Faculdade de Direito

Third Cycle - Law


Terceiro ciclo


Education objectives

The main goal of the Doctorate Programme is to train researchers, lecturers and professionals in all legal fields. Its specific aims are:

a)      To allow an understanding of the law in all its branches

b)     To encourage a multidisciplinary approach to legal science

c)      To increment interdisciplinary theory and practice

d)     To promote a fruitful dialogue with the legal community, as well as an interaction with academic institutions from other countries

e)      To familiarise students with new technologies and research techniques

f)       To develop scientific interchange with view to the presentation of original research projects to be completed individually or as part of a team

g)      To encourage participation in collective research projects and favour connections with national and international academic institutions as a way to end the isolation of which legal research has traditionally suffered.


The following general theme was approved by the Scientific Council in the 2009/2010 academic year: ‘Emerging topics in XXIst Century Legal Orders’. Its role is to allow a polarisation of the doctoral programme into several current interest questions (both theoretical and practical) relevant to contemporary legal culture and practice. This is to be achieved through a tightening link between research conducted within the CEDIS (Centro de Investigação & Desenvolvimento sobre Direito e Sociedade, FDUNL) and work done by students in each cycle.



Doctoral candidates may choose a specialisation from the list provided in Despacho nº4109/97 (2nd series), published in Diário da República nº 162 (16-07-1997). The list is suitably comprehensive.

The candidate’s choice, including a thesis topic and the curricular path to be followed during the taught stage of the doctoral programme, is to be submitted to the Scientific Council. At the end of the Programme, provided all conditions have been fulfilled, the candidate will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Law in the approved specialty.

Those who successfully complete the taught stage of the doctoral programme are given a certificate.


Access conditions

a) Candidates who have completed a Master's degree or equivalent.

b) Candidates whose academic, scientific or professional record shows an ability equivalent to that of someone with a Master's degree.

c) Canditates whose academic, scientific or professional record shows the ability to pursue doctoral research.

d) Candidates who have completed a Bachelor's degree before the signing of the Bologna Declaration (1999), and provided evidence of the ability to pursue doctoral research.

Evaluation rules

The title ‘Doctor of Law’ is attributed to those who obtain 240 ECTS in the taught stage and in the research stage of the Programme, which corresponds to 142 ECTS.

The Programme consists of seminars and tutorials. A general topic is chosen by each instructor who will assist the students in finding a suitable individual research topic for their assignments. There will always be an effort to involve senior academics from other countries in the seminars in order to expose the students to the various possible approaches to each topic.

The students are required to submit a written report at the end of each term or, in the case of annual subjects, at the end of the academic year. They are also expected to make an oral presentation of their work before final submission. Seminars are not lectures and shall be based on a joint critical reading of provided materials. In order to expose students to the feedback of their peers and of more senior academics, they are encouraged to present their work-in-progress in the fortnightly SPEED (Seminário Permanente sobre o Estado e o Estudo do Direito).

Joint authorship of written work is encouraged in certain subjects. Such opportunities, which are seldom found in law faculties, are meant to acclimatise students to a more collaborative way of working which they are likely to encounter at the post-doctoral stage.

Individual guidance provided by instructors is a very important part of the Programme. It is found at every step of the student’s work, from choosing a research topic to delineating the scope of the research; from planning to developing the doctoral project. At the research stage (the final stage which culminates in the timely completion of the doctoral thesis), adequate supervision is crucial. It includes guidance on how to circumscribe a research topic, which academic institutions to visit in order to have access to relevant materials, and how to write a thesis. There is permanent assessment of the candidate’s ability to structure and execute a doctoral project with view to making an original contribution to legal science.


Third Cycle - Law
Code Name ECTS
DD101 Law in Society 10
DD102 European Law 20
DD103 International Law 20
DD104 Criminal Law 20
DD105 Private Law 20
DD106 Comparative Private Law 10
DD107 Law of Civil Procedure 20
DD108 Public Law 20
DD109 Comparative Public Law 10
DD110 Methodologies of legal Analysis 10
DD111 Jurisprudence 10
DD112 Methodology of Legal Research 8