SiPN is a 4-university consortium designed to serve many different kinds of students. For those who are not yet ready to take all of their coursework in Portuguese, they can still cover their major or distribution requirements through a wide array of offerings taught in English, while also taking whichever level they require for a Portuguese language course. For those who are ready to direct-enroll in regular university classes taught in Portuguese, we can provide the full immersion model as well.
The 4 schools in the consortium are all in downtown Lisbon and are fully recognized and accredited by Portuguese and European higher education bodies. :
Catholic University of Portugal (CUP) - CUP is the only private university in the SiPN consortium. It was established in 1967 and it rapidly gained a reputation for excellence and high levels of internationalization. It has four campuses across the country, but the Lisbon campus where our classes are held educates approximately 5000 students. Its AACSB-accredited business school was recently voted one of the top-25 in Europe by the Financial Times.
ISCTE-IUL - ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) is a public university established in 1972. With approximately 9000 students enrolled in undergraduate (52%) and postgraduate (48%) programs, 450 teachers and 220 non-teaching staff, ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon is proud to be one of the most dynamic and innovative universities in the country. It has 4 highly regarded schools and in percentage terms enrolls the highest number of international students of any Portuguese university.
Nova University of Lisbon – NOVA was founded in 1973 and is the youngest of Lisbon’s three public universities. It is the only Portuguese University in the QS Top 50 Under 50 rankings, which is a ranking of the top universities in the world that are less than 50 years old. In the academic year 2009/2010, NOVA had 18.343 enrolled students. Its business school is a triple crown-accredited school with three Masters programs and Executive Education programs in the FT rankings, and classified as a Universal Business School (5 Palmes) with 11 Masters among the best in the Eduniversal rankings.
University of Lisbon – Is the largest and most recent university in Portugal, with nearly 50,000 students total. It was founded in 2013 as a result of a merger between the former Technical University of Lisbon (UTL) and the University of Lisbon (UL). It has 18 different faculties or institutes and over 2700 FTE faculty members covering virtually every discipline. In 2012/13 the UL hosted 1653 Erasmus students and it has the country’s oldest and largest dedicated program of Portuguese for Foreigners. Our students tend to take most of their classes from UL’S Faculty of Letters, the Superior Institute for Economics and Management (ISEG), and the Faculty of Architecture & Design, but classes at any of its various schools are open to our students.
Location Summary: Lisbon: What makes SiPN unique is the fact that students can choose classes from any of the 4 member universities in our Lisbon network. Each school is only minutes away from the other and the student residence downtown. Public transportation makes it easy to get to a class at any of the schools, or you can choose all of your classes from that semester’s host university. Lisbon has a Mediterranean-like climate and amazing beaches just minutes away from downtown.
Academic Notes: SiPN requires students possess at least a 2.75 GPA and a clean behavior record at their home university. We typically accept those with sophomore standing or higher, but specific programs can be created for different needs.
Students must be prepared for a work load that is significant and rigorous (must be enrolled in at least 24 European credits (ECTS) for a semester)
Virtually any discipline is available in Portuguese; but we have hundreds of courses taught in English for majors in the social sciences, humanities, fine arts & design, and business.
All levels of Portuguese language are offered every semester and during the 3 summer sessions
During the semester our course offerings are better suited to undergraduates, but our Summer programs and Summer Internships are well-suited to the needs of both undergrads or graduate students
Language Notes: Portuguese language courses are offered from beginner to advanced levels. Students seeking to direct enroll in regular university courses taught in Portuguese should possess fairly advanced levels of Portuguese, but no Portuguese is required for students who plan on taking coursework in English. Although the Portuguese appreciate any effort you make to speak the language, Portugal is very friendly to non-Portuguese speakers.
Program Dates: Semester 1: Early September to Mid December (final exams that may be required in January can be scheduled through your home university via a proxy exam by a designated proctor)
Semester 2: Late January to Late May (final exams that may be required in June or July can be scheduled through your home university via a proxy exam by a designated proctor)
June Session: late May – late June July Session: June 29 – late July August Session: late July – late August
Hints for Researching Available Courses: Click here to build your program! Choose classes by semester or summer session, and from among the core curriculum options taught in English, Portuguese language classes, or any of the hundreds of other direct-enroll options taught in English or Portuguese.
