Portuguese Educational System

The portuguese educational system comprises three levels: basic, secondary and higher education.

Pre-school education is optional and is for children between the ages of three and the age of entering basic education.

Basic Education is universal, compulsory and free and comprises three cycles, the first cycle lasts for four years, the second lasts for two years and the third lasts for three years.

Secondary education is compulsory and it comprises a three year cycle (corresponding to 10th, 11th and 12th year of schooling). 


The Higher Education System

The Portuguese Higher Education system has been undergoing a profound reform, in accordance with the European-wide strategy for the modernisation of Higher Education promoting the knowledge-based economy and society. A series of measures have been introduced in the last years for the accomplishment of what is known as the Bologna Process, namely with the aim to widen access to Higher Education, particularly for new publics, guaranteeing quality evaluation, modernising and internationalising Higher Education.


Higher Education is divided into three cycles of studies. Generic qualification descriptors were also defined for each of the cycles of studies, based on acquired competences, as well as the structure for the first and second cycles of study in terms of typical ECTS intervals.


Higher Education Institutions

Higher Education in Portugal is divided into two sub-systems, university education and polytechnic education.

The network of public Higher Education Institutions comprises 14 Universities, 20 Polytechnic Institutes and 6 institutions of military and police Higher Education.

The network of private Higher Education Institutions comprises 36 Universities and 64 Polytechnic Institutes.

Higher Education Institutions