pixel SUPERNOVA Foundation Programme | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

SUPERNOVA Foundation Programme


SUPERNOVA Foundation Programme

SUPERNOVA was designed for students who have recently finished high school and plan to apply to Higher Education in Portugal.

SUPERNOVA will assist students from different countries in adapting to the European education system, developing language and academic skills at an appropriate level for successful progression to an undergraduate course at one of the best and most reputable young universities in the world, NOVA University. Students are guaranteed progression to the first year of a relevant degree at Nova University, provided the progression criteria are met.

This multidisciplinary program offers the student the opportunity to choose different disciplines offered by NOVA's Schools taught in Portuguese and/or English, depending on the student's preference; to attend the Clube de Ideas, where students are introduced to the main debates and critical thinking perspectives and analytical and writing skills while assessing ideas, cultural norms, assumptions and practices of European culture and Western thought against their own perspectives.

The program also includes English or Portuguese classes for foreigners to initiate skills in that language. Students are allocated to this module depending on the level of proficiency in English or Portuguese at the time of entry. Students with levels above B2 are exempt from taking this module.

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

Key benefits of attending SUPERNOVA

  • 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 in 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 2023)

Applications Open in July 2022

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

Click here to book a meeting with us!


SUPERNOVA can be taken Online or On-Campus, with differentiated costs. Students who take the program online present an interview at the end of the program with the team of the School Selection Committee they intend to join.

The Program can be carried out in one of two periods of the year:

  • Spring (applications from July to October) - Classes between February and June.


  • Fall Edition (applications from January to April) - Classes between September and January.

SUPERNOVA is constituted by a set of courses from six different Schools at NOVA:

  • Faculty of Science and Technology (NOVA FCT)
  • Information Management School (NOVA IMS - Data Science)
  • Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (NOVA FCSH)
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences (NMS)
  • Faculty of Law (NOVA Direito)
  • NOVA School of Business and Economics (NOVA SBE)

The completion of SUPERNOVA might not garantee direct access to one of NOVA's Undergraduate Programs. Therefore, those interested must check the website of the desired college and look into the Degree's application procedures.

However, some of the Schools guarantee special immediate admission conditions for SUPERNOVA students. Specifically, for this purpose, students at the end of the SUPERNOVA must fulfill the following 3 conditions:

  1. Pass to all disciplines chosen from the SUPERNOVA study plan. The Programme's study plan includes the following mandatory components and the disciplines required by each School mentioned in condition 3:
  • 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).
  1. Have a minimum attendance rate of 80% in all SUPERNOVA enrolled classes.
  2. Comply with the specific criteria for progression to the School they intend to enter (all disciplines below refer to the offer available to SUPERNOVA):
  • NOVA FCT (Combination of two of the following subjects, depending on the degree chosen)
    • Pass Mathematics; 
    • Pass Principles of Physical Chemistry;
    • Biology
    • One of the two available NOVA IMS courses (depending on the Semester), in case Computer Science is the only selected undergraduate programme at NOVA FCT.
  • NOVA IMS - Data Science
    • Pass Mathematics; and
    • Pass Foundational aspects of data (Fall Editions)
    • Pass Foundational aspects of information (Spring Editions)
    • Pass Introduction to Methods of Social Sciences
    • Pass Introduction to Law and Democracy
  • NMS | FCM
    • Pass Biology; and
    • Pass Principles of Physical Chemistry
  • NOVA Direito 
    • Pass one of the subjects offered by the Law School with a minimum grade of 12 points (out of 20)
    • Pass Introduction to Methods of Social Sciences 
    • Pass Mathematics with a minimum grade of 14 (out of 20); and
    • Pass one of the subjects offered by NOVA SBE.

Note: To pass a course, the student must obtain a minimum grade of 10 (out of 20), to fulfill the conditions of direct access to each School it is important to consider the minimum grade required above.

At the end of SUPERNOVA, if the students do not meet any of the above requirements, they can always apply directly to a NOVA School like any other candidate under the International Student Special Regime. In this case, they will have to pass the school's specific admission tests and start a new application process that does not guarantee immediate admission. However, at this stage, the frequency of the SUPERNOVA will give a positive weight during the analysis of the application.


