Sociology: Knowledge for Open and Inclusive Societies (OpenSoc)

Sociology: Knowledge for Open and Inclusive Societies (OpenSoc)

Sociology: Knowledge for Open and Inclusive Societies (OpenSoc) is an interuniversity doctoral programme that mobilizes the theoretical, methodological and empirical heritage built up during sociology’s history, as well as its far-reaching interdisciplinary connections, in order to devise new guidelines for research and intervention in the face of present societal challenges.

The programme’s vision is encapsulated in its motto: 

  • OPEN societies, able to deal with new and changing intersections of local, national and global; public, private, and intimate; biographies, meanings, and structures. 
  • INCLUSIVE  societies, able to use institutions, territories, groups and social networks to foster cohesion and equity in a changing, segmented and heterogeneous social fabric. 
  • KNOWLEDGE that empowers social actors to understand and manage diversity in a reflexive way, avoiding “easy” answers which lean towards closure, homogenization, and exclusion.

In OpenSoc, we bring our efforts together to provide an answer that is itself open and inclusive, to your quest for innovation and application of sociological knowledge. The interuniversity scope of our programme allows us to bring together a highly qualified and diverse set of teachers and researchers, with knowledge and experience across multiple social problematics and analytical dimensions, the plurality of theoretical paradigms, and the diversity of methodological approaches.

The OpenSoc programme emerged out of growing collaboration in sociological research for over a decade among our universities: the University of Lisbon, through the Institute of Social Sciences, the Institute of Social and Political Sciences, and the Lisbon School of Economics and Management; the NOVA University, through the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities; the University of Évora, through the Institute for Advanced Studies and Research; and the University of Algarve, through the Faculty of Economics.

The study plan is organized into four years (240 ECTS credits). We have defined a four-year horizon because we believe that conceiving and executing a project and writing down the thesis require that amount of time studying, reflecting and discussing to mature innovative and robust research at the boundaries of sociological knowledge, and indeed expanding them.

The first year is composed of seminars for advanced learning, updating and deepening of theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills, having as its backbone the development of the students’ doctoral research projects. The class burden is of 8 hours a week, after working hours (from 6 p.m.), so as to accommodate study and tutorial support with other activities. Weekly classes take place in one of the institutions located in Lisbon.

Besides the seminars, during the first year each student benefits of the support of an assigned tutor, a professor or researcher in one of the institutions collaborating in OpenSoc, and from the second year on of a thesis supervisor chosen from among the teaching and research staff of the associated institutions.

The first year’s course culminates with the discussion and assessment of the students’ projects in Research Seminar II, leading up to the registration of the thesis and to the awarding of a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Sociology.

The three remaining years are fully devoted to the implementation of the doctoral research project and the writing down of the thesis, followed and supported by the supervisor and by periodical discussions in the research seminars.

The thesis project is registered in the institution to which the supervisor belongs, but it goes on being discussed in joint research seminars. Upon successful completion, the four universities will jointly award the doctoral degree.

At ICS-ULisboa, each PhD student is integrated in one of the Research Groups of the Institute, the most suitable to the theme of your thesis project, and called to follow up and participate actively in the activities of the GI.





Curricular Units ECTS
Advanced Seminar in Sociology II 4 ECTS
Research Seminar II 10 ECTS
Contemporary Theoretical Debates 8 ECTS
Elective Units 8 ECTS


2nd YEAR

Curricular Units ECTS
Research Seminar III 5 ECTS
Thesis 55 ECTS


3rd YEAR

Curricular Units ECTS
Research Seminar IV 5 ECTS
Thesis 55 ECTS


4th YEAR

Curricular Units ECTS
Research Seminar V 5 ECTS
Thesis 55 ECTS


The program is open to students who have recently completed their courses of 2nd cycle or master; as well as to students already active in the labour market, who intend to return to the University to update their knowledge and to acquire new professional skills.

The OpenSoc works on an after-hours timetable.

You may apply to OpenSoc if you hold a Master’s degree in Sociology, or in another field of the Social Sciences and Humanities; or, should you not fulfil the previous condition, if you hold an academic, scientific and professional curriculum with enough quality to attest to your ability and skills to carry out a doctorate in Sociology.

The applications for the school year 2022/2023 are open until:

      1st round: January 11 to March 11

      2nd round: April 4 to July 1

      3rd round: July 25 to September 2

2021/2022 courses will begin in early October 2022, at Instituto de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade de Lisboa (Ajuda Campus)..

Submit your application here

Nationals of non-EU or associated countries are advised to take into account the delay in obtaining a student visa in time to attend the courses, and preferably to apply to the 1st or 2nd rounds.