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 (School of Economics and Mangement). In 2017 it was reconfigured as a partnership of four top Schools of Universidade de Lisboa: ISEG, ICS (Institute of Social Sciences), IGOT (Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning) and ISA (School of Agriculture).

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 ou getting in touch with the coordination at:
Olivia Bina 
Simone Tulumello
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.

Programme Structure

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. They are:

Theories of Modernity and Development (9.0 ECTS credits)
Development in Transition (12.0 ECTS credits)
Research Methods in Development Studies (6.0 ECTS credits)
Research Seminar I (3.0 ECTS credits

Development Policy and Politics (7.5 ECTS credits)
Research Essay (4.5 ECTS credits)
Topics in Development Studies (3.0 ECTS credits)
Elective Modules of Research Methods (6.0 ECTS credits)
Research Seminar II (3.0 ECTS credits)
Elective Unit (6.0 ECTS credits)

The classes are taught at ICS-ULisboa (coordinating university) and at the other Schools (ISEG, IGOT and ISA) according to a schedule to be announced.


Masters in Economics, Management, Law, Sociology, Geography, Political Science, International Relations, History, Anthropology, or any other area considered relevant.

Students with an average of 16 or more (out of 20) or, exceptionally, with an average of less than 16, but relevant academic or professional experience.

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.


Applications (1st phase)
December 13th 2021 – February 18th 2022

Applications (2nd phase)
March 21st 2022 – May 20th 2022



Application process (online)
Use the link.

Candidates must formalize their application 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.

Candidates will be evaluated and graded by the Scientific Committee of the course according to their academic, scientific and technical curriculum, the adequacy of their academic training to the requirements of the doctoral program, their letter of intent and motivation and any interview.