Portugal is among the favorite destinations of international students for college education, and there are many reasons why this is true. Besides its numerous higher education institutes, you can enjoy a relatively cheaper tuition cost than other European nations. Also, staying in Portugal is more affordable, with its low cost of living. Just considering how much you can save is enough to choose this beautiful country.

You can study in Portugal for free since Portugal offers several scholarships and funding options for international students. Make sure that your academic profile showcases your competencies and potentials for better chances of getting into your chosen university and winning a scholarship. Without any financial struggles, you can live comfortably in Portugal and enjoy the country to the fullest.

How to Study in Portugal for Free

1. Get good grades and have an excellent application

When looking to study in Portugal for free, make sure you have an exceptional academic standing to get into your preferred university. Your grades, awards, and achievements show both your current competencies and potential to be an asset to your destination school. Besides your school records, you might be required to take an admission test, where your score will determine your chances of receiving the acceptance letter.

To complete these requisites of your college application, you will need to study hard and maintain an unwavering focus on schoolwork. You might also be required to submit a recommendation letter and any form of paperwork as a testament to your good civil records. For these matters, you will need to keep track of your behaviors inside and outside school.

After completing all necessary documents for your study abroad, make sure to ready a scanned copy of these as most college applications happen online. You will have to log in to your destination university website and submit your application there. To avoid inconveniences during your submission, make sure you are using a computer connected to a stable internet connection.

2. Apply for Scholarships in Portugal

After sending your application, your next step is to look for scholarship opportunities and apply to as many as you can in order to study for free in Portugal. While some universities automatically include any scholarship consideration with your college application, some scholarships require you actively apply. Make sure to look for the ones where you fit the eligibility requirements, and organize your scholarship options to avoid errors in submitting your application.

There are government, private, and university scholarship programs in Portugal. Some internet searching can get you the scholarship and grant details, but you might need to contact a university department for additional information. In such cases, ensure you have the means to reach out to the respective personnel for your queries. It would be such a waste to forego a scholarship application you qualify for because of insufficient information.

3. Apply to affordable universities in Portugal

Another crucial step to study in Portugal for free is setting up a backup plan if none of the scholarships you applied for can fully finance your education. In this scenario, the best backup is applying to affordable universities that even partial scholarships or grants with lesser amounts can cover. Fortunately, there are several universities in Portugal that are budget-friendly to international students.

Among the most affordable is the University of Porto, where tuition fees start at €300, way below the average tuition costs of €1,500 in Portugal. The University of Lisbon also attracts international students, with its affordable tuition costs of around €1,200. These globally competitive schools can give you more than your money’s worth.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Study Undergraduate in Portugal for Free

Completing your undergraduate education in Portugal for free can be beneficial to finances as well as your future career. And, you might not need to spend any money at all if you apply for scholarships in its universities. Also, note that if you are from a European Union country, you are exempted from paying tuition costs, which only leaves you with some living costs to cover.

The University of Porto offers several scholarships for international students. It has Social Service scholarships available to students from any European Union countries and countries listed in the cooperation protocol with the University of Porto. Meanwhile, students ineligible for Social Service can apply for Merit Scholarships, instead. This scholarship amounts to up to five times the national minimum salary.

The University of Aveiro, on the other hand, provides incentive financing to international students. Successful applicants receive up to €1,000 tuition discount. The Catholic University of Portugal also offers scholarship options, including the General Merit-Based Scholarships for exemplary students. The school also provides numerous program-based awards and grants, so make sure to reach out through its website’s contact details.

Study Master’s in Portugal for Free

Getting your Master’s degree abroad can enrich your career and provide you with better global industry opportunities. In Portugal, you can complete your Master’s for free. Some of its top universities offer scholarships, awards, and grants for international students. Of course, if you’re from a European Union country, you can also take advantage of Portugal’s free tuition.

The University of Aveiro offers several funding options for graduate students looking to pursue research studies, such as Fulbright Foundation and Erasmus +. You can also visit the University of Coimbra’s website for its list of scholarships, including the Graduate Studies Merit Scholarship, where awardees receive up to €2,000. The university also offers the Extraordinary Scholarship for Graduate Studies, which corresponds to the full tuition costs.

Study Ph.D. in Portugal for Free

The University of Aveiro can provide you with funding for your doctoral studies. Among its listed funding options are the Science Without Borders, which targets Ph.D. candidates from Brazil, and the Cost Action from European Cooperation in Science and Technology. Both funding cover tuition fees, research, and other necessary attendance costs.

You can also pursue your research studies at the University of Coimbra. It offers full funding through the Foundation for Science and Technology. Through these options, you can get your Ph.D. in Portugal for free while contributing your expertise to international research studies in relevant fields.


I hope that this article on studying in Portugal for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Programs in Europe for International Students to know more information like this!