Portugal is a country in southwestern Europe, as it is along the Atlantic Coast of the Iberian Peninsula; it features many magnificent beaches which attract most of its foreign visitors. But the main reasons that keep the tourists in the country are its less expensive cost of living and the hospitality of its citizens. Even though Portuguese is the country’s language, the residents will try to make foreign nations feel welcome in their country by making an effort to strike conversations in English.

However, as a prospective student in Portugal, it is best to familiarize yourself with the Portuguese language. It will help you build relationships and function in your everyday life during your stay. Moreover, bachelor programs in the country use Portuguese for instruction, so if you want to pursue medicine in the country, which involves both undergraduate and graduate degrees, it is more the reason to learn the language at least at B2 level. In this article, we will be looking at the best medical schools in Portugal.

Can international students enroll in medical schools in Portugal?

Yes, Portugal is open to outstanding international students who will pass all their academic criteria. An average of 50,000 international students flock to the country to study each year; a large portion of that is aspiring medical students. The medical schools that accept international students include the top universities such as the  University of Porto, the University of Coimbra, the University of LisbonUniversidade Nova de Lisboa, and the University of Minho. Interested? We have listed out some of the essential requirements for application and admission for you:

  • High School Diploma
  • Transcript of academic records
  • A motivational letter
  • Some medical institutions require an entrance examination
  • Portuguese language proficiency at B2 level certification
  • TOEFL/IELTS certification as some courses in the medical program is in English.
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of sufficient income
  • Proof of health insurance coverage

To simplify the application process to the various undergraduate programs offered in tertiary education, the Directorate-General for Higher Education had created an online portal named Candidatura Online. In it, prospective international students can apply for the National Competition for Access to Higher Education and gather information about universities and their programs.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

What is the medical curriculum like in medical schools in Portugal?

Since the number of international students going to Portugal to study medicine increases each year, most schools now offer pre-clinical English courses. However, their clinical training programs remain in Portuguese. The applicants can take the medical program directly from High School like most European Schools. Most Portugal universities follow a six-year medical curriculum which consists of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Some schools similar to The University of Porto offer an Integrated Master’s degree that only lasts five to six years, that combines the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. Here’s how it looks:

The whole Integrated Master’s Degree curriculum consists of 360 ECTs for 12 semesters. A degree in Basic Health Sciences awaits students after completion of the first 180 ECTS in six semesters. The 4th year and onwards will focus on clinical subjects with 24 ECTS reserved for electives. The remaining two semesters in the final year will be a clinical clerkship at medical establishments.

Following graduation is a one-year general internship program called Ano Comum or Common year. Once done, the graduates can now be general practitioners under supervision. If the student opts to specialize, they will also have to take the National Seriation Exam (Prova Nacional de Seriação), which will place them in their specialty based on ranking and the vacancy available.

Best Medical Schools in Portugal

1. University of Porto

University of Porto Faculty of Medicine (FMUP) is the best medical school in Portugal, established in 1911. Its former location is in the Medical-Surgical School until its transfer to its current location at São João Hospital at Asprela (Polo II), which helped enhance the education, research, and patient care the faculty provides. The university welcomes international students with open arms and is also involved in Erasmus and Almeida Garrett students exchange programs.

2. University of Coimbra

Established in 1290, the University of Coimbra is the oldest educational institution in Portugal. Old enough for the university to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage since it preserves the history of European and world scientific culture. This top medical school in Portugal initially operated in Lisbon but was transferred to Coimbra in 1537. We saw the construction in 1986 of the Hospital of the University of Coimbra (HUC) in Cela. This facility is vital to the clinical training and laboratory activities for medical students in the present.

3. University of Lisbon

Universidade de Lisboa (ULisboa), one of hte best medical schools in Portugal, formed when the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, former Universidade de Lisboa and University Stadium of Lisbon merged. The University of Lisbon also holds the largest university hospital in the country, the Hospital de Santa Maria. Moreover, the university is at the heart of a reference Hospital (Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte) and a relevant fundamental research sector (Instituto de Medicina Molecular). All these facilities contributed to the competitive medical program and research the university currently offers.

4. Universidade Nova de Lisboa

The Universidade Nova de Lisboa Medical School started 43 years ago. Their first medical degree offering at the university lasted for seven years during the political unrest in 1974. During this time, the university also started to accumulate and build a partnership with hospitals, starting from the Egas Moniz Hospital. The constraints of the past and the innovation of the present helped shape the current medical curriculum of the university, which has been serving both Portuguese and international students alike.

5. University of Minho

The University of Minho started operating in 1973, but it was only in 2000 that its School of Medicine emerged. Despite this, the university still made it on the list, as it offers one of the best medical education in Portugal. Its medical degrees comply with the Bologna process. It is student-centered, community-oriented with opportunities for scientific research. This top medical university in Portugal also accepts international students and even offers a preparatory course designed for them.


One of the factors to consider when choosing a medical school is the social environment, and in a hospitable country like Portugal, having a friendly studying atmosphere is given. Combine these with beautiful scenery, cheap tuition fees, and internationally recognized medical education, definitely worth a try.


I hope that this article on the best medical schools in Portugal was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more information, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students!