Faculty of Medicine in Portugal: enrollment, cost and best universities


Entering a medical course is a challenge because the application is usually very competitive regardless of the place. Therefore, the importance of dedicating yourself intensely, since high school, to achieve high grades in the final exam. Do you want to know how to enter a medical school in Portugal? Find out how the courses work, which are the best universities in the country, participate in the selection process, and much more.

Among the advantages of studying Medicine in Portugal are low tuition costs, access to centuries-old and world-recognized universities, the opportunity to have a curriculum with international experience, contact with students from all over the world, classes taught in other languages, exchange opportunity to degree or master’s degree in other European countries through the Erasmus Program.

Also read: Universities in Portugal: the seven best institutions to study

How does the Faculty of Medicine in Portugal work?

Studying medical school in Portugal can be a great opportunity. Photo: Online Marketing / Unsplash

The Faculty of Medicine in Portugal is regulated by the Directorate-General for Higher Education and is offered as an Integrated Masters (MI). This model was established with the signature of the Declaration of Bologna in 1999 and allowed the student to take a bachelor’s and master’s degree within a period of 6 years.

In addition, European countries meet the requirement that Medicine courses have a workload of 5,500 hours of theoretical and practical teaching, distributed in 360 ECTS credits, and guided by 4 basic skills and knowledge:

  • knowledge of medical sciences and understanding of scientific methods;
  • adequate knowledge of the structure, functions, and behavior of healthy and sick human beings;
  • mastery of matters and clinical practices on mental and physical illnesses, which include: prevention, diagnosis, and treatment;
  • clinical experience under appropriate guidance in hospitals.

Although the duration of courses is the same in Portugal and Brazil, the foreign country has different cycles. There are 3 years of basic cycle and 3 years of the clinical cycle, the last year being for supervised internship.

After this period, the student can complete the seventh year (paid), called General Training Internship, equivalent to Medical Residency, in Brazil). In this way, it gains greater autonomy to exercise the profession. The conclusion of the master’s degree will take place after these 7 years and with the presentation of an essay and the defense of a thesis or project, or internship report.

As medical training is regulated at the European level and recognized among EU member states, professionals can work throughout the European Union.

Which Portuguese universities have a faculty of medicine?

The University of Lisbon, in the Portuguese capital, is one of the institutions that have the Faculty of Medicine in Portugal. Arseniy Rogov | Dreamstime.com

The Faculties of Medicine in Portugal are offered by 10 public universities:

  • University of Algarve (DCBM-UAlg) — available for those who have a degree and want to do additional education to become a doctor
  • University of Beira Interior (FCS-UBI)
  • University of Coimbra (FMUC)
  • University of Lisbon (FMUL)
  • New University of Lisbon (FCM|NMS)
  • University of Minho (EMUM)
  • University of Porto (FMUP — Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto)
  • University of Porto (ICBAS — Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar)
  • University of Azores (UA)
  • University of Madeira (UM)

On the islands of Madeira and the Azores, you can only complete the basic cycle (3 first years) of the course, and you can complete your graduation at the schools in Lisbon and Coimbra.

Also read: Universities in Portugal: the seven best institutions to study

What are the best medical schools in Portugal?

We selected the five best-qualified institutions based on the World University Rankings 2020 and their ranking of the best universities in Portugal in clinical, pre-clinical, and health areas. Check out.

University of Porto

The Faculty of Medicine offers the course, which has an average of 245 places per year, and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (155 places per year). Compared to Brazil, the number of candidates per vacancy is smaller, with 5 in FMUP and 6.37 in ICBAS.

The University of Porto is one of the most prestigious Higher Education Institutions in Europe. More than 32,000 students, 2,436 professors and researchers, and 1,587 administrative staff attend its 15 schools and more than 50 scientific research units, spread over 3 university campuses located in Porto.

University of Lisbon

Administered by the Faculty of Medicine of ULisboa, the course has 295 places per year, with an average of 5.41 candidates per place.

The University of Lisbon (ULisboa), one of the most prestigious Portuguese universities, has 18 schools and more than 100 research units, around 50,000 students, 4,000 teachers, 2,500 non-teaching staff, and 400 undergraduate courses. It is an important center for teaching, research, innovation, sport, culture, and art.

This is a university that welcomes more than 1,000 international students every year who go there in search of the quality education, culture, climate, and hospitality that Lisbon and other cities in Portugal have to offer.

Coimbra University

There are 255 places offered annually for admission, and an average of 5.8 candidates per place, at the University of Coimbra (UC). With a history of more than seven centuries, the UC has eight faculties, more than 40 research units, and several other services that support the institution’s activities — creation, critical analysis, transmission, and dissemination of culture, science, and technology.

The university has a great tradition in the courses of Medicine, Law, and Engineering. It comprises three campuses, which accommodate more than 21,000 students and 1,500 professors/researchers.

Minho’s university

The UMinho, located in Braga, has one of the country’s best medical schools. Administered by the School of Medicine, with approximately 120 places per year for national students. In addition, it is one of the most popular, with an average of 8.2 candidates per vacancy.

UMinho offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses leading to bachelor’s degrees, specialized training courses, and advanced study courses. Internationalization is a strong commitment, and international activities are quite intense.

