Development Studies

Development Studies



The PhD in Development Studies (DS) aims to provide high quality training and produce original research on the processes of economic, socio-ecological and political transformation, including a focus on the urban-rural dimension of development.

The PhD program was created in 2009 at ISEG (Lisbon School of Economics and Mangement). In 2017 it was reconfigured as a partnership of four top Schools of Universidade de Lisboa: ISEG, ICS (Instituto de Ciências Sociais), IGOT (Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território) and ISA (Instituto Superior de Agronomia).

The new programme engages with the major challenges of development from a richer disciplinary perspective, including: theories of development and modernity, the policy and politics of development, sustainability transitions and a focus on urban-rural development. The programme places the idea of development in the 21st century against the backdrop of the Anthropocene (the age when humans reach the power to affect their planet), and thus of a series of crises and challenges that demand a fundamental questioning of the paradigm of endless growth, and the exploration of innovative paths for development. 

More info can be found on the Brochure or by getting in touch with the coordination by email at:
Olivia Bina 
Marco Allegra
Roberto Falanga


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.

Out-going 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.

This programme is lectured in English, but offers tutorials in both Portuguese and English.
The PhD thesis may be written in Portuguese or English.

The PhD Development Studies is a three-year programme in which students must obtain a total of 180 ECTS (credits). It comprises:

  • Courses (60 ECTS credits);
  • Preparation, submission and defence of thesis (120 ECTS).

Courses are taught in the first year of the programme over 2 semesters.




Curricular Units ECTS
Development Policy and Policies 7,5 ECTS
Research Essay 4,5 ECTS
Topics in Development Studies 3 ECTS
Elective Modules of Research Methods 6 ECTS
Research Seminar II 3 ECTS
Elective Unit 6 ECTS


2nd YEAR

Curricular Units ECTS
Research Work/Dissertation 60 ECTS


3rd YEAR

Curricular Units ECTS
Research Work/Dissertation 60 ECTS


A3ES Accreditation

Accreditation of Study Programme in Operation (2015)
Accreditation of Study Programme in Operation (2022)


The following are admitted as applicants:

  • Holders of a Master's degree in the fields of Economy, Management, Law, Sociology, Geography, Political Science, International Relations, History, Anthropology, or any other area considered relevant;
  • Holders of a Bachelor's degree with an average final grade of 16 values or higher (out of 20);
  • Holders of a Bachelor's degree with an average final grade lower than 16 values (out of 20) as long as they have a relevant academic and scientific curriculum.


Applications 2024/2025

1st Call: 13th November 2023 to 19th January 2024
2nd Call: 19th February 2023 to 12th April 2024

Applications through the IGOT FenixEdu platform:
To create a registration, please access
In case you already have a registration, you can recover the access at
In case you already have a student number at IGOT, you should use your Campus account credentials. You may recover your access to this account at

The application fee is € 60.

Applications must be submitted with the following documents:

  • Certificate of Qualifications (Master's or equivalent academic degree);
  • Academic, scientific and/or professional curriculum;
  • Supporting documents referenced in the Curriculum;
  • Letter of interest;
  • Research project;
  • Two letters of recommendation;
  • Proof of English skills at level B1 or higher (if you are not a native of an English-speaking country);
  • Other relevant documents.

B1 English (CEFR) or higher is required (if you are not a native of an English-speaking country).

The validation of the application implies the payment of the respective fee.


The selection made by the Scientific Committee of the PhD will be based on the following criteria:

  • Master's and respective final classification;
  • Bachelor’s degree and respective final classification;
  • Relevant academic and professional experience;
  • Research project.