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's degree or integrated masters in one of the Schools of NOVA.

This multidisciplinary programme offers students the opportunity to choose different courses offered by NOVA´s Schools, attend the Ideas Club and Portuguese or 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;
  • Access optional courses of different academic areas;
  • 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 - Spring ( February 2021)

Applications Open until October 31st, 2020

* 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:

  • Spring Edition (applications from July to October);
  • Fall Edition (applications from January to April).

The programme is constituted by a set of courses from six different Schools at NOVA.  Each student must select two academic disciplines from the participating Schools according to the conditions for direct access to each School, available in the Frequently Asked Questions (The acceptance in a degree programme at NOVA is guaranteed after attending the Pre-University Semester?. Beyond these disciplines it is compulsory to attend to the following components:

  • Club of Ideas, 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).

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 a transcript of records with a full list of courses and corresponding grades.
  • All applicants must have a minimum fluency of B1 in at least one of the following languages: Portuguese or English. It depends on the language of instruction of the Bachelor Degree you want upon completion of the program.

Equivalent European-level fluency B1 means that the student must be able to understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where the language is spoken.  Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

If English or Portuguese is not the native language in the home country, the candidate will need to submit a certificate indicating the level of English or Portuguese he/she has.

This certificate may be from an internationally recognized examiner, such as IELTS, Cambridge, etc. or a signed letter from an English / Portuguese institution or teacher stating their level of proficiency within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Photo: Tram from Lisbon



Face to Face Program Online Program
Application Fee: €70* Application Fee: €70*
Enrollment fee: €300* (Upon acceptance) Enrollment fee: €1.000* (Upon acceptance)
Face to Face Pre-University Semester fee:  €2.700* (After visa approval and before classes start) Online Pre-University Semester fee:  €3.000* (One month 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
  • The Face-to-face Program gives you access to some important services and facilities that you will find useful throughout the pre-university semester.
  • The Online Program includes additional online question-solving sessions.

Program Cost does not include: (Expenses not required for the Online Program)

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 vary by student and are subject to change depending on currency fluctuations and personal habits. The approximate cost is 650 € monthly per student if you get a place in a University Residence; if it is in a Private T1 apartment you can increase the values up to 3.3 times. For quick reference, visit the links below for an estimated cost of accommodation and comparison of costs between your current city and Lisbon:


Lisboa - rio Tejo

Photo: Lisbon, Tagus River



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: Analysis

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. After reviewing all application elements, the Admissions Committee makes the final decision and informs candidates by email. 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´s tests

Candidates interested in entering the FCT, Nova SBE or IMS Schools will have to submit a mathematical diagnostic test during the application.nother candidate on the waiting list.

Step 4: Enrollment 

If accepted, applicants should inform which program option they prefer, which subjects they will attend and confirm their participation in the program by paying the enrollment fee. This information will be included in the acceptance letter that will be sent to the applicant to start their visa process, if necessary. If you do not take this step within the requested deadlines, the vacancy may be assigned to another candidate on the waiting list.

Step 5: Registration

Once participation in the program is confirmed, students will be contacted by NOVA with instructions for paying the Semester´s fee and the following steps, including information about the start of classes, timetables, school calendar, etc.

All of our communications are sent to the email that the candidate gave on the application form. Applicants are responsible for checking their email account regularly (including spam and junk boxes).

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