PhD in Law

The higher you get, the better we see


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 25 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.


Cristina Queiroz

Margarida Lima Rego

Luís Duarte d’Almeida

Panel of Scientific Advisers

Ángel R. Oquendo

Ángel R. Oquendo

Arno R. Lodder

Cláudia Lima Marques

Cláudia Lima Marques


George A. Bermann


Raquel Barradas de Freitas


Richard Hyland


Sacha Garben


Thom Brooks

Scientific Commission

President: Cristina Queiroz | Board Members: Margarida Lima Rego (taught component) | Luís Duarte d’Almeida (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 CycleDegreeA3ES DecisionNumber of YearsPublication of the A3ES decisionDGES registration numberRegulation/Study Plan





R/A -Ef 3194/2011/AL02, de 03/07/2021

Regulations for 3rd Cycles Studies

Regulations | Course Brochure |Code of Good Practices| Regulation for the Award of the Title of European PhD | FAQs


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.
Maria Beatriz Brito
NOVA School of Law PhD Student, Lawyer at CMVM, Researcher at CEDIS
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.
Miguel de Azevedo Moura
Assistant Professor, NOVA School of Law. Legal Consultant

Curricular Plan

1st Semester ECTS
Law & Society (Legal History/ Sociology/ Anthropology/ Legal Theory) 10
Methodologies of Legal Analysis (Legal Writing/ Law, Science, and Technology/ Law & Economics) 10
Criminal Law 10
International Law 10
European Law 10
Direito Público 10
Private Law 10
Law, Politics & Security 10
2nd Semester ECTS
Methodology of Legal Research 10
Scientific Publication 10
SPEED Presentation 10
3rd Semester ECTS
Discussion of the Thesis Project 25
Attendance of any NOVA Doctoral School courses 5
4th to  8th SemestersECTS
PhD Thesis150

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.

Tuition Fees

  • Total Tuition Fee – National and International Student: 9600.00€
  • Annual fee for the taught component – National and International Student: 3600.00€
  • Total Tuition Fee for Non-curricular phase: 2000.00€ (from the 3rd semester on)
  • Tuition Fee for Additional Non-Curricular semester – National and International Student: 1000.00€

Reading of this information does not exempt consultation of 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. Payment in instalments is allowed for 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.

Only the situation of not having completed the previous course by September, in the cases of admission conditioned on its completion, allows the refund of the amounts paid for the tuition fee. In these cases, the applicant must prove the situation by a declaration of the home institution until the end of September. Amounts other than tuition fees (fees, school insurance and administrative costs) are not refunded.

Payments must be made via ATM or through PayPal* using the references available in the reserved area. Failure to pay tuition fees within the time limits indicated results in an increase in the amount to be settled and/or the suspension of enrolment and registration, as well as the invalidity of all curricular acts practised in the academic year in which the non-compliance is not respected.

*Paypal payments are validated automatically; Multibanco payments will be validated up to 48 hours after the payment

Financial Discounts

Students who choose to pay tuition fees in a one-off initial payment at the time of registration receive a 5% discount on the amount to be paid.

Payment by instalments

Annual tuition fees for the taught component
The annual tuition fees for the taught component can be paid in 4 or 10 instalments

  • 4 instalments: 25% of the amount paid at the time of registration and the remaining between the 1st and 10th of the months of September, January, May.
  • 10 instalments: 1st instalment of 20% of the total amount paid at the time of registration and the remaining amount in 9 instalments paid between the 1st and the 10th of the months of September to May.

Tuition fees of the non-curricular phase
Tuition fees for the non-curricular phase can be paid in 4 instalments.

  • 4 instalments: 25% of the amount paid at the time of registration and the remaining between the 1st and the 10th of the months of November, January, May

Tuition fee for an additional non-curricular semester
Tuition fees for the non-curricular phase can be paid in 4 instalments.

  • 4 instalments: 25% of the amount paid at the time of registration and the remaining between the 1st and the 10th of the months of October, November, January for the 1st semester and March, April, May for the 2nd semester

Tuition fees for the non-curricular phase
Fees are paid in full at the time of registration.

Merit Awards

Merit Awards are awarded to:

  • Candidates whose final average admission to a 3rd cycle of studies at NOVA School of Law, according to assessment and ranking by the appropriate jury, is equal to or higher than 70 points (on a scale of 0/100) and who enrol and attend this study cycle at NOVA School of Law, benefit from an award in cash corresponding to 50% of the tuition fee for the taught component of the Doctorate.

