The Portuguese higher education is suited to Bologna process and as such, their training offerings are harmonized with the offers from all countries within the European Higher Education Area (European Higher Education Area) being structured in three distinct cycles:
i. course of study leading to a degree.
In polytechnic education, as a rule, the cycle of studies leading to a degree is 180 credits and a normal duration of six semesters of students' work. In the university teaching, the cycle of studies leading to a degree has 180 to 240 credits and a duration between six and eight curricular semesters of students' work.
ii. Course of study leading to master's degree
As a rule, the cycle of studies leading to master's degree has 90 to 120 credits and a normal duration of three to four semesters of students' work.
However, the university teaching can still give a master's degree after an integrated cycle of studies (integrated Masters) with 300 to 360 credits and a normal duration between 10 and 12 semesters of work. The integrated Masters exists in cases in which, for access to the practice of a particular professional activity, a longer duration of the course be required for this set by European Union regulations or result from a consolidated practice in the EU.
iii. course of study leading to the PhD degree
The doctor degree can only be granted by university teaching and his course of study includes the preparation of an original thesis, specially elaborated for this purpose, appropriate to the branch of knowledge or expertise and the eventual realization of courses aimed at training researching which the total is called the PhD course.
The functioning of higher education institutions and the courses of study mentioned above is dependent on the accreditation of the Agency of Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education - www.a3es.pt. The courses of study that are currently operating in Portugal can be viewed on the website of General Directorate of Higher Education.
In addition to these training offers, the higher education institutions also teach non-degree courses as is the case of CET - Technological specialization courses and postgraduate courses.