During the semester, all SDSU students must enroll in at least 24 ECTS (European credits) to be considered full-time while studying at SiPN. A maximum of 30 ECTS may be taken each semester, or 12 ECTS each 4-week summer session. 2 ECTS are typically equivalent to 1 SDSU semester unit. However, some SiPN intensive Portuguese courses are only worth 6 ECTS despite including 80 contact hours total, so your Department Chair may be able to award you more SDSU credit equivalencies depending on the specific course syllabus you provide them. The SiPN website allows you to download all syllabi in English for pre-approvals on campus.
SiPN also offers Summer Internships for academic credit. Some of these positions require a certain level of Portuguese fluency, but many are designed for English-speakers. Download the internship description(s) and the internship course syllabus to see if your program might allow you to transfer these credits back to your specific program.
Housing and Meals: SiPN students are housed in single rooms in a shared international student residence located in the heart of downtown Lisbon. It is located in the Baixa Pombalina, Lisbon’s historical, commercial and cultural center. Buses, trolleys and subway stations are nearby for easy access to your classes. It is a mixed residence with 75 beds, distributed in 71 single rooms, 2 single rooms with WC and 1 studio (for 2 people). There are 5 single-sex but shared bathrooms (one on each floor), 5 shared kitchens (one on each floor), 2 living rooms, a 24-hour study room, a self-service laundry in the basement, 24-hour door security, and wi-fi is provided throughout the residence.
Meals can be cooked in the shared kitchens or there are inexpensive student cafeterias at all 4 of SiPN’s campuses. Our students will enjoy access to any of the facilities of the schools in which they are registered for classes.
Insurance Requirement or Health Recommendations: ALL SiPN students are covered by an AON Travel and Health Insurancepolicy that is tailor-made for study abroad students. It provides coverage for everything from a stolen laptop, to lost luggage, to dental, emergency and routine medical coverage. On top of that, all SiPN students enjoy obligatory university insurance coverage, provided by the host university (Portuguese policy).
Some member schools of the SiPN network provide full-service health and dental clinics on campus. For example this clinic is located on ISCTE-IUL’s campus. All schools that integrate SiPN’s network offer free mental health counseling to all students.
Visa: US citizens participating in study programs in Portugal for stays of 90 days or less (Summer sessions) are not required to have a Visa. You simply enter the country as a tourist and enjoy the visa waiver policy between Portugal and the USA. If you are not a US citizen or green-card holder, check with your Embassy for its travel policies with Portugal.
Stays of 90 days or longer (semester-length programs) however, do require a student visa in order to enter the country. Students cannot apply for a visa until they are formally admitted to the SiPN program and issued a formal acceptance letter by the host institution. In the meantime though, if you need to request a visa you should immediately request an FBI criminal background check, which can be the most lengthy process in your student visa application. SiPN recommends the use of an FBI channeler service if you can afford to pay the extra $50 or so, because they can return your completed FBI background check in as few as 2 weeks. Otherwise the process can easily take up to 10 weeks.
All SiPN students are required to have a current passport. The Portuguese student visa application can only be made after a passport has been issued. US Passport applications generally take 3 to 6 weeks to process. We recommend that any students without a valid passport start this process as soon as they receive their acceptance e-mail/letter!
The basic steps for requesting a student visa are as follows, once you have (or have mailed in your application for) a valid US passport that expires no less than 6 months after your intended return from Portugal:
Fill out the EU Schengen Visa application form, here.
Request your FBI criminal background check. This process is the most time-consuming and can be delayed if the quality of your fingerprint scan is not up to FBI standards. We recommend using a channeling service if you can afford to do so. You will need to have your background check in hand by the time of your Portuguese Consulate/Embassy interview.
Schedule your face-to-face interview at the closest Portuguese consulate to your permanent address. To find out where you will have to go for your Visa interview, click here. For most SDSU students this will mean a trip to San Francisco is required. Make these plans well in advance, but ideally you should have your FBI background check in hand by the time of your trip to the Consulate.
The actual and estimated costs below are provided from the SiPN Program website. These prices are guaranteed for the 2015/16 academic year. Furthermore, while we encourage students to budget for extracurricular travel, the budget excludes these costs in an effort to show only necessary expenses.
Note that discounts are also available for students selecting more than one session, for example a Spring semester + Summer session.