Portugal is a beautiful country with a rich history, culture, and cuisine. It is also a great destination for Nigerian students who want to pursue a master’s degree in a European country.

In this blog post, I will guide you through the steps and requirements for applying to a Portuguese university, getting admitted, and obtaining a student visa. I will also answer some frequently asked questions and share some final thoughts on studying in Portugal.

Why Study in Portugal

There are many reasons why you might want to study in Portugal, such as:

  • Language: Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, and it is also widely spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and other countries. Learning Portuguese can open up many opportunities for you in the global market, as well as enrich your cultural experience. If you already speak English,, you will find it easier to learn Portuguese, as they share many words and grammar rules. Most Portuguese universities also offer courses in English, so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier if you are not fluent in Portuguese.

  • Global outlook: Portugal is a member of the European Union, the Schengen Area, and the Eurozone. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of studying in a stable, democratic, and integrated region, with access to a large and diverse market. You can also travel freely to other European countries with your student visa, and explore the continent’s rich and varied cultures, landscapes, and attractions. Portugal also has strong ties with other regions of the world, especially Africa and Latin America, where it has a historical and cultural influence.

  • Tuition fees: Compared to other European countries, Portugal has relatively low tuition fees for international students. The average tuition fee for a master’s degree in Portugal is around 1,500 euros per year, which is much cheaper than in countries like the UK, France, or Germany. Some universities may charge higher or lower fees depending on the course, the faculty, and the student’s nationality. You can also apply for scholarships, grants, or loans to help you cover the costs of your studies.

  • Lifestyle: Portugal is known for its warm and sunny climate, its friendly and hospitable people, and its delicious and diverse cuisine. You can enjoy the beaches, the mountains, the cities, and the countryside, depending on your preferences and mood. You can also experience the vibrant and colorful festivals, the music and dance, the art and architecture, and the history and heritage of Portugal. You will never run out of things to do and see in this amazing country.

How to Conduct Research About Your Preferred Institution

Before you apply to a Portuguese university, you need to do some research about the institution, the course, and the admission requirements. Here are some tips on how to conduct your research:

  • Visit the official website of the university: This is the best source of information about the university, its faculties, its programs, its facilities, and its services. You can find out about the academic calendar, the tuition fees, the scholarships, the application process, the contact details, and more. You can also download the brochures, the catalogs, the guides, and the forms that you will need for your application.

  • Use Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that contains information about almost anything, including universities. You can use Wikipedia to get an overview of the university, its history, its reputation, its rankings, its notable alumni, and its achievements. You can also find links to other sources of information, such as the university’s website, its social media accounts, its publications, and its news articles. However, you should be careful when using Wikipedia, as it is not always reliable, accurate, or up-to-date. You should always verify the information with the official sources, and cite them in your application documents.

  • Talk to the university representatives: If you have any questions or doubts about the university or the course, you can contact the university representatives by email, phone, or chat. They can provide you with more details, clarifications, and guidance on your application.

  • Talk to the alumni or the current students: Another way to get more insights about the university and the course is to talk to the alumni or the current students who have studied or are studying there. They can share their personal experiences, opinions, and advice on studying in Portugal, and answer your questions from their perspective. You can find them on social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, or on online forums, such as Quora, Reddit, or Nairaland.

How to Apply

Once you have decided on the university and the course that you want to apply to, you need to follow the application process and submit the required documents. The application process may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, it consists of these steps:

  • Create an online account: You need to create an online account on the university’s website, where you can fill out the application form, upload the documents, pay the fees, and track the status of your application.

  • Fill out the application form: You need to fill out the application form with your personal information, your academic background, your language proficiency, your motivation, and your preferences. You need to be honest, accurate, and complete in your answers, and avoid any errors or inconsistencies.

  • Upload the documents: You need to upload the documents that support your application, such as your international passport, your first degree certificate, your academic transcript, your CV, your statement of purpose (optional), your academic or work reference letter (optional), and your WAEC certificate (optional). You need to make sure that the documents are clear, legible, and in the required format and size. You may also need to translate the documents into English or Portuguese, and get them certified or notarized, depending on the university’s requirements.

