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 Lisbon, Universidade 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.

Learn More: How to Become a Medical Doctor in Portugal

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 the 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.

See Also: Study for Free in Portugal

6. University of Beira Interior

The University of Beira Interior started its operation in 1979 and has a total of five faculties, including the Faculty of Health Science, which includes the Department of Medical Sciences. This public university Faculty of Health Science, one of the best in Portugal, offers undergraduate degree courses in Biomedical Science and Optometry-Vision Science, master’s degree courses in Gerontology, Biomedical Sciences, and Optometry in Vision Science, and an integrated master’s program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. It also runs a Ph.D. program in Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Biomedicine.

The faculty is committed to teaching, research, and internationalization of high-quality medical practices and scientific research in biochemical, epidemiological, and clinical areas through the development of innovative training and high scientific standards. Students are also trained to acquire technical and non-technical skills needed to become health professionals.

Students also go through pre-graduate and post-graduate training activities given by professional medical practitioners and teachers who graduated from the best schools and have years of experience using innovative technology and facilities.

7. University of Aveiro

Another acclaimed Portuguese higher education school is the University of Aveiro. It was established in 1973 and has grown into one of the best schools in the country. However, its Department of Medical Science (DCM) is one of the most outstanding thanks to its impressive facilities, quality teaching, and conducive learning environment. The university’s medical school provides excellent academic instruction guided by intense practical activities using sophisticated and modern scientific technology.

The school offers 1st cycle degree in Biomedical Science, Master’s programs in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Molecular Biomedicine, and Pharmaceutical Biomedicine. It also runs specialization courses in pharmaceutical medicine. These courses are suitable for students interested in medical science and other areas involving medical research in private and public medical institutes, the pharmaceutical industry, forensic medicine, and the development of biomedical products.

DCM is also committed to providing students with multidisciplinary training that places them at the forefront of clinical diagnosis and research and also prepares them to be professionals in various parts of the medical and research industry.

8. University of Algarve

The School of Medicine of the University of Algarve is one of the leading medical schools in the country. The reputable school provides students with innovative and high-quality medical and clinical education and research education. Students are also provided with world-class facilities and access to learning materials that develop them into brilliant medical practitioners.

The School of Medicine of the University of Algarve offers undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Dietetics and Nutrition, Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy, Physiotherapy, Nursing, and Biomedical Sciences. It offers master’s degrees in Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine, Management and Evaluation In Healthcare Technologies, Chemical Innovation and Regulation, and Oncobiology – Molecular Mechanisms In Cancer. The school also offers Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences, and Clinical Research & Translational Medicine.

Moreover, it also offers Integrated Master’s program, Postgraduate Specialization, and Open Courses. Every program offered is taught by acclaimed professors who graduated from leading institutions worldwide. Each course is unique and is designed to create individuals who value the healthcare system and are interested in improving various aspects of it in order to enhance the well-being of people in the community and discover solutions to many ailments and health challenges.

9. University of Evora

The University of Evora was established in 1559, making it the second-oldest university in Portugal. The university’s School of Health and Human Development is one of the top medical institutes in the country, where medical education is taught in the most advanced and inventive manner using ultra-modern facilities that make the teaching and learning process more exciting and impactful.

The School of Health and Human Development trains students to be world-class medical practitioners who value human lives and are dedicated to providing professional healthcare services needed to improve the lives of members of their society. The school ensures students have the best experience and good relationships with their instructors and other staff members.

It offers various programs, including bachelor’s degrees in Biomedical and Health Sciences, Psychomotor Rehabilitation, and Sports Sciences, as well as master’s Degrees in Physical Exercise and Health, Psychomotricity and Sports Management, and Direction Technology in Sport and Health. The school also runs postgraduate degrees in Drug & Medical Device Life Cycles and Gerontology & Health.

10. Higher School of Nursing, Coimbra

The Higher School of Nursing, Coimbra, is a public nursing school established in 2004 by merging two former nursing schools from Coimbra: the Escola Superior de Enfermagem Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca and the Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Bissaya Barreto. The Nursing school offers health training to individuals interested in becoming professional nurses. Although relatively new to the academic industry, it has seen immense growth and is slowly becoming one of the elite medical institutes in Portugal.

Nurses who pass through this school are trained to practice according to ethics and make ethical decisions. They are taught to protect human rights and respect patient privacy and personal information by keeping their information safe and confidential. They are also trained to use appropriate care practices and never compromise the safety of patients. Students are expected to be able to identify risk practices and use only proper measures to handle them.

Degrees offered at the Higher School of Nursing, Coimbra, includes Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master’s in Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Rehabilitation Nursing, Maternal Health & Obstetric Nursing, Nursing of Mental & Psychiatric Health, Child & Pediatric Health Nursing, Community Nursing (Family Health Nursing Area), Community Nursing (Community Health and Public Health Nursing Area), etc. The school also offers Postgraduate Degrees in Occupational Nursing and Wound Treatment, Postgraduate Specialization Degrees in Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Continuous Training Courses for health professionals looking to update their knowledge and professional performances.


These medical schools have built a reputation that reflects world-class academics and professional practices making them some of the best schools in Portugal. Students who pass through these schools have gone on to be some of the best minds making groundbreaking discoveries in the medical world. These schools also offer funding opportunities for international students! Visit our Scholarships Page to learn more about scholarships and universities in Portugal and across the globe!


We 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!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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