NOVA School of Law’s 3rd Cycle Programme in Law is a four-year programme leading to a PhD degree in law. The Programme comprises a taught component (over three semesters) where advanced legal studies are carried out with an interdisciplinary focus. This period also provides training in research methodologies and other complementary skills. Towards the end of the taught component of the Programme, candidates must prepare and publicly defend their thesis project. During the remaining part of the Programme (comprising five further semesters), candidates must complete their research under the guidance of their supervisor, culminating in the preparation and defence of their doctoral thesis. The Programme is internationally oriented. Its main language of instruction is English.

In 2014, FCT, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (the national funding agency for science, research and technology) awarded the NOVA School of Law Third Cycle Programme the prestigious FCT PhD programme status. It is thus far the only public higher education institution to have been bestowed with this distinction in the field of legal studies. FCT’s generous funding of this Programme has allowed NOVA School of Law to award over 50 research grants to some of its most talented doctoral students. Year upon year, we attract a talented, multicultural cohort of candidates from all corners of the world. This funding also allows a good portion of our annual student intake to carry out their research full-time. This has proved to be an essential element in the creation of a vibrant and close-knit community of doctoral students, who are active in many of NOVA Law School’s research initiatives.

The Programme admits 20 doctoral candidates each academic year. Numbers are low and therefore admission into the Programme is highly competitive, as NOVA School of Law seeks to ensure that every doctoral candidate is afforded sufficient individualised attention and supervision.


The main goal of the Programme is to provide advanced training to promote state-of-the-art academic research. In the process, the programme prepares the next generation of highly-qualified legal professionals to enter the market ready to face the challenges of our time and to pursue a career in academia. As well as fostering knowledge creation across all legal disciplines, the programme encourages an interdisciplinary and international approach to legal studies. It familiarises candidates with new technologies and research techniques, promotes team-based research and collaboration in all fields of the law, and creates networking opportunities with other national and international academic institutions.



Study Cycle


A3ES Decision

Number of Years

Publication of the A3ES decision

DGES registration number

Publication in Diário da República





R/A-Ef 3194/2011

Regulation. 756/2019, of September 30, 2019


Course Brochure  Code of Good Practices | Regulations for 3rd-Cycle Studies leading to a PhD in Law  | FAQs

Curricular Plan

Mandatory OB
Optional OP

1st semester

Law and Society 10
Methodologies of Legal Analysis 10
Procedural Law 10
Criminal Law 10
International Law 10
European Law 10
Public Law 10
Private Law 10

2nd semester

Methodology of Legal Research 10
Scientific Publication 10
SPEED Presentation 10

3rd semester

Discussion of the Thesis Project 25
Attendance of any NOVA Doctoral School courses 5

NOVA University’s Doctoral School is available to our doctoral candidates. Aimed at the university’s PhD students and their supervisors, its purposes are:
• Contribute to the excellence of doctoral training at NOVA;
• Provide cross-disciplinary and complementary training to PhD candidates and their supervisors;
• Promote interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research;
• Share best practices in doctoral programmes;
• Foster cross-institutional cooperation at both national and international levels;
• Encourage research collaboration between students and professors at NOVA.

4th to 8th semesters

PhD Thesis 150


Mariana França Gouveia
Full Professor & Dean
Mariana França Gouveia
Margarida Lima Rego
Associate Professor and Vice Dean
Margarida Lima Rego
Cristina Queiroz
Full Professor
Cristina Queiroz


240 ECTS




20 places




Applications 2020/2021

1st phase

  • Submission of applications: February 1 to 26, 2021
    Placement results: March 30, 2021
    Submission of complaints over results: March 30 to April 5, 2021
    Enrolment: 06 to 12 April 2021



– Holders of a masters degree or legal equivalent;

– Holders of a specially relevant academic, scientific or professional curriculum recognized by the Scientific Board as denoting equivalent capabilities to those holding a masters degree.


Candidates shall be selected on the basis of their merit, having regard to the following parameters and respective weighting:

– Academic curriculum vitae (50%);

– Scientific curriculum vitae (publications, other scientific output indicators and proven research experience and proven research experience) (20%);

– Relevant professional curriculum vitae (15%);

– Motivation letter/ Work plan to be developed (15%).



– Completion of the application form (online);

– Payment of the application fee using the ATM or Paypal reference provided through the submission procedure (51.00€);

– Online submission of the following documents: curriculum vitae; motivation letter (maximum 300 words); copy of the course(s) certificate(s); copy of the citizen or other identification card; digital copies of scientific papers deemed relevant to the application; certificates of proficiency in English (if available);


Applications omitting the documents requested or where the application fee has not been paid will be dismissed.


Applications available through the NOVA School of Law applications portal.


  • Application fee ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 51.00€
  • Administrative costs per registration/enrolment (each year) …………………………………. 35.00€
  • School insurance (each year) ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3,00€
  • 1st and 2nd semester ……………………………………………………………………………. 1800.00€ (per semester)
  • From the 3rd semester ……………………………………………………………………….. 1000.00€ (per semester)



*Tuition fees are subject to approval of the General Council of NOVA University, Lisbon.


