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.


Scientific Commission

President: Mariana França Gouveia | Board Members: Cristina Queiroz (taught component) | Margarida Lima Rego (non-taught component)


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



Course Brochure  Code of Good Practices | Regulations for 3rd-Cycle Studies leading to a PhD in LawRegulation for the Award of the Title of European PhD  | FAQs

Curricular Plan

Mandatory OB
Optional OP

1st semester

Law & Society (Legal History/ Sociology/ Anthropology/ Legal Theory) 10
Methodologies of Legal Analysis (Research Methodology Strategies/ Law, Science, and Technology/ Law & Economics) 10
SPEED Presentation 10
Procedural Law (International Arbitration) 10
Criminal Law (The Europeanisation of Criminal Justice) 10
International Law (Cooperation/ Interdependence/ Globalization/ Human Rights) 10
European Law (EU Constitutionalism) 10
Public Law (Constitutional Government/ Democracy/ Freedom and Security in a Globalized World) 10
Private Law (Law and Business/ Vienna Convention) 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




25 places



1st Phase: 

Submission of applications: from 1 to 26 February

Announcement of application results: 30 March

Submission of appeal against results:  from 30 March to 05 April

Enrolment: from 06 to 12 April


2nd Phase*:

Submission of applications: from 19 April to 14 May

Announcement of application results: 31 May

Submission of appeal against results:  from 30 May to 04 June

Enrolment: from 07 to 11 June

*1st phase remaining places, if any



  • Holders of a master’s 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 master’s degree.
  • Minimum knowledge of the English language equivalent to level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.




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);
  • During the application, candidates must submit a request for accreditation of academic qualifications and professional experience obtained before entering the study cycle. For this purpose, the applicant must complete the appropriate form and attach all relevant documentation. When the request for accreditation occurs at the time of the application, the accreditation is not a sufficient condition to be accepted into the study cycle and only can be granted after the admission into the study cycle, in the same study cycle only. All documents must be presented in Portuguese, English, French or Spanish, and endorsed by the competent authority of the State where the document originates.

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


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: 1,800.00€ (per semester)
  • From the 3rd semester: 1,000.00€ (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.

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.

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



– 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, which cannot be combined with other discounts.

– 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, which cannot be combined with other discounts.



Students or ex-students (undergraduate, graduate, master’s and doctoral) with a degree already completed at FDUNL 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;



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

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

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



National and International Students


Annual fee for the taught component: 3,600.00 €

Instalments Amount € Payment deadline
1st payment 950,00 € From 6 to 12 April 2021
2nd payment 294,80 € From 1 to 10 July 2021
3rd payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 September 2021
4th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 October 2021
5th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 November 2021
6th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 January 2021
7th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 February 2021
8th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 March 2021
9th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 April 2021
10th payment 294,40 € From 1 to 10 May 2021


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

Students may also choose to pay the annual tuition fee in 4 installments, in which case they should select this option during registration.


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


Instalments Amount € Payment deadline
1st payment 500.00€ From 1 to 10 September 2021
2nd payment 500.00€ From 1 to 10 October 2021
3rd payment 500.00€ From 1 to 10 November 2021
4th payment 500.00€ From 1 to 10 January 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.


Designation Amount € Payment Deadline
Administrative costs per enrolment/registration 35.00€ Upon registration/enrolment
Institution Insurance 3.00€ Upon registration/enrolment
Registration Certificate 6.00€ At the time of request
Conclusion Certificate 50.00€ At the time of request
Improvement grade exam 15.00€ At the time of request


Payments must be made by ATM or PayPal using the references available in the Restricted Area. Failure to make tuition fee payments 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 annulment of all acts performed in the academic year to which the non-compliance relates.



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.”