throughout Portugal. For your monthly food bills you would spend on average 120 EUR, not including eating out in restaurants or pubs.
In terms of getting cheap food, menu prices in university canteens are 2,40 EUR for undergraduate and Master students and 3,90 EUR for doctorate students. In a small restaurant, even in Lisbon, you can get a meal for 5 – 6 EUR.
Besides the numberless nice and cosy restaurants that offers either typical Portuguese food, but, also international cuisine, you can find whatever you want in the several supermarkets brands (several are international, others are owned by international companies). A dinner will be more expensive as expected, but it will not cost more than 15 EUR, including the drinks as well. Portugal is also well known for the so called padarias and pastelarias, where one can eat for less than 5 EUR (the first is literally translated as bakery and the second one as sweets bakery).
Drinking choices in Portugal are varied as well – from beer and sangria, considered as cheap drinks more or less to so typical for Portugal port wines and other winery products. Try some typical drinks like Ginginha (liquor made from sour cherries), muscatel, different liquors and the commercial drinks as vodka, rums and so on. The close connection with Brazil makes it even richer market for products from Latin America. You can get a beer or coffee for 1 – 1,5 EUR and up to 5 EUR for a cocktail.
A one-way ticket for local transport is 1,3 EUR, while a monthly fare for public transportation for students in Portugal is around 35 EUR/month. Exception is the metro card, which in most cities costs 20 EUR/month. In some small cities in Portugal or depending on where you stay, you won’t have to pay for transportation, except for some rare occasions, as you can easily wander around and explore the city by foot.
Transports costs in Portugal vary respectively from the cities Some have very well organized transport system with metro, bus and tram and train transport (coastal cities also with ferry). Connection within the country can be obtained either by private or rent-a-car (also cheap option, compared to other countries) or by train and buses. Last two options are preferred as they are cheaper and quite fast and comfortable as well, schedules can be found in internet.
All the students are given some students identity card, that supplies them with some discount for varies activities – book stores discounts, drink and food discounts, sport activities, as well as for the public transport and mobile connections. It is possible in some cities to get a paper, showing permanent address that will bring you some discounts in museums and sightseeing places. Anyway in Lisbon particularly, every Sunday till 2 pm you can visit whatever touristic places for free (if generally any entrance fee is set).
Scholarships in Portugal
Portugal equally offers grants and government-funded scholarships to its own students, EU students or international students. However, it does offer less government-funded scholarships compared to France or Germany. In order to be eligible for a grant, you must apply and be accepted to a course or university that is recognised by the Portuguese Ministry of Education.
Great variety of scholarships is offered to students, mostly forwarded to the Master students, but one can find some financial aid for the other degrees as well. Besides the university institutional scholarships, there are some foundation and research institutions, who are dealing with different international programmes like FP7 and Maria Currie actions, that offer experience and relative payment to its participants. Students can search for institutions in their relevant field that offer annual and project aid to most talented students. As Portugal is now considered in a state of crisis, makes the process of applying and respectively the giving such scholarship a bit a tough process, but still there are plenty of options.
Government and some chambers or associations are also offering different kind of aids – either for the whole period of studies or just an annual with an option for renewal. There are special financial aids for scientists with pre-specified topic of research and as well for women in science (regardless the domain).
In addition in the universities there is plenty enough information about available scholarships and institutions, that offer such. Regularly check of the tables and offices will be very handful, for those who are still looking for a financial aid
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