Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe and has some of the best universities in Portugal. It has become a cultural haven for international students due to its beautiful lifestyle and cheap cost of living.

Overseas students are not only interested in the picturesque landscape and lifestyle the city has to offer. In fact, its affordability is one of the major reasons there’s an increase in the international student population every year. In this article, we will be looking at these low-cost universities. We will be covering its tuition fees, study programs, and its unique features.

Affordable Universities in Lisbon for International Students

1. University of Lisbon

Our first school on our list is the largest university in Lisbon with approximately 400 degree programs to offer. The University of Lisbon is a haven for international students with a population of thousands coming from 100 countries. Its annual holding of cultural events is a testament to its dedication to the promotion of multiculturalism.

Levied tuition fees for international students come cheap compared to other elite universities in the country. This has enticed many overseas learners to study here, in the largest city in Portugal, and in one of the most esteemed universities in the country.

2. NOVA University Lisbon

NOVA University of Lisbon is one of the newest universities in the city. Despite this, it has quickly risen and has been acknowledged as one of the best universities in the world. NOVA is a cultural pinnacle in Lisbon and relates many of its courses with cultural activities. Approximately 82 of its degree programs are taught in English, which makes it able to give a much wider learning experience to students from all countries. They pride themselves on giving all of their students, including international students, a sense of citizenship and community within Lisbon.

The tuition fees do not cost a lot for Portuguese and EU nationals, regardless of their European rankings. However, the international need to pay higher fees of more than twice the total fee charged to local students.

There is a lot to be said for the level of commitment that NOVA has towards its international community and, even though the fees are relatively high, it still attracts a vast amount of students from over 100 countries.

3. University Institute of Lisbon

University Institute of Lisbon or ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa in Portuguese, prides itself on being one of the most innovative and dynamic universities in the country. It focuses on giving its students the cultural and technical skills to enable sustainable development at a global level.

Providing the students with international experience is high on the list of the university’s priorities. This will allow students to develop the necessary skills that are required for the global market. It is also a heavily focused research institute where students wishing to further their studies can enroll in one of its graduate programs.

The tuition fees for nationals and EU nationals are similar to other cheap universities in Lisbon. However, international tuition fees do vary depending on the specific course ranging from €5,500 – €7,000.

4. Technical University of Lisbon

The Technical University of Lisbon is a part of the University of Lisbon, previously mentioned. This university excels in the fields of architecture, engineering, and science and technology. It contains some of Portugal’s most prestigious laboratories. About 30% of its international students attend a Ph.D. program giving the university a strong multi-cultural aspect.

Tuition fees for international students are the same for 1st and 2nd cycle. It costs about €7,000 per program. What you are getting for your money is unparalleled compared to the cost. It is heavily focused on educational excellence.

5. Catholic University of Portugal

This Catholic University of Portugal is a humanistic institution focused on creating educated and competent professionals. It has strong theology-based programs. Although it is a religious university there is a small population of international students. Students do not need to be devout Catholic, in nature, it is important to remember that this university holds these ideologies in very high esteem and utmost respect for its culture is necessary. Those wanting to develop a career based on theology should consider enrolling at this university.

There is a stark difference between the tuition fees of national and international students. Though a bit higher, it is still a reasonable rate compared to other universities in the country.

6. Lusophone University

Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies is the largest private university in Portugal.  The chain of universities was created by the private Portuguese investment group, Grupo Lusofona, and has establishments in many Portuguese-speaking countries.

It offers a wide variety of degree programs, from bachelor’s to Ph.D. level, however, most of its courses are taught in Portuguese. Students planning to study at this university should have fluency in the local language.

As always, the tuition fees for Portuguese and EU students are within the usual price range. If you are wanting to study here as an international student, the cost of tuition is a bit expensive and will depend on the study program and degree level.


Lisbon offers a great range of internationally acknowledged universities to choose from. Studying in the city will let you experience a different environment and quality of life.


We hope you make use of this article once you plan to apply to one of the universities in Lisbon. If you are unsure of what study program to take, here’s a list of Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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