15 Cheapest Universities in Portugal for International Students

In Portugal, there are a lot of affordable universities that you can find. Enrolling in these schools will help you fulfill your dream of studying in Portugal without paying a lot. These institutions also provide well-rounded academic programs and curriculums, allowing students to earn a degree with less burden on their pockets.

Now, if you’re planning to study in Portugal, you’ll have a lot of school options, as they are home to 83 universities. But if you’re looking for cheap universities in Portugal, make sure to read more!

How do I get admission to affordable universities in Portugal?

Portugal is home to 18,200 international students, and a lot of them enjoy quality education without paying high costs!

Applying to cheap universities in Portugal requires you to complete different requirements depending on your degree and chosen university. These usually include admission forms, language proficiency scores, and a visa. Check out our full guide to studying in Portugal for a more comprehensive guide!

What can I study at Best affordable universities in Portugal?

International students can study a variety of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Portugal. For example, one of the best affordable schools in Portugal is the Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique, which offers Marine Engineering, Marine Electrotechnical Engineering, and Logistics and Transportation Management to students seeking a bachelor’s degree. At the master’s level, the Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique offers Marine Engineering, and Deck and Bridge Operations.

Cheap Bachelor's Colleges and Universities in Portugal for International Students

Here is the list of affordable institutions in Portugal ordered by their tuition fee for international bachelor's students.

University Annual Bachelor’s International Tuition % Cheaper than Average*
Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya 360 Euros - 5,000 Euros 90%
Lusofona University of Porto 674 Euros - 782 Euros 81%
Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra 697 Euros 81%
University of Minho 872 Euros - 6,500 Euros 76%
Polytechnic Institute of Tomar 1,250 Euros - 1,450 Euros 65%
Polytechnic Institute of Braganca 1,329 Euros 63%
Polytechnic Institute of Setubal 1,350 Euros 62%
University of the Algarve 1,500 Euros - 4,500 Euros 58%
Politecnico de Lisboa 1,650 Euros - 6,900 Euros 54%
University of Porto 1,925 Euros - 3,500 Euros 46%
Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique 2,000 Euros 44%
University of Evora 2,500 Euros 29%
Higher Institute of Administration and Languages 2,802 Euros 21%
Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga 2,820 Euros 20%
Fernando Pessoa University 2,932 Euros - 4,550 Euros 17%

* Average Bachelor’s International Tuition is 3,515 Euros for universities in Portugal.

1. Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya

Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya (ISPGAYA) is a nationally recognized institute that has educated countless individuals in various academic disciplines. It offers cutting-edge programs that have generated socially committed professionals and innovators who are currently contributing to the betterment of society. ISPGAYA has maintained to provide high-quality education since it opened its doors to the public. It continues to expand and develop more advanced programs to meet the current market needs.

2. Lusofona University of Porto

The Lusofona University of Porto is a prestigious private university that is home to over 12,000 students. With this student population, it is considered the largest private university in Portugal. This university was founded in 1994 in Porto and offers various programs in important fields of study, such as law, science, and education.

3. Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra

The Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra has a long history in the field of education, but it was only recognized as a university in 1979. This university is located in Coimbra, Portugal, and it is mostly known for having famous alumni including José Sócrates, who was the former Prime Minister of Portugal. This university has a variety of degrees and departments, of which the most famous ones are from the fields of business management, technology, and science.

4. University of Minho

The University of Minho (Universidade do Minho) is a renowned public research university located in the northern region of Portugal. It was established in 1973 and has since grown into a leading educational institution in the country. The university is named after the historical Minho region, encompassing Braga, Guimarães, and Vila Nova de Famalicão. Moreover, the University of Minho has forged partnerships and collaborations with other institutions worldwide, promoting internationalization and enabling students and researchers to engage in academic exchanges, joint projects, and mobility programs.

5. Polytechnic Institute of Tomar

Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT) was initiated in 1973 but was withheld due to the Portuguese revolution. In 1996, the Ministry of Education and Science led the institution’s establishment, primarily offering management and technology programs. Today, IPT has more than 60 courses to choose from. Aside from bachelor’s and master’s programs, it also provides short courses and postgraduate programs.

6. Polytechnic Institute of Braganca

Polytechnic Institute of Braganca (IPB) is a public institution that provides higher education in applied sciences. Most of its undergraduate and graduate programs are taught in Portuguese; however, the institute also offers English-taught programs for some of its most sought-after courses. IPB is highly recognized for its proven academic excellence. Its ever-increasing number of local and international students is a testament that the university is among the leading institutions that offer the highest standard of teaching in Portugal.

7. Polytechnic Institute of Setubal

The Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal is located in the municipality of Setúbal. This university is highly advanced and specializes in technical courses such as engineering, chemical engineering, and technology. It aims to continuously improve its campuses so it can keep up with the development of technology and provide the best possible courses for their students.

