Pre-University Semester | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Pre-University Semester

The Pre-University Semester is the ideal opportunity to prepare a successful path in the European Higher Education System, designed for motivated international students with a suitable academic performance who wish to assess an initial University training at NOVA.

The Pre-University Semester is a multidisciplinary programme, designed for students from outside the European Union who have finished high school. This semester has as an objective to level the technical knowledge of candidates from different countries and provide the required language competences in order to pursuit the studies for a University degree at NOVA.

This programme does not affect the autonomy of the different Schools at NOVA while recruiting their foreign students. Completion of the Pre-University Semester is not necessary for a student to be accepted by any School at NOVA, and the admission of a well succeeded student during that semester only depends on the criteria to be independently established by each of these teaching units.



The Pre-University Semester lasts one semester and may be followed in two different periods of the year:

  • From February to June (applications until 20 January 2018);
  • From September to January (applications from March to June 2018).

The programme is constituted by a set of courses from five different Schools at NOVA. Each student must select courses from at least three different Schools. Beyond these courses it is compulsory the attendance of the language component:

  • Compulsory English language course, except for candidates who can certify sufficient fluency (1 hour per day);
  • Compulsory Portuguese language course, except for candidates who can certify sufficient fluency (1 hour per day).


Pre-University Semester

Structure – students must choose 4 Electives






Compulsory for those who cannot certify fluency



Compulsory for those who cannot certify fluency


Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia / Faculty of Sciences and Technology

Elective *

Introdução à Empresa (PT)

Principles of Microeconomics (EN)

Nova School of Business and Economics


Teorias da Democracia (PT)

European Studies (EN)

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/ NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities


Sistemas Jurídicos Comparados  (PT)

Fundamental Rights (EN)

Faculdade de Direito/ NOVA Law School


Informação na Sociedade Contemporânea (PT)

Theory and Practice of Information Systems (EN)

NOVA Information Management School


PT = offered in Portuguese; EN = offered in English

* This course should be sufficient to prepare candidates to follow a traditional Calculus course in the sequence. This course is taught in English.

Whenever possible these courses should be integrated in regular first-year classes.

At the end of the semester, well-succeeded candidates may apply to a regular Bachelor programme in one of NOVA Schools under the International Student Special Status.

Under exceptional circumstances international students outside this Special Status may be accepted.



Candidates to the Pre-University Semester must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Fulfil the International Student Special Status, namely not being nationals from any EU state and not living in Portugal for more than two years;
  • Holding a degree or a certificate that entitles to assess Higher education institutions in his/her country of origin; or a degree from the Portuguese secondary School or a legally equivalent document;
  • A minimum level of B1 in at least one of these languages – Portuguese or English
    Complying with the level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages means that the student must be fluent in the language at oral, written and reading levels in order to attend a program and produce course related materials.

Exceptionally, applications from other foreign students not fulfilling the International Student Special Status can be considered.



Application fee: €70

Enrollment fee: €300 (one month before classes start)

The total cost of the Pre-University Semester is €3000, a non-reimbursable value paid just before classes start, from which the enrollment fee of €300 is deducted. Exceptional scholarships (never for the total amount) may be attributed for this semester if a sufficiently convincing justification of financial help is provided.



Application Period     

The applications to the Pre-University Semester are open in the following periods:

  • From October 2017 to 20 January 2018, for candidates willing to attend the semester from February to June;
  • From March 2018 to June 2018, for candidates willing to attend the semester from September to December.

Application Process 

Step 1: Online Application

The application is done through an online form and requires the upload of the following documents:

  • Motivation letter indicating the NOVA Schools where the candidate intends to apply at the end of the programme;
  • Recomendation letter (optional);
  • Document attesting the completion of High School including transcript of records with a full list of courses and corresponding grades. In case of not having finished High School at the time of application, the candidate must submit the transcript of records of all the courses completed by that time including the respective grades *;
  • Passport copy;
  • Document certifying a minimum English language level (B1) whenever applicable;
  • Document proving the payment of the application fee.

* Students who are still finishing High School by the time of application must submit the Diploma that proves they finished High School (or legally equivalent document) until the end of the first month of classes of the Pre-University Semester. 

Step 2: Interview

Applicants may be invited for an interview by the Admissions Committee to examine the information provided in the application and evaluate if the applicant is suitable for the program. The Admissions Committee is constituted by one faculty member from each of the NOVA schools and is coordinated by the Vice-Rector for International Development. Interviews will be done by Skype.

Step 3: Admission

After reviewing all the elements in the application, the Admissions Committee will make its final decision and inform applicants by e-mail. All applicants are responsible to check their e-mail accounts regularly (including spam and junk folders). If accepted, applicants must confirm their participation in the programme by paying the programme fee. In case they do not confirm, the slot may be given to another candidate in waiting list.

Step 4: Enrolment 

Once the participation in the programme is confirmed, students will be contacted by NOVA with instructions for the next steps, including information on course enrollment.



The Pre-University Semester does not grant direct access to one of the bachelors or integrated masters at NOVA. Those who are interested in pursuing a degree at NOVA must apply directly to the school they wish to attend.

Some credits of the courses done within the Pre-University Semester may be accounted in the bachelor or integrated masters according to the rules defined by each school of NOVA.



Vanessa Ferreira
Academic Services
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Rectorate

Phone: +351 213 715 616