These are the degrees available in all six NOVA Schools that you can apply for after SUPERNOVA and the language in which it is taught. Please note that your application must be made according to the rules and the number of places defined by each School for International Students. During the application process for SUPERNOVA, the candidate can be pre-accepted in a maximum of three degrees and choose one after the successful completion of the Program.

NOVA School of Science and Technology (NOVA FCT): (Lectured in Portuguese)

NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS) - Data Science : (Lectured in English)

NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities (NOVA FCSH): (Lectured in Portuguese)

NOVA Medical School (NMS | FCM): (Lectured in Portuguese)

NOVA School of Law (NOVA Direito): (Lectured in Portuguese)

NOVA School of Business and Economics (NOVA SBE): (Lectured in English)



Candidates to SUPERNOVA must satisfy the following requirements: 

  • Holding a High School diploma or a document attesting the completion of High School (valid up to 2 years before applying to SUPERNOVA) including a transcript of records with a full list of courses and corresponding grades.
  • All applicants must have a minimum fluency of B2 in at least one of the following languages: Portuguese or English. It depends on the language of instruction of the bachelor´s degree you want upon completion of the programme.
  • Candidates who are completing/have completed only the 1st year of their higher education degree
  • Age target is from 17 to 25 years old. From the ages of 25 to 30, applications are subjected to a deeper evaluation, applicants beyond 30 years old are not eligible for the foundation programme.

Equivalent European-level fluency B2 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 that 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 must be from an internationally recognized examiner, such as IELTS, Cambridge stating their level of proficiency within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Photo: Tram from Lisbon



On-Campus Program Online Program
Application Fee: €70* Application Fee: €70*
Enrolment fee: €300* (Upon acceptance) Enrolment fee: €1.000* (Upon acceptance)
Face to Face SUPERNOVA fee:  €2.700* (30 days before classes start) Online SUPERNOVA fee:  €3.000* (45 days 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 or English
  • Program administration
  • The Face-to-face Program gives you access to some important services and facilities that you will find useful throughout your time at SUPERNOVA.
  • 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 a 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:

  • A motivation letter stating why you are interested in completing the semester and/or what is your reason for wanting to study for an undergraduate degree after the successful completion of this semester.
  • Recommendation letter (optional).
  • A document attesting to 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 enrolment 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 a legally equivalent document) until the end of the first month of classes of SUPERNOVA. 

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 Zoom.

Step 3: Admission´s tests

Candidates interested in entering the NOVA FCT, NOVA SBE or NOVA IMS faculties will have to take a mathematical diagnostic test, which is firstly online and later in person, at the beginning of the program. Candidates with a specific interest in the faculty of NOVA SBE will have to take the final microeconomics exam in person at the end of the programme.

Download here a sample math test for practice.

Please find below a list of the main topics of this exam:

  • Basic logic, universal and existential quantifiers. 
  • Sets (reunion, intersection, setminus, complement). 
  • Operations with real numbers. 
  • Solving analytically simple algebraically equations in IR (no trigonometry) involving polynomials of degree up to 3, modulus, logarithms and exponentials. 
  • Factorization of polynomials (cases that can be solved analytically). 
  • Sequences- Definition, monotonicity, bounded sequences and limits. 
  • Functions - Basic definitions (odd, even, injective, surjective, local and global extreme points, monotonicity), domain, composition, inverse, continuity and differentiability. Consider also stepwise functions. 

Approval in the mathematics diagnostic test, required for acceptance to the program for candidates who intend to attend NOVA SBE, NOVA FCT and NOVA IMS, is only verified with a grade equal to or greater than 10 out of 20. This test is taken online. Candidates who opt for the face-to-face modality will also be subject to a second diagnostic test, which will be carried out face-to-face at the beginning of classes. Passing this test is required, which is verified with a score between 10 and 20.


Step 4: Enrolment 

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 enrolment 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 Programme´s fee and the following steps, including information about the start of classes, timetables, school calendar, etc.

Note: Visas must be requested up until 60 days before the start of classes, 30th of November for Spring editions and 30th of May for fall editions, respectively. The non-compliance to SUPERNOVA's team and Consular services requests could lead to not receiving the required Visa in time, which SUPERNOVA does not take responsibility for.

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: supernova@unl.pt


In case you have questions about SUPERNOVA:

Please check the Frequently Asked Questions


Contact us by email at supernova@unl.pt