8. University of the Algarve

The University of the Algarve is a public institution for higher education located in Faro, a coastal city in the south of Portugal. It is one of the top universities in the Algarve region and has appeared in multiple national and international rankings. The university is known for its outstanding academic and research programs focused on contributing to the social and economic development of the region, particularly in areas of the sea, health, food, and tourism. 

9. Politecnico de Lisboa

Situated in the capital city of Lisbon, Politecnico de Lisboa (IPL) is an outstanding Portuguese university that provides higher education in various academic disciplines. The institute aims to offer numerous career-oriented study programs to generate countless individuals who will lead in different industry sectors. IPL equally attracts local and international students. This global university currently has long-term partnerships with foreign universities and leading companies to offer its students a more diverse and top-quality education. It is also devoted to strengthening its ties with other countries.

10. University of Porto

One of the largest universities in Portugal, the University of Porto is a highly acknowledged institution in the country that delivers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. More than that, they also take pride in producing excellent scientific research. Students in the university are surrounded by great learning opportunities, as the university offers various activities for them.

11. Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique

Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique is the only public university in Portugal dedicated to providing specialized education and training in marine engineering, operations, and management. The university actively participates in several social activities and research projects to help improve the country’s maritime industry and enhance the technical knowledge of the local community. It also takes part in mobility programs to allow its students to study or intern abroad. 

12. University of Evora

The University of Evora is the second oldest university in the country and was established in 1559 to meet the need of the southern region of Portugal for a higher education institution. The university promotes free inquiry in its programs and encourages its students to constantly ask and challenge what they are taught in their pursuit of knowledge and personal development. The university is also known for its research and extension programs focusing on the cultural, economic, and social development of the region. 

13. Higher Institute of Administration and Languages

Higher Institute of Administration and Languages, or Instituto Superior de Administracao e Linguas (ISAL) in Portuguese, is a specialized higher education school in Madeira. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs, language courses, and numerous training certifications. In addition, one of its unique features is its program structure; all its undergraduate programs are lectured in the evening to accommodate working students. Tourism degree programs are considered one of its best-known educational programs and are highly acknowledged nationally.

14. Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga

The Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga is a private institution that focuses on practical education that uses new and innovative techniques. This institution has served as a higher education university since 1990 in the region of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, and it is very popular among domestic students.

15. Fernando Pessoa University

Fernando Pessoa University (Universidade Fernando Pessoa) is a private university in Porto, Portugal. It was named after the renowned Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa and was founded in 1996. The university is known for its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, combining different areas of knowledge to provide a comprehensive learning experience. The university also promotes internationalization and offers opportunities for students to engage in international exchange programs, enabling them to study abroad and experience different academic and cultural environments.

Cheap Master's Colleges and Universities in Portugal for International Students

Here is the list of affordable institutions in Portugal ordered by their tuition fee for international master's students.

University Annual Master’s International Tuition % Cheaper than Average*
Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya 360 Euros - 6,000 Euros 89%
Lusofona University of Porto 550 Euros - 622 Euros 83%
University of Minho 1,000 Euros - 6,500 Euros 69%
University of the Azores 1,180 Euros - 2,000 Euros 63%
Polytechnic Institute of Braganca 1,329 Euros 59%
University of Beira Interior 1,500 Euros 53%
Politecnico de Lisboa 1,650 Euros - 6,900 Euros 48%
University of Porto 1,925 Euros - 4,000 Euros 40%
Polytechnic Institute of Setubal 1,980 Euros 38%
University of the Algarve 2,000 Euros - 4,500 Euros 37%
Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique 2,500 Euros 22%
University of Evora 2,500 Euros 22%
Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga 2,820 Euros 11%
Manuel Teixeira Gomes Higher Education Institute 2,908 Euros 9%
Polytechnic Institute of Leiria 3,000 Euros 6%

* Average Master’s International Tuition is 3,167 Euros for universities in portugal.

1. Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya

Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya (ISPGAYA) is a nationally recognized institute that has educated countless individuals in various academic disciplines. It offers cutting-edge programs that have generated socially committed professionals and innovators who are currently contributing to the betterment of society. ISPGAYA has maintained to provide high-quality education since it opened its doors to the public. It continues to expand and develop more advanced programs to meet the current market needs.

If you're looking to save the most on your graduate studies abroad, Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya should be at the top of your list. International students here pay only 360 Euros to 6,000 Euros annually for their master's degree.

2. Lusofona University of Porto

One of the universities you should definitely check out for practical reasons is Lusofona University of Porto. Here, you can finish your master's degree with minimal stress on your finances. After all, the tuition rate for graduate studies at Lusofona University of Porto is 550 Euros to 622 Euros.

The Lusofona University of Porto is a prestigious private university that is home to over 12,000 students. With this student population, it is considered the largest private university in Portugal. This university was founded in 1994 in Porto and offers various programs in important fields of study, such as law, science, and education.

3. University of Minho

The University of Minho (Universidade do Minho) is a renowned public research university located in the northern region of Portugal. It was established in 1973 and has since grown into a leading educational institution in the country. The university is named after the historical Minho region, encompassing Braga, Guimarães, and Vila Nova de Famalicão. Moreover, the University of Minho has forged partnerships and collaborations with other institutions worldwide, promoting internationalization and enabling students and researchers to engage in academic exchanges, joint projects, and mobility programs.

