pixel Pre-University Semester | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Pre-University Semester

About Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA)

About the programme

The Pre-University Semester was designed for students from outside the European Union who have finished high school and plan to apply to Higher Education in Portugal.

The Pre-University Semester will help students in the process of adapting to the European teaching system. It aims to level the technical knowledge of candidates from different countries and provide the required language competencies (when needed) for students who wish to apply, in the future, for a bachelor or integrated masters in one of the Schools of NOVA.

This multidisciplinary programme offers students the opportunity to choose three courses offered by NOVA´s Schools, attend the Reading Club and Portuguese and English classes thus developing language competences in order to pursuit the studies for a University degree at NOVA.

Key benefits of attending the Pre-University Semester at NOVA

  • Prepare the pathway for an international University degree;
  • Prepare the transition to the European university system by gaining increased autonomy and adjusting working methods;
  • Improve or acquire Portuguese and English language competencies;
  • Assure the subsequent entrance in one university programme degree at NOVA;
  • Access optional courses of different academic areas;
  • Participate in the Reading Club and have the opportunity to study the classics of western literature and understand each book within its historical, political and cultural contexts.
  • Live in the city of Lisbon, Portugal, one of the cities with the highest quality of life in Europe and in one of the safest countries in the world.
Applications are open until 30 June *

* We recommended that you submit your application until the end of May in order to have enough time to make the necessary visa arrangements. 



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

  • From February to June (applications from September to November);
  • From September to January (applications from March to June).

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

  • Reading Clubs, available in Portuguese and English, candidates can choose according to their fluency of the language
  • 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).


Structure - Pre-University Semester

Students must choose 3 Electives




Reading Club (EN) / 

Clube de Leitura (PT)




Compulsory for those who cannot certify fluency



Compulsory for those who cannot certify fluency

Mathematics (EN) *

Princípios de Física e Química (PT)

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia / Faculty of Sciences and Technology


Introdução à Empresa (PT)

Principles of Microeconomics (EN)

Nova School of Business and Economics


História e Teoria do Estado (PT)

Theory of International Relations (EN)

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


O Direito e o Pensamento Jurídico (PT)

Political Science (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

The courses vary each semester.

* This course should be sufficient to prepare candidates to follow a traditional Calculus course in the sequence. This course is taught in English and is compulsory for students that wish to study at FCT NOVA, Nova SBE or NOVA IMS after the semester.

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.



Application Period     

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

  • From September to November, for candidates willing to attend the semester from February to June;
  • From March to June, for candidates willing to attend the semester from September to January.

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.



Célia Janota
Academic Services
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Rectorate

Phone: +351 210 496 451

E-mail: cjanota@unl.pt

In case you have questions about the Pre-University Semester:

Please check the Frequently Asked Questions


Contact us by email cjanota@unl.pt