PhD in Human Rights in Contemporary Societies

General Objectives of the Course

The Doctoral Programme in Human Rights in Contemporary Societies has the following general objectives:
1. to provide students with a cutting-edge curriculum on human rights;
2. to develop an interdisciplinary academic excellence in the field of human rights;
3. to promote methodological perspectives that combine theoretical and practical understandings of human rights with critical, intercultural and transformative perspectives; and
4. to train students who would be able to contribute towards the promotion and protection of human rights in various societies.

Admission Requirements

Those who will be admitted to the Ph.D. Programme in Human Rights in Contemporary Societies (HRCS) are:
(5) Holders of a Master’s Degree or its legal equivalent in a field within the social sciences and humanities or other fields acknowledged to be relevant to the programme; or
(6) Holders of postgraduate diploma or an undergraduate degree in a relevant field who are certified to have the necessary academic competence and professional experience related to human rights; or
(7) Academics with demonstrated experience in research and teaching in areas closely related to human rights; and
(8) Individuals who are willing and able to undertake their studies in principle in a full-time curricular format in the English language.
In addition to her/his academic and/or professional credentials, an applicant to the Doctoral Programme will be required to submit:
1. a letter of interest laying out the reasons why he/she is an ideal candidate for the programme;
2. an abstract (the core issues with a rough outline) of the research he/she wants to undertake for his/her PhD thesis; and
3. two letters of recommendation from persons who supervised his/her academic and/or professional work.

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

Mode of Study

Full-time / Face-to-face / Daytime

Teaching / Evaluation language(s)


Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading

The evaluation of students is based on a range between 0 and 20. Each student will produce a short paper (up to 2500 words) per course unit based on theoretical and/or empirical research in a topic of his/her choice, previously agreed with the seminar leader, and which is relevant in the context of this particular seminar. The student will be encouraged to write the paper in a way that enables future integration in the PhD project and, later on, thesis. Based on the submitted paper, the student will make an oral presentation, which will enable discussion and feedback amongst peers and tutor. The evaluation will be three-­pronged, based on the oral presentation (40%), paper submission (40%) and regular attendance of sessions (20%).

Learning Objectives and Intended Skills

Students who have gone through the Ph.D. programme will:
1. have thorough knowledge of the history, theories, politics, institutions and practices of human rights, as well as economic, social and cultural inhibiting factors;
2. be equipped with theoretical, practical and methodological tools to evaluate human rights situations from various perspectives in different contexts;
3. understand and engage in public controversy which tackle human rights issues arising at the local, national, regional and global levels;
4. develop interdisciplinary research skills in the field of human rights in particular and the social sciences and humanities in general; and
5. have the capabilities to train other interested persons on how to make use of, defend and/or conduct research in human rights.

Course Coordinator(s)

Ana Cristina Alvarez Caiano da Silva Santos

Bruno Daniel Gomes Sena Martins

Recognition of Prior Learning

Prior professional experience will not be considered. Recognition will be granted to students who have attended required classes of a similar PhD programme, taking into account the specific contents of each curricular unit. A semester is the maximum limit of equivalences being granted.

Qualification Requirements and Regulations

Decree-Law no 74/2006, from March 24, amended by the decree no 107/2008, from June 25, and by the decree no 230/2009, from September 14; Ordinance no. 782/2009, from July 23.

Graduation Requirements

In order to get the degree, students will be expected to attend seminars face-to-face, engage in discussions in class, write and present a short essay for each seminar, do a short-term internship, write and defend an original thesis.

Study Programme

Human Rights in Contemporary Societies (HRCS)

Academic year

Course Type
3rd Cycle Studies

DGES Code: 5885

Qualification Awarded: Doutor

Duration: 4 Year(s)

ECTS Credits: 240.0

Annual Fee: 2000.0


Call for Applications


1st Semester
Start date: 16-09-2019
End date: 21-12-2019
2nd Semester
Start date: 10-02-2020
End date: 30-05-2020


Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior
2013-03-27 a 2019-03-26
Direcção Geral de Ensino Superior