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.


Anyone holding a Masters 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 PhD's Scientific Committee 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.


2021/2022 Application Dates

1st Call: 14th December 2020 to the 11th February 2021 (Closed)
2nd Call: 12th March to the 13th May 2021
3rd Call: 22nd of June to the 10th July 2021 (Not opened)



Documentation required at the time of application

  • Identification document;
  • Photography
  • Master's degree or equivalent academic degree certificate;
  • School, scientific and / or professional curriculum;
  • Supporting documents mentioned in the curriculum;
  • Letter of interest;
  • Research project;
  • Recommendation letters (2);
  • Proof of English level B1 or higher (if you are not a native speaker);
  • Other relevant documents.