In the non-taught phase of the Doctorate, in each academic year, three prizes for academic merit are awarded to students from NOVA School of Law. These awards presuppose the completion of the academic phase within the stipulated time.

  • The best student of the taught component who continues and attends the non-taught phase benefits from an award in cash corresponding to 100% of the tuition fee paid, corresponding to the non-taught phase of the PhD, if the average is equal to or greater than 18 points (on a scale of 0/20);
  • The second- best student of the taught component who continues and attends the non-taught phase, or to the two best students, if the 1st does not achieve an average of 18 or more, benefits from an award in cash corresponding to 60% of the tuition fee paid, corresponding to the non-taught phase of the Doctorate;
  • The third-best student of the taught component who continues and attends the non-taught phase benefits from an award in cash corresponding to 40% of the tuition fee, corresponding to the non-taught phase of the PhD.

Emoluments/Charges and Taxes Fees

  • Application fee: 51.00€
  • Administrative costs per registration/enrolment (each year): 35.00€
  • Institution insurance (each year): 3.00€



Length 8 Semesters

240 ECTS

Taught in English

Entries: 25 places

1st Phase of Applications:

  • Submission of applications: From 1 to 28 February 2022
  • Announcement of placements: 9 March 2022
  • Complaint about placements: From 9 to 16 March 2022
  • Enrolment: From 16 to 22 March 2022

2nd Phase of Applications:

  • Submission of applications: From 1 to 26 April 2022
  • Announcement of placements: 9 May 2022
  • Complaint about placements: From 9 to 16 May 2022
  • Enrolment: From 16 to 23 May 2022

3rd Phase of Applications:

  • Submission of applications: From the 14th to the 30th June 2022
  • Announcement of placements: 8th July 2022
  • Complaint about placements: From the 8th to the 14th July 2022
  • Enrolment: From the 15th to the 19th July 2022
Find out more

Admission Requirements

  • 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.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Academic curriculum vitae (45%);
  • 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%);
  • Minimum command of languages relevant to the intended areas of research (5%);
  • Only applications with a rating equal to or higher than 50 points, on a scale of 0/100, will be admitted.

Submission of Applications (Online):

  • 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.


Readmission is the act by which a student, after interruption of studies in an institution/course of higher education, enrols in the same institution and enrols in the same course or in a course which has replaced it.

SCHOOL YEAR 2022/2023


Students who can apply for readmission to any cycle of studies:

  • Those who have already been registered and enrolled at the NOVA School of Law, in the same course or in a course that has succeededit, without having completed it
  • Those who not have been enrolled in that course in the previous academic year to the one in which they intend to be readmitted to
  • Students whose registration has lapsed due to the prescription system in force may apply for readmission once two school semesters have elapsed since the date of the prescription

The Faculty reserves the right to refuse readmission to applications from students whose curricular record indicates serious difficulties in adapting to the study plan in force and to the type of teaching provided at the NOVA School of Law. Requests from students who are in debt to the Faculty for tuition fees or any other amounts will be rejected, subject to the provisions of Law Nº. 75/2019, of September 2.

Deadlines for submission of applications – School Year


1st semester

Submission of the application

From the 4th to 15th July 2022


From the 30th August to the 2nd September 2022

2nd semester

Submission of the application

From the 9th to 20th January 2023


From the 30th January to the 3rd February 2022

Instructions for submitting the application (online):

The application is submitted online through the website of NOVA School of Law by filling in a form and uploading the necessary documents, namely:

  • Online submission of a simple photocopy of the citizen card or passport (international applicants)
  • Payment of the application fee through the Multibanco/PayPal references that will appear during the application process 70.00€ (non-refundable)

The student must print proof of the online application, essential for any subsequent steps.

Fees and Emoluments




Administrative cost per enrolment/registration (annual)


School insurance


Registration certificate


Note: to these amounts must be added the annual fees applicable to the study cycle relevant to the academic year 2021/22 (see the relevant notice).

Tuition fees are fixed annually by the General Council of the NOVA University Lisbon.

The reading of this information does not exempt consultation of the relevant legislation and regulations, the public notice of fees, and the table of fees in force of the respective school year.

Applications that are not accompanied by all the documents or whose fee has not been paid will automatically be rejected.

Regulations Applicable:
Decree-Law Nº. 36/2014, of March 10th, altered by Decree-Law Nº. 62/2018, of August 6th, and Regulation Nº. 436/2020, of April 28th, of the NOVA School of Law.

Applications through the NOVA School of Law applications portal.