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Studying an LLM (Master of Laws) in Portugal
PLEASE NOTE: As a result of Brexit, from Autumn 2021 postgraduate students from the European Union studying at a UK university will be charged the same tuition fees as international students. UK students studying their postgraduate course at a European university are also likely to incur higher tuition fees than their EU counterparts. It is advisable to check with the individual universities in the UK and Europe for up-to-date information on tuition fees for all postgraduate programs.Find LLM programs in Portugal
A lovely European country that neighbours Spain and boasts a select choice of universities to choose from, cheaper living costs and its beautiful Mediterranean climate, Portugal seems to be a top choice for students considering an LLM degree.
Reasons to study an LLM in Portugal:
1. Scenic & beautiful: With its scenic beaches, beautiful weather and cultural heritage places, it is an ideal country to live and study in.
2. Cheaper living: Considering that you can find cheaper living cost and bear reasonably lesser expenses in comparison to living in many other European countries, this would certainly make a student’s life easier and less stressful!
3. Old educational hub: For many who don’t know, Portugal is one of the oldest educational hubs in the world and hosts leading educational institutions within Europe.
4. Culture & language: With its vibrant cultural lifestyle, traditional musical influences – including the famous fado – and the opportunity of learning a new language of Portuguese whilst studying your LLM program in English add up to make studying in Portugal a pleasurable student experience!
Portugal: an overview
Portugal is a very popular tourist destination in Europe attracting high number of visitors and students every year to enjoy its fabulous beaches and vibrant cultural heritage. Among its various attractions are the Greater Lisbon, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal (Porto e Norte), the Algarve, city of Coimbra, Portuguese islands of Madeira and Azores and the scenic shores of Alentejo. From fascinating beaches to the oldest universities and world heritage sites, Portugal’s tourism industry keeps growing every year and international students are constantly attracted by its unique features. In fact Lisbon – the capital city of Portugal – is one of the oldest cities in the world.
Studying in Portugal
Portugal has a well-known higher education system which it makes it an ideal choice for international students to live in, study and sightsee at the same time. Portuguese is the third most widely spoken European language in the world and the majority of courses are taught in the language. However law schools such as the Católica Global School of Law Lisbon offers three LLM degrees (taught in the English language) making it a popular course of study. Learning a new language can always be of advantage especially if students wish to obtain an international degree to gain exposure to jobs at the international level, therefore candidates can take the initiative to learn the local language while studying to help settle into new surroundings and also as an added feature to their CVs. Moreover, given the reasonable course fees and relatively lower cost of living within Portugal (in comparison to other major cities in Europe) makes it an attractive study destination.
Universities in Portugal
Católica Global School of Law and the University of Minho’s School of Law are the two leading universities in Portugal offering LLM degrees.
Católica Global School of Law offers four different programs. The quality of the programs was recognised by the Financial Times, which selected Católica Global School of Law as one of the most innovative law schools in the world for seven consecutive years.
Católica Global School of Law was established in 2009 and is known for its focus on promoting international legal education. The law school has been successful in attracting scholars and graduate students from various legal disciplines, having a 60% rate of foreign students. Since its inception, it has launched four programs – an LLM in a European and Global Context, an advanced LLM in International Business Law, an LL.M. in a Digital Economy and a Global PhD in Law. Católica LLM students have the opportunity to extend their studies earning a second LLM degree in one of their prestigious partner Universities.
The LLM specialism in European and Transglobal Business Law offered by University of Minho’s School of Law reflects the modern business context and to give professionals a grasp of the theory and practice of the implications of the global marketplace. This program aims to enable students to better develop and implement legal strategies in major organisations and offers a blend of core legal subjects ranging from European Union business law to the legal aspects of investment in emerging economies with which Portugal has historic and cultural ties, giving the program a transglobal dimension. In addition to the core curriculum, students will have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of specialised seminars, allowing them to tailor their studies to their interests.
Expected tuition fees & living costs in Portugal
While both public and private institutions in Portugal do charge tuition fees, the cost of study is still relatively low in comparison to other European countries. For example, the fees for Católica Global School of Law’s LLM in European and Transglobal Business Law is about €8,500 for its full-time program, however applicants are advised to check the website for updated fee details for each year. The law school also offers a refund of a percentage of the tuition fee to the student scoring the highest GPA upon completion of the Program and has different scholarships available.
Some of the Portuguese universities offer accommodation in student residences that span around the region where the campus is located. Sharing flats with other students is also quite common. Prices obviously depend upon the city/town in Portugal. However, a city like Lisbon is not as expensive as other western capitals, especially with respect to food and rent. Here’s a table indicating a rough idea of the living expenses incurred by a student:
Portuguese living expenses
|Housing (per month)
|Food (per month)
|Meal in student canteen
|Meal in budget restaurant
|Transport (monthly pass)
|Annual health insurance
*SOURCE for the Table: ICSTE Business School.
Entry requirements for an LLM in Portugal
To study an LLM degree in a Portugal law school, applicants must hold a first degree in law. Typically, preference would be given to candidates with strong academic record and showing a sincere interest in the study topic. LLM applications must be completed with all required documentation. Successful applicants will be sent a formal letter of admission.
Among any specified items, applicants must submit the following documents:
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts from schools attended
- Curriculum Vitae (in English) with dates and lengths of employment
- Official letter of dispatch for students sponsored by corporations or other organizations
- Official TOEFL / IELTS score report, or certificate.
- Copy of Passport and relevant ID card
- Required number of photos as specified
Admissions & applications information for international students
Those from countries outside the EU/ EEA who intend to study in Portugal for longer than three months must apply for a residence visa (‘visto para residencia’) before entering the country. This can be applied for through your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate, and would ideally require a completed application form, letter of acceptance from a Portuguese university, copy of passport, relevant number of passport-photographs, police record of good conduct where necessary, copy of health insurance, proof of sufficient funds – either a bank statement or grant/scholarship, etc. Applicants are advised to check with the institution on specific requirements that apply to international students.
Things to do when you aren’t studying
When you aren’t studying, Portugal offers several attractive places to visit and explore. Entry to museums and galleries is relatively cheap particularly when compared to most other European regions. Portugal’s two major cities of Lisbon and Porto both have metro systems that are inexpensive and help students to get around cheaply, while every city has decent public transport systems and taxi services. If you’re a fan of different music genres, in the main cities along the coast you’ll find live gigs and events suiting your tastes including the traditional Portuguese music – fado. The delicious fresh food – especially seafood – is popular among students. And don’t even get us started on the amazing beaches!
Lisbon is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and an ideal base to study your LLM program. Minutes away from the city centre there is an extraordinary coastline with a wide variety of unique beaches ideal for all sorts of water sports. Lisbon is very close to Estoril, Cascais and Sintra, areas with beaches and mountains where you can enjoy the sunshine almost all year long. Whether you prefer a night at the opera, a visit to the fascinating castles, a soothing game of golf, gambling at the biggest casino in Europe or the rush of great surf, all this is available just 30 minutes away. Not only is Lisbon a great place to live, but its location provides easy access to other major western European cities, such as Paris, Rome and London.
Other European LLM study destinations
Are you interested in studying your Master of Laws program in another European destination? If so we have a great selection of LLM destination study guides, including:
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