Doctoral Programme in Democracy in the 21st Century

General Objectives of the Course

The Doctoral Programme promotes a critical and interdisciplinary theoretical-methodological approach to contemporary democratic systems, with a special focus on Europe, Latin America and Africa. Its aims are:
1. To provide a systematic understanding of Democracy and of the debates on multiculturalism, integration/inclusion and political and civic participation;
2. To promote advanced research, by encouraging the dialogue between perspectives of Political Science and Sociology, conducive to the production of original, high-quality results, worthy of national and international dissemination, and relevant to social and cultural progress within the social sciences;
3. To give doctoral candidates the opportunity of benefiting from the articulation of teaching-learning-research-action;
4. To ensure that every doctoral thesis analyses social-political phenomena from a critical and interdisciplinary point of view, privileging comparative perspectives.

Admission Requirements

As defined in Art. 64 of the Academic Regulation of the University of Coimbra and in the Act creating this doctoral programme:

a) holders of a bachelor's degree in Sociology or other Social and Human Sciences, with a particularly relevant academic or scientific curriculum recognized by FEUC's Scientific Council as providing the skills for attending the current study cycle.

b) holders of a master's degree or legal equivalent;

c) lecturers which have been approved in educational aptitude and scientific capacity tests;

d) holders of a school, scientific or professional curriculum recognized by FEUC's Scientific Council as providing the skills for attending the current study cycle.

The recognition mentioned in points a) and d) only allows access to a study cycle conducting to a doctoral degree, and does not entitle its holder any equivalence to a bachelor's or master's degree or an acknowledgement thereof.

Candidates should check the admission requirements available on this site, in addition to the information provided here.

Professional Goals

Doctoral graduates in Democracy in the 21st Century are qualified to take on multiple and diverse tasks/roles in public administration, companies, associations and non-governmental organizations, as well as teaching and research institutions, namely in areas related to democracy.

Mode of Study

Full-time, face-to-face and daytime

Teaching / Evaluation language(s)

Portuguese and English

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading

The regulations of the University of Coimbra on 3rd cycles apply, particularly the UC Pedagogical Regulation and the FEUC General Standards and Assessment.
It is mandatory to attend the curricular units of the first three semesters, except in special circumstances and only with the explicit authorization of the programme’s coordinators.

Learning Objectives and Intended Skills

Amongst the general skills to be acquired, the programme focuses in particular on: in-depth understanding of an area of specialization; methodological excellence in the design and implementation of research; capacity for critical analysis and evaluation of new complex theoretical proposals; conception of appropriate "case studies"; production of original and high quality results promoting social, political and cultural transformation; ability to construct and defend a consistent and innovative argument.
Specific skills:
- profound knowledge of the historicity of democratic theories and critical reflection of the main contemporary debates;
- identification and analysis of hegemonic models and innovative counter-hegemonic practices;
- critical examination of the relationships between models and contexts;
- analysis of public-private relations and subsidiarity in the management of public affairs;
capacidade de aplicação prática dos conhecimentos adquiridos através de intervenção institucional
- capacity to process, adapt and implement the acquired knowledge to democratic practices in the context of innovative institutional intervention.

Course Coordinator(s)

Ana Raquel Borges Barros de Matos

Marta Maria de Oliveira Pacheco de Araújo

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of prior learning is carried out in accordance with the Academic Regulation of the University of Coimbra.

Qualification Requirements and Regulations

DL 74/2006, of 24 March, as amended by the DL 107/2008, of 25 June, by the DL 230/2009, of 14 September, and by the DL 115/2013, of 7 August

Graduation Requirements

The doctoral programme lasts for 4 years (8 semesters) and includes a taught component in the first two years, in which approval in each unit of study is required. At the end of the first year, doctoral candidates will present a dissertation project which will be assessed by a jury, whose approval is required for writing the dissertation. The dissertation will be defended in a public examination.

Access to Further Studies

Doctoral graduates will be able to access post-doctoral programmes in social sciences, namely in the fields of Political Science and Sociology.

Study Programme

Doctoral Programme in Democracy in the 21st Century

Academic year

Course Type
3rd Cycle Studies

DGES Code: 5126

Qualification Awarded: Doutor

Duration: 4 Year(s)

ECTS Credits: 240.0

Annual Fee: 2000.0


Call for Applications


1st Semester
Start date: 12-09-2022
End date: 17-12-2022
2nd Semester
Start date: 06-02-2023
End date: 20-05-2023


Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior
2021-10-22 a 2023-10-21
Direcção Geral de Ensino Superior