Scholarships in Portugal

Although Portugal has made cuts in its education spending due to the financial crisis, higher education remains a priority for the government and state scholarships are still offered. There are also a large number of private scholarships available. The emphasis in the provision of scholarships is on post-graduate education, since basic fees in state universities for undergraduate degrees remain moderate – a little over 1,000€ a year.
Portugal provides students with only few  scholarships
Portugal provides students with only few scholarships


General situation in terms of scholarships

Compared to other major EU countries such as France or Germany, Portugal does not offer a great many government-funded scholarships to its own students, EU students or international students. Scholarships that it does provide are chiefly funded through the DGES, theDireção-Geral do Ensino Superior, or for foreign students through theInstituto Português de Apoioao Desenvolvimento or the Instituto Camões. Portugal is a long-standing member of the EU, so it participates in all EU-derived scholarships, such as the Erasmus Mundus Programme. Although EU regulations prevent Portugal charging different fee structures to students from other EU countries, or refusing fee-payment grants, they may refuse support-scholarships to individuals not already resident in Portugal. The majority of scholarships provided by overseas institutions, public or private, for foreign study, can of course also be used to study in Portugal.

There are also a number of private and semi-private foundations and institutes which provide scholarships for study in sciences, technology, Portuguese language and Portuguese culture.


Type of scholarships and granting institution

The DGES provides merit-based scholarships for all levels of study in all programmes through public funding. Scholarships for post-graduate study by international students are also available, but many are limited to studies related to Portuguese language and culture. Some are highly specialized, for example for studies in the field of translation and conference interpretation. These scholarships are administered for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Instituto Camões.

Under a plan designed to strengthen Portuguese universities in the areas of transportation, bioengineering, sustainable energy, and engineering design and advanced manufacturing, the government has partnered with overseas universities to provide scholarships for post-graduate programmes in those areas. Additionally, the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia grants around 1,000 scholarships a year for post-graduate studies in science and technology. These pay between 750 and 2,500€ a year depending on the level of study and other factors.

Availability and conditions for getting a scholarship

Conditions and requirements for scholarships vary considerably with the level of the degree and the granting organization. To study at a Portuguese university, EU and EEA students do not require a visa, but may need to have established residency for a period of time, which may take up to five years. International students normally require a visa, which is applied for at the Portuguese embassy in their own country. International students must also have their qualifications recognized as being sufficient to enter the level of programme they are applying for. Insurance for health care is also required; EU students use the European Health Card to access care, which is paid for by their own country. International students may need private insurance, although for developing countries this may be included in the scholarship.

The DGES provides merit-based scholarships for general study. Scholarships pay 2,415€ a year spread over 10 months of the year. Application for these scholarships is made directly at the institution of study, through the on-campus offices of either SAS (Serviços de Ação Social) or GAS (Gabinete de Ação Social).

Local scholarships for foreign students

There is a one-month scholarship for studies in the field of education paid by the Portuguese government. The Instituto Camões scholarships for study of the Portuguese language and culture have a maximum length of twelve months. These government programmes pay a monthly stipend of 500€.

Additionally, for students already studying Portuguese at a foreign university, an 8 month duration scholarship is available. This pays 450€ a month, with an additional amount of 375€ paid in the first month only. Applicants must be under 45 years of age. They must have been accepted by the university they wish to study at. Travel costs to Portugal are not covered by government scholarships.

TheInstituto Português de Apoioao Desenvolvimento provides scholarships for students from historic Portuguese overseas territories to study in Portugal to be future leaders, military officers and educators in their home countries. These scholarships pay a monthly stipend, fees, educational material costs and a settling-in allowance.

Typical scholarships in Portugal

Most local and EU students could apply for the standard government merit-based scholarship. EU students could apply for the wide variety of general EU scholarships and use them for study in Portugal. Foreign students could be eligible for Instituto Camões scholarships for studies of Portuguese language and culture, Instituto Português de Apoioao Desenvolvimento scholarships for more general studies or Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia scholarships for studies in the sciences.