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Doutoramento emDevelopment Studies

The PhD in Development Studies is a 3rd-cycle program of studies that aims to provide high-quality training and produce original research in the area of Development Studies, a field of interdisciplinary research on the process of economic, social, and political changes in modern societies.

This PhD programme was created in 2009 and accredited by the national agency A3ES in 2015. After 2017/18, this program became a joint PhD of ISEG (School of Economics and Management), ICS (Institute of Social Sciences), IGOT (Institute of Geographic and Spatial Planning) and ISA (School of Agriculture) of Universidade de Lisboa, with some changes in its content, recently approved by the national agency A3ES.

3 years
Evening Lectures
Taught in
Numerus Clausus

Funding Opportunities

PhD Scholarships

Applicants for the School’s PhDs can apply for a variety of scholarships, namely FCT scholarships (granted by FCT or by ISEG research centres) and, in some cases, ULisboa scholarships. The criteria, rules and regulations for applying for scholarships are detailed on our website.

Research Centres

In some cases, PhD students can be enrolled in projects hosted by the research centres or be supported by them. For further information, contact the PhD coordinator.

ISEG Scientific Committee
Francisco Louçã
Alexandre Abreu
Carlos Castel-Branco

ICS Scientific Committee
Olivia Bina
Simone Tulumello
Roberto Falanga

IGOT Scientific Committee
Jorge Malheiros
Margarida Queirós
Mário Vale

ISA Scientific Committee
Luis Goulão
José Lima Santos
Luís Mira da Silva

Programme Details

The PhD Programme in Development Studies research themes are grounded in a broad range of issues related to the development of contemporary societies and their methodological variables and analytical tools.


This PhD program is for anyone interested in obtaining advanced academic training and doing research with a view to working in jobs related to international and national development in the public sector, the private sector, or the non-profit sector.

Outgoing students can find employment in teaching and research posts; managerial and executive positions in international and national organisations; consultancy; training; research projects; journalism; planning; development projects; public policy planning and evaluation; and social projects and social policies.

Programme Structure

Research themes for the PhD thesis and course units are grounded in a broad range of issues related to the development of contemporary societies and their methodological variables and analytical tools. Agriculture and contemporary agrarian transformation are highlighted, as are issues of poverty, inequality, and equity; development economics and aid finance; geography and urbanization; migration and gender; the security-development nexus; sustainable consumption, food production, and ecosystem services; and modernity theoretical challenges to development.

These themes are explored in our PhD programme through course units related to the development of contemporary societies, including theories of development and modernity; the policy and politics of development; sustainability transitions; and a focus on urban development. As a Development Studies programme, interdisciplinary links are established between economics, sociology, geography, social and economic history, political science, and law, thus providing an integrated perspective on development and sustainability issues in contemporary societies. A great attention is paid to the improvement of students’ skills in research methods and techniques required for development studies.

One of the programme orientations focuses on development issues in Portuguese-speaking contexts (Portugal, Brazil, East Timor, and Portuguese-speaking African countries), given that research in these geographical areas offers a comparative advantage for participation in international research networks.

Study Plans

Year 1 – Semester 1ProfessorCredits
Theories of Modernity and DevelopmentFrancisco Louçã (ISEG)9.0
Development in TransitionOlivia Bina (ICS)12.0
Research Methods in Development StudiesAlexandre Abreu (ISEG)6.0
Research Seminar ICarlos Castel-Branco (ISEG)3.0
Year 1 – Semester 2ProfessorCredits
Development Policy and PoliticsLuís Mah (ISEG)7.5
Topics in Development StudiesMário Vale (IGOT)3.0
Research Seminar IICarlos Castel-Branco (ISEG)3.0
Research Essay4.5
Elective Unit6.0
Elective Modules of Research Methods6.0
Year 2Credits
Thesis (Research Seminar)60
Year 3Credits
Thesis (Research Seminar)60

3 years
Evening Lectures
Taught in
Numerus Clausus

Admissions & Fees

Applications for the Doctoral Program in Development Studies must be submitted on the ICS website.

Entry Conditions and Selection Criteria

Anyone holding a Master’s degree in the areas of Economics, Management, Law, Sociology, Geography, Political Science, International Relations, History, Anthropology, or any other area deemed appropriate. Students who obtained a GPA of 16 or more (out of 20) or, in special circumstances, students whose GPA is lower than 16 but have demonstrated appropriate academic training or professional experience may also apply. 

The Scientific Committee of the PhD Programme will choose candidates on the basis of the following criteria: 

  • Masters and respective final grade; 
  • First degree and respective final grade;
  • Academic and relevant professional experience; 
  • Research proposal.

Tuition Fee

1st Year2nd – 3rd Years4th – 6th Years
€ 3,000€ 2,000€ 1,000

3 years
Evening Lectures
Taught in
Numerus Clausus
Accreditation & Partnerships