*Consult the full documentation regarding fees, emoluments and taxes for the academic year in question.


The application fee is to be paid by ATM or Paypal. The reference will be given online upon submission of the application form.


Tuition fees are annual and due in full upon enrolment in the course. The payment in instalments is allowed for the students’ mere convenience.


In the case of withdrawal from the course, the amounts already paid are not refundable. The remaining tuition fee payments due for the academic year to which the application relates must also be paid.



– Students whose final average admission to this PhD is equal to or higher than 18 points ​​(on a scale 0/20) benefit from a 50% discount on the total amount of the tuition fee.

– Students whose final average admission to this PhD is equal to or higher than 17 points ​​(on a scale 0/20) benefit from a 30% discount on the total amount of the tuition fee.


*Discount on the annual fee, within the degree’s stipulated time limit (two semesters on the taught component and six semesters on the research component).

* Discounts are not applied to international students. Discounts not applicable to fees financed by FCT (or equivalent).


Students or ex-students (undergraduate, graduate, master’s and doctoral) with a degree already completed at NOVA School of Law benefit from a 10% discount on the tuition fee, in addition to the financial discount.




– Students who choose to pay tuition fees in a single initial payment (for the entire study cycle) receive a 5% discount on the amount to be paid;

– Students who choose to pay tuition fees in two annual payments receive a 2.5% discount on the amount to be paid.



Discount of 25%, which cannot be combined with other discounts, for members of:

– Association of Portuguese Judges and the Trade Union

– Association of Public Prosecution Service Magistrates.


* Discount on the annual fee is only provided if the degree is completed within the stipulated time limit.

* Discounts are applied on the final payment of the tuition fee.




National and International Students


Annual fee for the taught component: 3,600.00 €




Amount €


Payment deadline payment




Upon registration/enrolment


2.nd payment




From 1 to 10 January 2020


3.rd payment




From 1 to 10 April 2020 payment




From 1 to 10 June 2021


Tuition fees are annual and are due in full upon enrollment in the course. 


Annual fee for the research component (from the 3rd semester): 2,000.00 €                            




Amount €


Payment deadline payment



Upon registration/enrolment

2.nd payment



From 1 to 10 January 2021

3.rd payment




From 1 to 10 April 2021


4.ª payment



From 1 to 10 June 2021



The course has a total duration of 8 semesters and the total cost of the course is 9,600.00€ subject to change according to the approval of the UNL General Council


Emoluments/Charges and Taxes


The charges presented in the table below are currently applicable. The publication of the national table of fees and charges of academic acts and services of public university education and polytechnic higher education is still awaited, and consequently charges may change at any time.





Amount €


Payment Deadline


Administrative costs per enrollment/registration



Upon registration/enrollment

School Insurance



Upon registration/enrollment

Registration Certificate



At time of the request


Payments must be made by ATM or PayPal using the references available at Netpa (student area). Failure to pay tuition fees within the indicated periods may incur an increased charge in the amount to be paid or the suspension of registration and enrolment, as well as the nullity of all acts performed in the academic year to which the non-compliance relates.



Our Law Schools 3rd Study Cycle was awarded the status of FCT PhD Programme by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT”).

We will have five PhD Scholarships designed for all students already admitted to and enroled in this Law Schools PhD Programme in any edition of NOVA School of Laws PhD Programme in Law, or students admitting to the 2020/2021 edition of our Programme.


CEDIS/FCT Scholarships notice  |  CEDIS/FCT Scholarships results notice



Maria Beatriz Brito

Maria Beatriz Brito

NOVA School of Law PhD Student, Lawyer at CMVM, Researcher at CEDIS

“The PhD Programme in Law at NOVA School of law has a very innovative, international and practical approach and gave me the opportunity to sharpen my academic thinking on a broad range of legal aspects. Furthermore, the programme has been highly complementary to my path as a Lawyer. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of the NOVA School of law community of doctoral students and I would not recommend any other programme.”

Miguel de Azevedo Moura

Miguel de Azevedo Moura

Assistant Professor, NOVA School of Law. Legal Consultant

NOVA School of Law’s PhD Program has exceeded all my expectations: the sharing of ideas with colleagues from different nationalities and with different interests, the possibility of becoming a member of a high-quality I&D Centre, the free access to almost unlimited resources, the feeling of permanent companionship by the Law Faculty and by its Professors are some of the main points that are worth highlighting.

Eleanor Lumsden

Eleanor Lumsden

Juris Doctor. Professor, Golden Gate University

“I am happy that I decided to enroll in the PhD program at NOVA. I believe that obtaining this degree will allow me to fulfill my professional goals, and I really enjoy living and working in Lisbon. My colleagues in the program are supportive and kind, as are the staff. I have made real friends here. Overall, I believe that I have joined a community that would like me to succeed and will do whatever they can to see that it happens.”