Portugal is more than just a historic and picturesque country. To date, it has become one of the most promising destinations for international students. With its Bologna process curriculum and affordable tuition fees, more and more students are flocking to the country.
One of Portugal’s most distinguished offerings is its medicine program, which has long been offered in old and new universities. As such, its medical schools are known to follow a long line of tradition and educational excellence. In this article, we will be looking at the top medical schools in Portugal
How long does it take to become a doctor in Portugal?
It takes 6 years to finish the Integrated Master in Medicine course in Portugal. This covers a basic health sciences degree and a 2nd cycle Masters in Medicine.
What are the admission requirements for Portuguese medical schools?
Portuguese medical schools require applicants to submit a certificate of secondary schooling. They also have to undergo an entrance exam administered by the Ministry of Health. These 2 are weighted to determine admission.
Pre-requisites in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are required as well.
Top Medical Schools in Portugal
1. University of Lisboa Faculty of Medicine
Also known as the University of Lisbon, ULisboa is known to be the biggest university in Portugal. It is also one of the oldest, as it can trace its beginnings back to 1290. Previously the Lisbon General Study, it is currently ranked as the best institution in the country.
ULisboa has 18 departments, one of which is the notable Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lisbon is considered the best medical school in Portugal. Here, students can take up an Integrated Master in Medicine (MIM) course. The 6-year program covers a 3-year degree in basic medical studies, followed by the Master of Medicine cycle.
Through the MIM course, students are taught the fundamentals of Biosciences, doctor-patient relationships, bioethics, and the social dimension of disease. These are then applied to help diagnose and treat clinical problems.
Apart from imparting vital medical knowledge, the course also helps develop the students’ skills through clinical rotations. Internships are done at the Hospital de Santa Maria, which is the country’s national referral center.
A beacon of global education, ULisboa also promotes student international exchanges through the Erasmus program.
2. University of Porto Faculty of Medicine
The University of Porto is the second-largest educational institution in Portugal. It was founded in 1836 as the Polytechnic Academy and Medical-Surgical School, a fine tradition that the Faculty of Medicine carries up until today.
As one of Portugal’s best universities, it is home to 13 faculties, including that of the Faculty of Medicine. The school offers an Integrated Master in Medicine, a 6-year course that features degrees in Basic Health Science and Medicine (2nd cycle).
The curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of biomedicine and clinical science. Through the guidance of established physician-professors, students are guided through the various processes of medicine.
Lessons are usually delivered through lectures, practical tests, laboratory activities, seminars, or simulation classes. Internships are done in Centro Hospitalar S. João, as well as other public and private hospitals. As with any other post-graduate course, students need to submit a clinical or biomedical research project.
With the university’s Integrated Master in Medicine course, University of Porto students are allowed to delve into either clinical practice, research, or teaching.
3. University of Algarve Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine
Founded in 1979, the University of Algarve is one of Portugal’s younger universities. Based in southern Portugal, it boasts of a vast international community – totaling 18% of the school’s total population.
The university offers an Integrated Master in Medicine program, which is supervised by the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine. As the curriculum is taught in Portuguese, international applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in writing and speaking.
At this medical school in Portugal, the core objective of the course is to mold professionals who are effective in performing basic medical skills and procedures. Through this program, students are taught about health promotion, disease prevention & management, the context of the person as a whole, among many other vital subjects.
By completing this degree, students get the competitive edge to apply for medical specializations in various hospitals.
4. University of Beira Interior Department of Medical Sciences
The University of Beira Interior, also known as UBI, is a public institution based in Covilhã, Portugal. Founded in 1979, it traces its roots to the Polytechnic Institute of Covilhã, which was the first tertiary school in the area.
It has five faculties, one of which is the Faculty of Health Sciences. Under this is the Department of Medical Sciences, which is in charge of the university’s Integrated Master in Medicine course.
Through this degree, students are taught about health and disease, local/international health needs, communication, health education, ethics, research, and the health system.
Likewise, the program aims to improve the students’ clinical skills, which include setting appointments, diagnosing, prescribing medications, performing basic procedures, and communicating effectively with patients, among many others.
Internships are done in a variety of hospitals, including the Center Centro Hospitalar Cova da Beira, Health Centers of Belmonte, Castelo Branco, Covilhã, Fundão & Guarda, Hospital Amato Lusitano, and Hospital de Sousa Martins.
5. University of Coimbra Faculty of Medicine
The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Established in 1290, Medicine is one of the university’s first courses. Today, the Faculty of Medicine is in charge of continuing its rich educational tradition.
Like other Portuguese medical schools, Coimbra offers a specialized Integrated Master in Medicine. The objective of this program is to create physicians who have commendable knowledge, scientific skills, professional behavior, and ethical values.
Medical internships are done at the Coimbra Hospital and University Center, which is one of the National Health Service’s reference institutions. Done during the 6th year, this involves rotations in the departments of Gynecology, Pediatrics, Anatomy, and Pathophysiology, to name a few.
As the Integrated Master in Medicine is taught in Portuguese, international applicants need to complete proficiency exams in the said language.
6. University of Minho School of Medicine
Established in 1973, the University of Minho is a public institute with 4 campuses in Northwestern Portugal. It is lauded as one of the top 100 universities under the age of 50.
One of its newer departments is the School of Medicine, which was only launched in the year 2000. As the center for undergraduate and post-graduate studies in the health sciences, it offers several courses. One of the more competitive choices is the Integrated Master in Medicine program.
Compliant to the Bologna process, this 6-year program covers a basic degree in the health sciences, as well as a 2nd cycle masters in Medicine.
The student-centered curriculum promotes active learning, a method that helps enhance the students’ commitment and discipline. With its community-oriented curriculum, medical students get to engage in health center internships, family health rotations, and clinical training.
The Integrated Masters in Medicine also focuses on research, which is key to improving healthcare. Even as students, they are given the chance to participate in activities done by the Institute of Research in Health and Life Sciences.
UMinho also offers an integrated MD-Ph.D. program with Thomas Jefferson University and Columbia University in the US.
7. NOVA University Lisbon – NOVA Medical School
The last candidate in our list of top medical schools in Portugal is NOVA Medical School. Nova – which translates to new – characterizes NOVA University Lisbon. Founded in 1973, this institution is one of the youngest in Portugal. Although this is the case, it remains as the only Portuguese university in the “Top 50 under 50” rankings.
The university has 9 academic units, one of which is the NOVA Medical School. Its flagship program is the Integrated Master in Medicine, which is a 2-cycle course amounting to 360 ECTS.
Through this Portuguese-taught program, students are expected to excel in clinical data collection, decision-making, and research.
Subjects for the first 3 years (basic medical science degree) include anatomy, nutrition, genetics, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, neuroscience, immunology, general surgery, and internal medicine, to name a few.
The fourth and fifth years cover courses in obstetrics & gynecology, medical psychology, geriatrics, psychiatry, pediatrics, and oncology. Internships in surgery, OB-gyne, medicine, pediatrics, and mental health, are to be completed during the last year of schooling.
I hope that this article on the best medical schools in Portugal was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Medical Schools Category!
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé