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 who have recently 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 up the technical knowledge of candidates from different countries and provide the required language competencies (when needed) to students who wish to apply, in the future, to a bachelor degree 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 pursue the studies for a University degree at NOVA.

This program is regulated by University approved rules which are described here.

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 increasing autonomy and adjusting working methods;
  • Improve or acquire Portuguese and English language competencies;
  • Facilitate the subsequent entrance in one of the academic programmes at NOVA;
  • Receive credits for some courses of undergraduate degrees or integrated masters;
  • 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.

Next edition - September 2019 to January 2020

Applications open until March 31st.

* We recommended that you submit your application in advance, in order to have enough time to make the necessary visa arrangements. 



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

  • From February to August (applications from August to October);
  • From September to January (applications from January to March).

The programme is constituted by a set of courses from six different Schools at NOVA. Each student must select three courses from at least two different Schools. Beyond these courses it is compulsory to attend to the following components:

  • Reading Clubs, available in Portuguese and English, candidates can choose according to their fluency of the language; and
  • Compulsory English language course, except for candidates who can certify level B2 or above according to the CEFR (1 hour per day); or
  • Compulsory Portuguese language course, except for candidates who can certify level B2 or above according to the CEFR (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


História das Ideias Políticas (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


Biologia (PT / EN)

Alimentação Humana (PT)

NOVA Medical School


PT = offered in Portuguese; EN = offered in English

The courses vary each semester.

* This course should be sufficient to prepare candidates for a traditional Calculus class given during the first academic year. 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.




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

  • Holding a High School diploma or a document attesting the completion of High School including transcript of records with a full list of courses and corresponding grades.
  • A minimum level of A2 in at least one of these languages – Portuguese or English

    Equivalent fluency at European level A2 means that the student must be able to understand isolated phrases and frequent expressions related to areas of immediate priority, exchange simple and direct information on familiar subjects and can describe in a simple way his or her training and the surroundings.

    Upon successful completion of the language course, the student will reach level B1, which will allow him/her to read, write and read fluently in order to follow a course and produce material corresponding to the course.

Photo: Tram from Lisbon




  • Application fee: €70*
  • Enrollment fee: €300* (Upon acceptance)
  • Pre-University Semester fee:  €2.700* (After visa approval and before classes start)

* Non-Refundable

Program Cost Includes:

  • Tuition fees
  • Costs of all appropriate teaching, supervision, assessment, and examinations related to the programme.
  • Pre-requisite: language exams
  • Language courses: Portuguese ou English
  • Program administration
  • Access to some key services and facilities you’ll find useful throughout your university course

Program Cost does not include:

The following expenses are not included in the cost of the program so students will need to prepare for these:

Pre Departure Expenses:

  • Airfare Ticket
  • Travel Medical Insurance
  • Visa Permits

Overseas Expenses:

  • Cost of Airport reception, transfer and return transportation to the airport
  • Daily living expenses:  Accommodation, Meals, transportation
  • Academic Material
  • Leisure activities, etc.

Additional Information

Total expenses will vary by student and are subject to change depending on currency fluctuation and personal spending habits.  As a quick reference please visit the following links to have an estimated cost of accommodation and a comparison of the cost of living in your current city and Lisbon:


Lisboa - rio Tejo

Photo: Lisbon, Tagus River




Application Period     

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

  • From August to October, for candidates willing to attend the semester from February to August;
  • From January to March, 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 stating why you are interested in completing the semester and / or what is your reason for wanting to study an undergraduate degree after the successful completion of this semester;
  • Recommendation letter (optional);
  • Document attesting the completion of High School,  In case of not having finished High School at the time of application, the candidate must submit an official declaration from the School attesting when the candidate will be finishing High school.
  • 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 language level (English and/or Portuguese);
  • Document proving the payment of the application fee. After submitting the online application, the candidate will receive an email from the International Relations Office acknowledging receipt of documents and providing instructions for enrollment fee payment.

* 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

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. 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. Interviews will be done vía Skype.

Step 3: Admission

After reviewing all application requirements, 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 spot may be given to another candidate on the waiting list.

Step 4: Enrollment 

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

Photo: NOVA student participating in a Surf University Championship



International Development Office
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Rectorate

E-mail: nova.semester@unl.pt


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

Please check the Frequently Asked Questions


Contact us by email nova.semester@unl.pt