  • Pay the fees: You need to pay the fees that are associated with your application, such as the application fee, the enrollment fee, the tuition fee, or the tax. You need to pay the fees by the deadline, and keep the receipt or the proof of payment. The fees may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, the application fee is around 50 to 100 euros.

  • Submit the application: You need to submit the application by the deadline, and wait for the university’s response. The deadline may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, it is between January and May for the September intake, and between September and November for the February intake. The university may take a few weeks or months to review your application, and notify you of the outcome by email or phone. You may also need to attend an interview or a test, depending on the university and the course.

Required University Application Documents

As mentioned above, you need to upload the documents that support your application, such as your international passport, your first degree certificate, your academic transcript, your CV, your statement of purpose (optional), your academic or work reference letter (optional), and your WAEC certificate (optional). Here is a brief explanation of each document:

  • International passport: This is your official identification document that shows your name, your date of birth, your nationality, and your photo. You need to have a valid international passport that does not expire within six months of your intended date of arrival in Portugal. You need to upload a scanned copy of the biographical page of your passport, and make sure that it is clear and legible.

  • First degree certificate: This is your academic qualification that shows that you have completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field of study. You need to have a recognized first degree certificate that meets the minimum requirements of the university and the course that you are applying to. You need to upload a scanned copy of your original first degree certificate, and make sure that it is clear and legible. You may also need to translate it into English or Portuguese, and get it certified or notarized, depending on the university’s requirements.

  • Academic transcript: This is your academic record that shows the courses that you have taken, the grades that you have obtained, and the credits that you have earned during your bachelor’s degree or equivalent. You need to have a complete and official academic transcript that reflects your academic performance and potential. You need to upload a scanned copy of your original academic transcript, and make sure that it is clear and legible. You may also need to translate it into English or Portuguese, and get it certified or notarized, depending on the university’s requirements.

  • CV: This is your professional resume that shows your personal details, your education, your work experience, your skills, your achievements, and your interests. You need to have a concise and relevant CV that highlights your qualifications and suitability for the master’s degree that you are applying to. You need to upload a PDF or Word file of your CV, and make sure that it is well-structured, well-formatted, and well-written. You may also need to follow the Europass CV template, depending on the university’s requirements.

  • Statement of purpose (optional): This is your personal essay that shows your motivation, your goals, your expectations, and your reasons for choosing the university and the course that you are applying to. You need to have a compelling and original statement of purpose that demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the master’s degree that you are applying to. You need to upload a PDF or Word file of your statement of purpose, and make sure that it is clear, coherent, and convincing. You may also need to follow the specific guidelines or prompts of the university and the course, depending on their requirements.

  • Academic or work reference letter (optional): This is a letter of recommendation that shows your academic or professional abilities, your personality, your achievements, and your potential for the master’s degree that you are applying to. You need to have one or two reference letters from your previous or current professors or employers, who know you well and can vouch for you. You need to upload a PDF or Word file of your reference letter, and make sure that it is signed, dated, and stamped. You may also need to follow the specific format or template of the university and the course, depending on their requirements.

  • WAEC certificate (optional): This is your secondary school leaving certificate that shows that you have completed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) or equivalent. You need to have a valid WAEC certificate that meets the minimum requirements of the university and the course that you are applying to. You need to upload a scanned copy of your original WAEC certificate, and make sure that it is clear and legible. You may also need to translate it into English or Portuguese, and get it certified or notarized, depending on the university’s requirements.
Image Source – Freepik

Language Requirements for Portuguese University Application

Besides the academic and professional requirements, you also need to meet the language requirements for applying to a Portuguese university. You need to prove your proficiency in either English or Portuguese, depending on the language of instruction of the course that you are applying to. Here are some ways to prove your language proficiency:

  • English: If you are applying to a course that is taught in English, you need to have a recognized English language certificate, such as the IELTS, the TOEFL, the Cambridge, or the PTE. You need to have a minimum score that meets the requirements of the university and the course that you are applying to. The minimum score may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, it is around 6.0 for IELTS, 80 for TOEFL, C1 for Cambridge, or 58 for PTE. You need to upload a scanned copy of your original English language certificate, and make sure that it is valid and not expired. You may also need to send your score report directly to the university, depending on their requirements.

