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 four courses offered by NOVA´s Schools and attend 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 at an affordable price;
  • 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;

In Portugal, students from outside the European Union can apply for a university degree benefiting from special conditions ruled by the International Student Status.

Some of the Schools of NOVA will guarantee the acceptance of Pre-University Semester students in their degree programmes provided they are successful in the semester. Access conditions vary for each school (see below Bachelor/Integrated Masters at NOVA after the Pre-University Semester)

  • Access optional courses of different academic areas;

Some Pre-University Semester courses can be credited in a subsequent bachelor or integrated masters. The credits vary for each School of NOVA (see below Bachelor/Integrated Masters at NOVA after the Pre-University Semester).

  • Start in February 2018 – applications open until 20 January 2018;

This calendar allows the student to apply to higher education programmes which start in the next school year (in Europe the school year begins in September).

  • 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 for the next semester open until 20 January.



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).


Structure - Pre-University Semester

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 will 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.

Know more about how to apply to a bachelor or integrated masters at NOVA as an international student.

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.


Access conditions after attending the Pre-University Semester

Compulsory Courses to apply to a Bachelor or Integrated Masters

Course creditation rules

Faculty of Sciences and Technology - FCT NOVA

Admission is guaranteed for students approved in the Pre-University Semester, including Mathematics


Maximum 12 ECTS for Integrated Masters;
Maximum 6 ECTS for bachelors.
Mathematics, English and Portuguese will not be credited.

School of Social Sciences and Humanities - NOVA FCSH

Admission is guaranteed for students approved in the Pre-University Semester, and in one of the courses lectured by NOVA FCSH


Maximum 30 ECTS
Portuguese will not be credited.

Nova School of Business Economics - Nova SBE

Admission is guaranteed for students approved in Mathematics and in one of the courses lectured by Nova SBE


Courses lectured by Nova SBE and another course from one of the other Schools.
Mathematics, English and Portuguese will not be credited.

Law School - FD

Regular access conditions of the International Student Status


Rules available here

NOVA Information Management School - NOVA IMS

Admission in NOVA IMS bachelor programmes is guaranteed for students who successfully complete the Pre-University Semester


Maximum 30 ECTS.
Mathematics, English and Portuguese will not be credited.


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.



Vanessa Ferreira
Academic Services
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Rectorate

Phone: +351 213 715 616