Are you looking for a university in Portugal? With so many factors to consider: programs and degrees, education system, tuition, research opportunities, international profile… it can be difficult to decide which one is the best for your needs. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top 10 best universities in Portugal. From Lisbon to Porto, each university has something unique to offer, so read on to find out which one is right for you!
Table of Contents
University of Porto
The University of Porto is a public university located in the second-largest city in Portugal. The institution got the official university status in 1911, but it has offered training in arts, medicine and science since the 18th century. With a diverse collection of more than 600 study programs, the University of Porto offers degree courses from the undergraduate to the postgraduate level.
Moreover, the university has some of the highest numbers of students in Portugal, with a population of about 31,000. About 13% of them are international students. University of Porto also has 3 campuses in the city, divided into 14 faculties, 15 schools as well as 51 research units. Lastly, it’s one of the universities in Portugal which have the highest employment rate for its graduates.
Learn more about the University of Porto.
University of Lisbon
The University of Lisbon or ULisboa is the largest university in Portugal and one of Europe’s leading universities. The institution hosts more than 47,000 students with more than 10% of them being international students from more than 100 nationalities.
It started in 2013 through the merger of the Technical University of Lisbon (UTL) and the original University of Lisbon – which came into existence in 1911. ULisboa therefore walks in the steps of both institutions carrying on their scientific and cultural legacy.
The university comprises 18 faculties and offers 400 degree programs. It stands out by its international profile through its involvement into different mobility programs such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus or Tempus. ULisboa has also started offering some degree courses in English.
Find out more about the University of Lisbon.
University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra came into existence in 1290, making it the oldest university in Portugal, and one of the oldest in the world. It starts operating in Lisbon until 1308. It was then definitely transferred to the historic city of Coimbra, and the former capital city of Portugal, in the limits of a former palace.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Coimbra has been the only Portuguese-speaking university in the world. It has spread throughout 3 campuses in the city. The institution consists of 8 faculties and more than 40 research facilities. Lastly, the University of Coimbra welcomes more than 21,000 students with 10% of them being international students.
Learn more about the University of Coimbra.
NOVA University of Lisbon
NOVA University of Lisbon, formerly NOVA, came into existence in 1973. This makes it the youngest university in the Lisbon metropolitan area. It’s also one of the youngest universities in Portugal, with a student population of approximately 19,500. The institution has 9 schools and faculties which offer more than 200 degree programs.
What stands out with NOVA University of Lisbon is the programs it offers. Their main focus is on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and FAME (finance, accounting, management, economics) subjects. The university also provides an MBA program in partnership with the Catholic University of Portugal. Lastly, NOVA University of Lisbon boasts an international profile. It cooperates with other institutions in Brazil, in Latin-American countries and other regions in the world.
Check the university’s website.
University of Minho
The University of Minho has been established in 1973 in the northern Portugal. It includes 3 campuses in the cities of Braga and Guimarães. The institution is part of these young universities which aim to revive the field of education in Portugal. A mission the university has accomplished successfully, being a research institution which focus lies on the valorization of knowledge and a commitment to internationalization.
Moreover, the university has 12 schools and institutes, along with 31 research facilities distributed among the 3 campuses. The University of Minho also hosts over 19,000 students to whom it offers more than 200 study programs, from undergraduate to postgraduate level. They also have access to specialize training and advanced study courses. The university also offers about 60 hours of starter-lessons of Portuguese at the beginning of each semester.
Learn more about the university.
University of Aveiro
The University of Aveiro has its location in the central part of Portugal and one of the most picturesque regions of the country. It has opened its door in 1973 and started welcoming its first 46 students in 1974/75. The institution is defined as a public foundation under private law. It has 3 campuses: the university campus of Santiago along with the Crasto Campus, the School of Technology and Management in Aguedo and the School of Design, Management and Production Technology in Oliveira de Azeméis.
Moreover, the university is highly involved in the community life and is committed to offer the best support to its international students. The institution strives for quality and encourages excellence and innovation towards its students, more than 17,000 of them.
Find out more by visiting the university’s website.
Catholic University of Portugal (UCP)
The Catholic University of Portugal is a free, autonomous university. It has the status of a public university, with a private funding. It was established in 1967, out of an agreement between the Portuguese government and the Catholic church of the country. And since its foundation, the institution has earned its spot in the top university in Portugal thanks to its high-quality teaching and research, its focus on internationalization and the fact that it encourages fruitful debates of ideas among its students.
UCP has 4 campuses throughout Portugal: one in Lisbon, the headquarters, one in Braga, the city where the institution started as a philosophy faculty. The 2 remaining locations are in Porto and Viseu. Moreover, UCP has 15 faculties and welcomes more than 11,000 students with half of them being international students. Furthermore, the university provides 13 undergraduate courses, 18 masters and 4 PhD programs.
Find out more about UCP.
University of Évora
This university was established in 1559 before becoming a public university in 1973. It has been the second university to be established in Portugal. It was because of the need of another university to serve the south of Portugal, after the foundation of the University of Coimbra in 1537.
Having made its mission the production, socialization and transmission of knowledge, the university welcomes a little more than 8,000 students. Among them, more than 1,500 of them are international students from 68 nationalities. Study programs include 39 bachelors, 56 masters, 12 postgraduate courses and 31 doctoral programs. Lastly, the University of Évora is renowned for its excellent teaching, emphasizing values such as respect, curiosity, integrity, and freedom of thought.
Find out more about the university.
University of Beira Interior
The University of Beira Interior started to exist in 1973 as the Polytechnic Institute of Covilhã. It’s a public university in the Beira province, in the north of Portugal. Its location, 250 km north-west of Lisbon, makes it one of the most secluded universities in the Iberian Peninsula. Moreover, the university was created in order to give local residents a chance to pursue university education without having to travel to the other side of the country.
With more than 8,000 students, the institution offers teaching through 5 faculties: Arts & Letters, Sciences, Health sciences, Social & human sciences, and Engineering.
Learn more by visiting the university’s website.
University of Algarve
The last on our list of the top universities in Portugal is the University of Algarve, a public university founded in 1979. It’s a young state university which location is in the southern part of Portugal and the most touristic region of the country. Moreover, the institution has 3 campuses, one in Algarve, one in Faro and another in the city of Portimão.
As for its student population, the University of Algarve welcomes around 10,000 students with a recent increase in the number of international students. The institution offers courses at 3 faculties and 4 schools, as well as several research centers.
Find out more about the University of Algarve.
Read also our guide on the living and study cost in Portugal.