University of Algarve

Inaugurated in 2008, the course at the University of Algarve (UAlg) is offered by the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (FMCB) and has a proposal for innovation and seeks to promote greater proximity between students and the community. There are about 48 places offered.

Also read: Jobs in Portugal for Brazilians: visas and common areas

How to enter a medical school in Portugal?

National competition for access to Higher Education is a way to enter a medical school in Portugal. Photo: Piron Guillaume / Unsplash

Except for the course at the University of Algarve, access to all faculties is through the national competition for access to Higher Education, organized by the General Directorate of Higher Education (DGES). The institution assesses the national exam grade, the final average in secondary education (equivalent to high school in Brazil), and the classifications obtained in the entrance exams specific to each college.

For the Medicine course, the calculation of the college entrance grade will be done as follows: 50% of the average of your secondary education and 50% of the institution’s entrance exams, which involve the following areas:

  • Biology and Geology
  • Physics and Chemistry A
  • Mathematics A (EMUM, FMUP, and ICBAS can also accept Mathematics B)

The required average varies according to the chosen institution. In general, colleges usually require a minimum grade of 140 (on a scale from 0 to 200), but some ask for a higher grade, such as FCM|NMS (150), FMUL, and UM (160).

Therefore, when calculating your grade, make the average of your classification in the 3 exams and multiply the value by 0.5 (corresponding to the 50% weight given to the entrance exams). Do this also with the final average of secondary education and multiply by 0.5, adding both values.

Requirements for Brazilians who wish to study at a Portuguese university

If you are Brazilian and wish to study at a Portuguese university, you will need to meet certain country-specific requirements. Are they:

  1. Portuguese nationality

With Portuguese citizenship, Brazilians can take the National Exam, like any other Portuguese citizen. Achieving good grades is enough to apply for the Medicine course.

  1. Dual citizenship of an EU member country

Therefore, the candidate will not be considered an international student and will register in the National Competition for any course.

  1. Legally reside in Portugal for more than 2 years (without interruption)

In this case, Brazilians must reside in Portugal for more than 2 uninterrupted and complete years until August 31 of the school year they want to start since classes start in September. The candidate must have a valid residence permit, among other documents that prove their residence.

  1. Request the Statute of Equal Rights and Duties

The document can be requested from 6 months in the country and takes about 8 months to be granted. In addition, Brazilians must be over 18 years old and have a residence permit in hand.

This agreement was made with Brazil, on April 22, 2000, through a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Consultation between the Portuguese Republic and the Federative Republic of Brazil. And it benefits both Brazilians living in Portugal and Portuguese living in Brazil. With the statute, the candidate can register in the National Competition to take the exam and then apply for a vacancy in Medicine.

Candidates who completed high school outside Portugal must also present the Diploma/Certificate of Completion and High School Transcript equivalence at a secondary school in Portugal.

Other common questions of Brazilians about studying in Portugal:

  • In using the ENEM grade as an entry point, it is worth remembering that many universities in Portugal accept this method, but this is not the case for the Medicine course. The candidate must fulfill the requirements listed above and take the Portuguese National Exam.
  • Can I transfer the course from Brazil to Portugal? Not without European citizenship, but you can take academic mobility periods to carry out part of your studies in the country.
  • Scholarships: These are usually offered based on merit, necessity, or profile. Therefore, the student needs to have excellent grades in high school. Many universities offer scholarships, but the notices change every year, as does the number of places offered. Search each university’s website before applying to find out more about this possibility.
  • Is a Portuguese diploma accepted in Brazil? Not automatically. It would be best if you took the Revalida, a standard process applied by the Brazilian government that validates the diploma and enables the performance of a doctor with training abroad. For this, a theoretical and clinical skills test is done. After passing both tests, the participant can revalidate their degree at a public university. The process is long, taking around 180 days to review the documentation.

Read also: How to go to Portugal to work?

How much does it cost to study at a medical school in Portugal?

Public education in Portugal is not free. Annual fees, called tuition fees, are paid to study at these institutions, and the fees for the Medicine course vary between 1,500 and 7,000 euros.

It is important to remember that prices also differ between European and non-European citizens. So check the website of the institution you want to apply to find out more about the fees.

What is it like to be a doctor in Portugal?

A doctor’s salary in Portugal can reach 50 thousand euros per year. Photo: Habib Dadkhah / Unsplash

As in Brazil, a doctor can work both in the private network and in the national health system in Portugal. The average salary in the first years of the career is €1,600, and with time and specializations, it varies from €40 to €50,000/year.

It is noteworthy that the Portuguese health system is highly praised, and its quality is recognized internationally. Therefore, working as a doctor in Portugal can be a good opportunity to combine career and quality of life.

If you are a Brazilian physician and wish to work in Portugal, you must complete the medical degree equivalence directly at the chosen higher education institution.

  • The first step is to make the Hague Apostille still in Brazil. This is a certificate issued by an authority in the country of origin of the document, whether public or private, which proves the signature and the existing seal or stamp of the document, which must be notarized in the country of origin.
  • Then go to the DGES website and check which type of recognition your Brazilian diploma must be used for.
  • The next process can be automated, which will lead to starting the process online and choosing a university to submit the documents to.
  • If it is not automatic, you start the process online, choose a university and present the requested documents.

This way, you can apply at any time of the year. The documentation will be analyzed by the university’s rectory after payment of a fee and confirmation of submission.


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