  • Portuguese: If you are applying to a course that is taught in Portuguese, you need to have a recognized Portuguese language certificate, such as the CAPLE, the CELPE-Bras, or the PLE. You need to have a minimum level that meets the requirements of the university and the course that you are applying to. The minimum level may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, it is around B1 for CAPLE, Intermediário for CELPE-Bras, or B2 for PLE. You need to upload a scanned copy of your original Portuguese language certificate, and make sure that it is valid and not expired. You may also need to send your score report directly to the university, depending on their requirements.

After Admission, What Next?

If you are accepted by the university, congratulations! You have completed the first step of your journey to study in Portugal. However, you still have some things to do before you can start your master’s degree. Here are some steps that you need to follow after getting admitted:

  • Confirm your enrollment: You need to confirm your enrollment to secure your spot in the course that you have been admitted to. This may include paying a tax and a first installment fee, or following the instructions of the university. You need to confirm your enrollment by the deadline, and keep the confirmation letter or the proof of payment. The deadline may vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, it is within a few weeks or months after receiving the admission letter.

  • Apply for a student visa: You need to apply for a student visa to enter and stay in Portugal for the duration of your master’s degree. You need to apply for a student visa at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country of residence, and submit the required documents, such as your passport, your admission letter, your financial proof, your health insurance, your criminal record, and your visa fee. You need to apply for a student visa as soon as possible, and wait for the approval. The approval may take a few weeks or months, depending on the embassy or consulate and the season. You can check the status of your visa application online, or contact the embassy or consulate for more information.

  • Book your flight and accommodation: You need to book your flight and accommodation for your trip to Portugal. You need to book your flight according to your visa validity and your course start date, and make sure that you have enough time to settle in and adjust to the new environment. You need to book your accommodation according to your budget, your preferences, and your location, and make sure that you have a comfortable and safe place to stay. You can book your flight and accommodation online, or use the services of a travel agency or a student organization. You can also look for accommodation options on the university’s website, or on online platforms, such as Uniplaces, Erasmusu, or Airbnb.

  • Prepare your documents and belongings: You need to prepare your documents and belongings for your departure and arrival in Portugal. You need to pack your passport, your visa, your admission letter, your confirmation letter, your financial proof, your health insurance, your academic certificates, your language certificates, and your reference letters. You also need to pack your clothes, your toiletries, your electronics, your medicines, and your personal items. You need to check the baggage allowance and the customs regulations of your airline and your destination, and make sure that you do not exceed the limit or carry any prohibited items. You also need to label your luggage and keep your valuables with you.

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FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about studying in Portugal as a Nigerian:

Q: How long is a master’s degree in Portugal?

A master’s degree in Portugal usually lasts for two years, or four semesters. However, some courses may be shorter or longer, depending on the university and the field of study. You can check the duration of the course on the university’s website, or on the admission letter.

Q: How much does it cost to study in Portugal?

The cost of studying in Portugal depends on several factors, such as the tuition fees, the living expenses, the travel expenses, and the exchange rate. The tuition fees vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, they are around 1,500 euros per year for international students.

The living expenses vary depending on the city and the lifestyle, but generally, they are around 600 to 900 euros per month for a single student. The travel expenses vary depending on the airline, exchange rate, and the season.

Q: Can I work while studying in Portugal?

Yes, you can work while studying in Portugal, as long as you have a valid student visa and a residence permit. You can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and up to 40 hours per week during the holidays.

You can also work as a teaching or research assistant at the university, or as an intern at a company, depending on your qualifications and availability. However, you should not rely on your income from work to cover your expenses, as the minimum wage in Portugal is around 665 euros per month, and the job market is competitive and limited.

Q: How can I get a scholarship to study in Portugal?

You can search for other scholarships and grants on online platforms, such as Scholarship Portal, Study in Portugal, or Study in Europe. However, you should be aware that the scholarships and grants are highly competitive and selective, and you should apply as early as possible, and prepare a strong and convincing application.



Final Thoughts

Studying in Portugal can be a rewarding and enriching experience for Nigerian students who want to pursue a master’s degree in a European country. Portugal offers a high-quality education, a low-cost living, a friendly culture, and a global perspective.

I hope this blog post has given you a comprehensive guide to pursuing an MSc in Portugal as a Nigerian. I wish you all the best in your academic and personal journey. Thank you for reading!

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