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Structure of Portuguese Education System

The Portuguese education system is split up into school education that include basic and secondary education; and higher education that includes university and polytechnic education. 

Portuguese School Education

School education in Portugal starts with pre-school that is optional, followed by basic education that lasts for 9 years and is divided into 3 levels of 4,2 and 3 years respectively. After the successful completion of the third level, a diploma or certificate is awarded and students are eligible for secondary education. Secondary education is also compulsory and is provided by public, cooperative and private schools. This educational level lasts for 3 years and offers general and technical or vocational courses.  

Portuguese Higher Education

Higher education in Portugal is divided into two subsystems: university education and non-university higher education also referred as polytechnic education. The higher education in Portugal is offered by public and private universities and non-university higher education institutions. 

Structure of Portuguese Education System

Period of Compulsory Education

Entry age: 6
Exit age: 18

Pre-School Education

  • Ages: 3-5
  • School type: Kindergarten and nursery schools

Basic Education

Basic education in Portugal is divided into three stages:

Stage: Ensino Basico - 1 Ciclo
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 6-10
  • Grade: 1 to 4
Stage: Ensino Basico - 2 Ciclo
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Ages: 10- 12
  • Grades: 5-6
Stage: Ensino Basico - 3 Ciclo
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 12-15
  • Grades: 7-9
  • Credential awarded: Certificate of basic education 

Secondary Education

  • School type offering secondary education: Middle schools (Escola Secundaria)
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15 to 18
  • Credential awarded: Secondary school diploma (Diploma de Ensino Secundario)

Secondary Professional Education

  • School type: Secondary professional or vocational schools (Escolas profissionais)
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15-18
  • Credential awarded: Diploma of Training Level III and Professional Studies Diploma Professionals (Diploma de Formacao Profissional de Nivel III and Diploma de Estudios Profissionais)

Specialized Technical and Vocational Education

  • School type offering this education: Secondary school professional (Escolas Secundarias Profissionais)
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15 to 18
  • Credential awarded: Secondary School Diploma , Vocational Qualification Certificate Level III (Diploma de Ensino Secundario, Certificado de Qualificacao Profissional de Nivel III)

Higher Education

Higher education in Portugal offered by universities and polytechnic institutions.
Level: Licenciado
  • Duration: 3-4 years
  • Semester: 6-8
  • Provider: University and Polytechnic institutes
Level: Mestre
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Semesters: 3 to 4
  • Provider: University and Polytechnic institutes
Level: Doctorate (Doutor) 
  • Provider: University
Level: Agregacao - Post Doctorate 
  • Provider: University

Portuguese Credentials

School Education Credentials

  • Diploma of Basic Education (Diploma do Ensino Basico)
  • Certificate of Secondary Education (Certificado de Fim de Estudos Secundarias)
  • Certificate of Third Level Professional Qualification (Certificado de Qualificacao Profissional de Nivel III)
  • Diploma of Professional Studies (Diploma de Estudios Profissionais)
  • Diploma of Secondary Education (Diploma de Ensino Secundario)
  • Diploma of Technological Specialization (Diploma de Especializacao Tecnologica)
  • Diploma of Third Level Professional Training (Diploma de Formacao Profissional de Nivel III)

Higher Education Credentials 

  • Bachelor's degree (Bacharelato )
  • Licentiate I, II and III
  • Licentiate in Law (Licenciatura em Direito)
  • Licentiate in Medicine (Licenciatura em Medicina)
  • Master in Dental Medicine (Mestrado Integrado em Medicina Dentaria)
  • Master in Medicine (Mestrado Integrado em Medicina)
  • Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Mestrado Integrado em Ciencia Farmaceuticas)
  • Master's Degree (Mestrado)
  • Doctorate (Doutoramento), or Doctor (Doutor)
  • Aggregation (Agregacao)
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