Universities and Colleges in Lisbon

Why should I study in Lisbon?

Why should a student choose to study abroad in Lisbon? For several reasons, including the fact that it is 70th in the QS Best Student Cities ranking!

Lisbon university ranking

Three of Lisbon’s universities, two of which are public and one private, are listed in the QS World University Rankings® 2023. Specifically: ULisboa, the University of Lisbon ranks highest (335th), the Universidade Nova de Lisboa 369th, and the Universidade Catolica Portuguesa 800-1000.

study in lisboa, portugal

Study in Lisbon: 4 good reasons

But there are so many universities in Lisbon and so many reasons why you should study here. In particular, there are four excellent reasons, ones that are undoubtedly among the most important for a student. Specifically:

  1. The quality of education;
  2. Lisbon’s unique charm and leading-edge character;
  3. The welcoming atmosphere;
  4. The cheapness of life.

1. Quality first

The first factor a student considers when choosing his/her study abroad destination is the quality of education. From this point of view, Lisbon is one of the most interesting cities in Europe. The list of universities in Lisbon is impressive: the city houses 31 universities, offering some 692 different study programs!
The number itself is remarkable, but it’s the diversity and quality standard that sets the city apart from many others. The higher education system of Portugal includes schools and colleges that offer students a wide range of preeminent humanistic departments, esteemed scientific faculties, and even renowned polytechnics.
The professors, tutors, and lecturers employed by the best universities in Lisbon are well-prepared and committed. It comes as no surprise that countless European students choose to attend the Erasmus program in Lisbon.

2. Study in Lisbon and enjoy the vibes of a lively city

Beautiful sights, a stimulating cultural scene, and heartrending Fado music. Lisbon is one of Europe’s most intriguing, popular, and progressive cities. Alongside picturesque streets, it offers cool bars, modern restaurants, and co-working facilities, that meet the tastes and needs of a young, up-and-coming crowd. It comes as no surprise that Lisbon won the 2019 World Travel Award as Best City Break Destination!

Lisbon’s climate

And then there’s the climate! Green urban living and the vicinity of the seashores make Lisbon attractive. In Lisbon, you’ll find that sunshine dominates the scene year-round. Winters are mild and the sea breezes mitigate the summer heat.
Also, studying in Lisbon allows you to visit the nearby beaches as often as you like and enjoy a sustainable lifestyle. The city’s green areas, parks, and safe cycling trails make for a happy, healthy, and secure student life. Discover some cultural and fun activities to do in Lisbon following this link.

3. A welcoming and diverse community

Studying in Lisbon provides students with several learning opportunities as regards daily life and diversity, as well as academics. Lisboans are extremely friendly and welcoming and they often go out of their way to make foreigners feel at home, safe and happy. In addition, the city is home to many immigrants from all over the world, tourists who visit in all seasons, and, in recent years, digital nomads and artists. This variety makes for an intense and stimulating atmosphere. Also, the city hosts approximately 79,900 students per year, and 16% are ex-pat students. Lisbon certainly does not lack diversity and multicultural stimuli!

4. Affordability

Lisbon is a budget-friendly destination for students who choose to enroll in a university abroad. Current data reveals that Lisbon ranks 97th in the 2022 affordability indicator, with its universities charging an average of circa US$5,000 per year for tuition. In terms of cost of living, Portugal is considered among the cheapest destinations in Europe. This condition for Lisbon, in particular, has been changing rapidly in recent years, but the cost of living remains lower than in other European capitals such as London or Milan. Read more about the cost of living in Lisbon.

Where are universities located in Lisbon?

Lisbon’s public universities are strategically located in the city and easy to reach by metro or bus. The largest one, the University of Lisbon (ULisboa), comprises two areas: the Cidade Universitária and the Pólo da Ajuda. Most of the others have one only campus that houses most of its buildings, study halls, etc.

Check our detailed Lisboa’s neighborhoods map to see where Lisbon’s universities are located.

On the map, you will find the neighborhood names and the freguesias in which they are contained. What are Lisbon’s freguesias? Learn about the city’s freguesias following this link.

What language is used in the universities in Lisbon?

The classes of most Bachelor’s programs held in the universities in Lisbon are taught in Portuguese, but there are many English Master’s and PhD study programs.
Students who want to study in Portugal without learning Portuguese are spoiled for choice. There are multiple scientific study programs and management English courses, including but not limited to chemistry, engineering, environmental studies, mathematics, informatics engineering, and informatics networking!

Most important universities in Lisboa

Below you can find a list of the main universities in Lisbon, including the links to each school’s official website. If you want to do more extensive research, you can check out the Portuguese General Directorate of Higher Education website.

Polytechnics and universities in Lisbon: different aims overlapping study programs

When faced with a choice between one of Lisbon’s universities and a polytechnic, keep in mind that the former focus on academics, while the latter aim to get students ready for specific career paths. Both the polytechnics and universities in Lisbon provide management, engineering, and humanities classes.

An overview of a few of the best universities in Lisbon

Every university in Lisbon has its strong points and peculiar features, but some have an excellent reputation worldwide. The Universidade Nova de Lisboa, the youngest in the country, also has a good reputation for offering dynamic and pioneering academics.

Public Universities in Lisbon, Portugal

ULisboa in Campo Grande, Freguesia Alvalade

  • ULisboa, the University of Lisbon, is one of Europe’s leading higher education institutes and the largest in Portugal. Comprising 18 schools, 100+ research units, circa 50.000 students, and 4.000 lecturers, it offers a wide range of study programs in Portuguese as well as numerous Masters in English.
  • Faculdade de Arquitetura. School of Architecture in Bairro 2 de Maio
  • Faculdade de Belas-Artes. Faculty of fine arts, located in Chiado, freguesia Santa Maria Maior
  • Faculdade de Ciências. School of science situated in Campo Grande in the Alvalade freguesia
  • Faculdade de Direito. The Law School in the Bairro of Campo Grande, freguesia Alvalade
  • Faculdade de Farmacia. School of Pharmacy in Campo Grande in the Alvalade freguesia
  • Faculdade de Letras Faculty of humanities situated in Campo Grande (Alvalade)
  • Faculdade de Medicina School of Medicine located in Campo Grande neighborhood in the Alvalade freguesia
  • Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão. School of economics and management in Lapa Neighborhood, freguesia Estrela.

Instituto Superior Técnico: a higher technical institute located in Areeiro

The Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST) enjoys an outstanding reputation worldwide. Known to be one of ULisboa’s best schools, it is also reputed to be extremely demanding. What’s the truth behind the myth? Well. Being a big-league school calls for no-nonsense commitment, but it is not more challenging than other influential institutions located elsewhere. All you need to do is work hard and be steady in your studies, and you’ll get by!

ISCTE: one of the best universities in Lisbon

The ISCTE is situated in Campo Grande, the Lisbon campus.
The Institute of Labor and Business Sciences, located in the center of Lisbon, hosts several undergraduate and graduate programs. It is renowned to be a dynamic and leading-edge learning hub. The ISCTE offers Masters in Social Sciences, Business & Management, Computer Science & IT as well as Humanities and Journalism & Media.

Study in Lisbon: the Nova Universidade de Lisboa

Nova Universidade de Lisboa is situated in Nova Campolide, in the Campolide freguesia. Check the neighborhood map of Lisbon for more information.
Awarded with the highest Leiden Ranking score in the global U-Multirank 2021, NOVA ranks 7th among all the youngest European universities. Located in the Campolide neighborhood, it is known for its innovative interdisciplinary approach to learning.

Private Universities and Polytechnics

Where to study management in Lisboa: the Catholic University

The Catholic University stays in the neighborhood of Laranjeiras, in São Domingos de Benfica.
Students looking to study management in Lisboa may want to look into the programs of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. It is world-renowned for its distinguished faculty and courses in this field.

Finding a university residence in Lisbon

Do Lisbon universities offer residences for students?
The city’s major universities offer directly handled and/or outsourced solutions dedicated to scholarships and foreign students attending exchange programs such as Erasmus. Solutions include student university residences handled directly by the specific Universities, and privately-owned student residences.

nova lisboa
University Nova de Lisboa, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Accommodation at ULisboa

Expat students enrolling in study programs at the ULisboa can apply for accommodation within the ULisboa Student Halls of Residence, which comprise 19 different residences for students.
How to apply
To apply, ex-pat students are required to send an email to the International Relations/Erasmus Office of the School they plan to attend. You should send this application after the student’s enrollment has been accepted. As regards the costs involved, the monthly fees are established by ULisboa every year. For more details on the ULisboa Student Halls of Residence and a complete list, visit the dedicated page on the official website.

Rooms at the NOVA University Residence Halls

NOVA University also provides student residences via the in-house Social Welfare Services (SASNOVA). Options include three residence halls, comprising a total of 460 beds. Portuguese scholarship students and ex-pat students that attend exchange programs have the priority. For detailed information on the three different NOVA Residence Halls, contact information, and application procedures, please refer to the dedicated page on the official NOVA website.

Stay for students studying at ISCTE

Students enrolling at the ISCTE can apply for accommodation at the Professor José Pinto Peixoto University Residence This Palace rises on the premises of the Monastery of Santos-o-Novo, on a hilltop near the river in east Lisbon. For details on the rooms, how the residence operates, and application procedures, you can visit the official website.

Ladies have dedicated accommodation facilities at the Católica University

The Católica University’s Faculty of Human Sciences offers ladies-only cost-effective accommodation at its Women’s University Residence (RUF). Applications are accepted year-round, but be aware that the administration allocates vacancies in July only.

Privately-owned student residences in Lisbon

Students looking for affordable student-only accommodation in Lisbon are spoiled for choice: the city provides a wide range of privately-owned student residences, some of which also offer gyms, swimming pools, and common areas.
These include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Collegiate Marquês de Pombal
  • Livensa Living
  • Coolivin
  • U.hub Xior Alvalade – Residência de Estudantes (several facilities)
  • Unit Residence Lisboa
  • Shelter10

Do you want to study in Lisbon? Find out here How to move to Portugal.