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Universities in Lisbon, Portugal

Landscape picture of tall colourful buildings with trees in front of them
Lisbon is a wonderfully colourful city.

Lisbon is the capital and largest city in Portugal with a metropolitan population of over 2.7 million residents. Lisbon has been home to many large-scale businesses for centuries, and is currently a major European hub for several industries including commerce, fashion, media, entertainment and international trade.

Lisbon offers world-class public infrastructure, transport and public safety for its residents. The city is also increasingly becoming a tourist-favourite destination, with its mild winters and spectacular beaches which are accessible all year round. In fact, Lisbon receives nearly 5 million visitors from overseas every year.

Top Universities in Lisbon

University of Lisbon

Founded in 1911, the University of Lisbon merged with the Technical University of Lisbon in 2013 to become Portugal’s largest university. ULisboa, as the university is referred to, offers over 400 degree programmes across 18 faculties and is increasingly offering courses taught in English.

ULisboa is home to nearly 50,000 enrolled students, including more than 5,000 international students. ULisboa is situated on multiple urban campuses across the Lisbon metropolitan area and houses more than 100 advanced research centres on its campuses.

The university offers plenty of international exchange programmes for its students through partnerships with organisations such as Erasmus and Tempus. ULisboa is deeply involved with many industries and large-scale employers in and around Lisbon, and this offers international students excellent chances to secure post-graduation employment in the area.

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Founded in 1973, Universidade Nova de Lisboa is Lisbon’s youngest public university with strengths in research and innovation across a variety of scientific fields. Alongside its primary Lisbon campus, NOVA also operates satellite campuses in the nearby towns of Almada, Oeiras, and in Cascais.

NOVA operates technical research partnerships with world-leading universities including the University of Texas at Austin (UTA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the United States.

NOVA is home to over 20,000 enrolled students, including nearly 4,000 international admits. The university places special focus on ensuring that international students are well-prepared for a professional career in their chosen fields after graduation, and provides excellent resources to prepare you for your post-academic journey.

Portuguese Catholic University 

Originally founded in the city of Braga in 1967, the Portuguese Catholic University is operated jointly by the Catholic Church and the Portuguese government. Today, the university is located mainly in Lisbon where it shifted in 1970, and it also operates two satellite campuses in Porto and Viseu.

Over 11,000 enrolled students at the university pursue one of thirty-five degree programmes offered across undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Portuguese Catholic University is home to over 5,000 international students and more than 400 international teaching staff, and operates nearly 1,000 exchange programmes as part of the Erasmus organisation.

The Portuguese Catholic University also maintains partnerships with world-class institutes such as MIT’s Sloan School of Management in Boston, USA. The university is considered as Portugal’s best institute when it comes to several degree programmes including business administration and management as well as food engineering.

ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon

ISCTE is a public university founded in 1972 with specialisations in technology, public policy, architecture and business. ISCTE is well-known for its research excellence, and the university operates nine advanced research centres such as the AUDAX centre in partnership with world-leading institutes such as the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US and Southern Medical University in China.

ISCTE is located on an urban campus in Lisbon and is home to over 9,000 students including nearly 1,500 international admits. ISCTE is primarily located in central Lisbon’s Cidade Universitária district, next to the University of Lisbon. 

Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies

Established in 1987 by a Portuguese investment company, the Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies is Portugal’s largest and highest ranked private university.

Alongside its primary Lisbon campus, Lusophone University operates satellite campuses in Torres Vedras, Marinha Grande and Portimão. Additionally, the university operates mini-campuses in Porto, Luanda and Mindelo.

The Lusophone university is home to just under 6,000 enrolled students including a sizable community of nearly 1,500 international admits.

Lisbon Universities World Ranking 2025

Below are the top-ranked Lisbon universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2025 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2024 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2025Times Higher Education Ranking 2024
University of Lisbon260401-500
Universidade Nova de Lisboa388501-600
Portuguese Catholic University901-950801-1,000
University Institute of Lisbon601-800

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Lisbon

In addition to the five best Lisbon universities for international students, the city also offers plenty of top-ranked institutes providing degrees and vocational training in a variety of fields such as business and engineering. Here are a few of the top-ranked institutes in and around Lisbon for international students:

Tuition and Living Costs in Lisbon

Portugal is well-known for its affordable tuition costs, even for international students. EU and EEA resident students can expect to pay between 500-1,100 US Dollars yearly as tuition fees for undergraduate degree programs and up to 2,500 US Dollars for postgraduate programs. For non-EU/EEA international students, tuition fees usually range between 3,500-7,000 US Dollars per year. Certain private universities may charge higher fees, especially for specialised programmes such as medicine and business.

On the matter of living expenses, the Instituto Universitario estimates that international students should budget between 600-800 US Dollars monthly. This estimated budget includes 350-550 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 180-200 US Dollars for food and grocery expenses, and another 8-100 US Dollars for transport, utilities and miscellaneous expenses.

Current Portuguese Student Visa rules enable EU/EEA students to work in Portugal without any time limit, whereas international students from outside the EU/EEA can take up part-time employment of up to 20 hours a week during the semester, and full-time employment during academic breaks. Many international students secure part-time work in order to offset living and tuition expenses in Lisbon.

Life in Lisbon for International Students

Lisbon offers interesting historical landmarks, world-class restaurants and vibrant entertainment venues in every corner of the city. International students can travel from their home countries to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport via most European hubs, such as Paris and London.

Major western European cities such as Barcelona are only a few hours away by road and would make excellent road trips destinations for you during academic breaks, while cities such as Berlin and Rome are only a short flight away. Lisbon itself is home to countless festivals, concerts and other events which you can enjoy all year-round. On days off from your world-class academics, you can choose to relax in the sun at one of Lisbon’s many beaches or explore some of the city’s famous parks and outdoor spaces.

Each of Lisbon’s 24 neighbourhoods, or ‘parishes’, has something unique to offer in terms of atmosphere, food and entertainment. Sports lovers will surely love to attend the many football and athletic events taking place in the city every weekend, while students interested in architecture will be fascinated by the Romanesque, Gothic, and modern-style buildings dotted all over the Portuguese capital.

Below are a few of Lisbon’s must-visit venues for international students:

  • Belem Tower
  • Jeronimos Monastery
  • Castelo De S. Jorge
  • Santa Justa Lift
  • Oceanario de Lisboa
  • Lisbon Cathedral
  • MAAT Electricity Museum
  • Carmo Convent
  • Museo Nacional de Azulejo
  • Museu Coleção Berardo
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • National Pantheon
  • Lisbon Zoo
  • Parque Eduardo VII
  • Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Praia da Manta Beach
  • Praia da Saude Beach
  • Caxias Beach

Lisbon provides you with the chance to lead a healthy, active lifestyle in a world-class urban environment while pursuing degrees at some of the world’s leading universities. Unlike most other western European nations, living costs in Lisbon are relatively affordable and will allow you to access the best of the city. This combination of affordability with western European living standards means that Lisbon is being increasingly considered by international students worldwide.

See all universities in Portugal.

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