The tuition fee at University of Minho for incoming international master’s students is 1,000 Euros to 6,500 Euros. With its cheap rates, you can guarantee you’ll get a quality education without breaking the bank!

4. University of the Azores

Another affordable university to consider in Portugal is University of the Azores.

University of the Azores, or Universidade dos Açores (UAc) in Portuguese, is a nationally recognized public institution with years of expertise in cultivating socially accountable professionals, innovators, and leaders. The institute’s formation began in 1976, as the region of the Azores needed a higher education school that offered good quality education at affordable costs. Over the years, the university has undergone several improvements, expanded its departments, and developed advanced programs. It has also collaborated with several universities and companies to offer its students more opportunities and experiences.

The tuition fee in University of the Azores for master’s program for foreign students starts from 1,180 Euros.

5. Polytechnic Institute of Braganca

Aside from its outstanding quality of education, Polytechnic Institute of Braganca has some of the lowest tuition fee prices for foreign students who are planning to take a master's degree here. International master's students only pay as low as 1,329 Euros yearly.

Polytechnic Institute of Braganca (IPB) is a public institution that provides higher education in applied sciences. Most of its undergraduate and graduate programs are taught in Portuguese; however, the institute also offers English-taught programs for some of its most sought-after courses. IPB is highly recognized for its proven academic excellence. Its ever-increasing number of local and international students is a testament that the university is among the leading institutions that offer the highest standard of teaching in Portugal.

6. University of Beira Interior

The University of Beira Interior is a public university that is internationally recognized for its academic and research programs in a wide range of fields. It has more than 600 professors to cater to its students. It also takes pride in its state-of-the-art facilities with the latest equipment for students to utilize in conducting research and studies. 

7. Politecnico de Lisboa

Situated in the capital city of Lisbon, Politecnico de Lisboa (IPL) is an outstanding Portuguese university that provides higher education in various academic disciplines. The institute aims to offer numerous career-oriented study programs to generate countless individuals who will lead in different industry sectors. IPL equally attracts local and international students. This global university currently has long-term partnerships with foreign universities and leading companies to offer its students a more diverse and top-quality education. It is also devoted to strengthening its ties with other countries.

8. University of Porto

One of the largest universities in Portugal, the University of Porto is a highly acknowledged institution in the country that delivers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. More than that, they also take pride in producing excellent scientific research. Students in the university are surrounded by great learning opportunities, as the university offers various activities for them.

9. Polytechnic Institute of Setubal

The Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal is located in the municipality of Setúbal. This university is highly advanced and specializes in technical courses such as engineering, chemical engineering, and technology. It aims to continuously improve its campuses so it can keep up with the development of technology and provide the best possible courses for their students.

10. University of the Algarve

The University of the Algarve is a public institution for higher education located in Faro, a coastal city in the south of Portugal. It is one of the top universities in the Algarve region and has appeared in multiple national and international rankings. The university is known for its outstanding academic and research programs focused on contributing to the social and economic development of the region, particularly in areas of the sea, health, food, and tourism. 

11. Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique

Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique is the only public university in Portugal dedicated to providing specialized education and training in marine engineering, operations, and management. The university actively participates in several social activities and research projects to help improve the country’s maritime industry and enhance the technical knowledge of the local community. It also takes part in mobility programs to allow its students to study or intern abroad. 

12. University of Evora

The University of Evora is the second oldest university in the country and was established in 1559 to meet the need of the southern region of Portugal for a higher education institution. The university promotes free inquiry in its programs and encourages its students to constantly ask and challenge what they are taught in their pursuit of knowledge and personal development. The university is also known for its research and extension programs focusing on the cultural, economic, and social development of the region. 

13. Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga

The Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga is a private institution that focuses on practical education that uses new and innovative techniques. This institution has served as a higher education university since 1990 in the region of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, and it is very popular among domestic students.

14. Manuel Teixeira Gomes Higher Education Institute

The Manuel Teixeira Gomes Higher Education Institute is a young, private institution that was established in 2004 with the aim of providing good educational guidance and experience. This institution is located in Portimao, Portugal, and it is an essential educational facility in this region, providing affordable educational options for domestic and international students.

15. Polytechnic Institute of Leiria

Home to more than 12,000 students, the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria is one of Portugal’s public institutions that deliver quality programs at different levels. This institution takes pride in having a high employability rate, as they produce graduates in the field that are widely accepted in Europe and in the globe. More than that, they have various research projects that received recognition for its results and performances.


It's important to take a look at all your options when selecting where to attend post-secondary school. With so many different types of schools, degrees, and universities in Portugal, it can be tough to know where to start looking.

So, make sure to explore the best public universities in Portugal as well if you're looking for affordable education!

We hope that this article on affordable institutions in Portugal for international students was helpful!