Skip to main content

Your final semester is dedicated to your MSc Dissertation – your opportunity to demonstrate that, in addition to having acquired significant knowledge, you are also able to apply it to address a theoretical or applied problem.

Students are expected to develop their research with substantial contribution to the field of their program.



Students are expected to complete their dissertation in roughly four months (1st submission deadline), with the possibility of extending for around three months (2nd submission deadline).

You can only continue working on your dissertation after the 2nd submission deadline if you have permission from your advisor. You will have up to two years, counting from when you began your dissertation semester, to complete and submit your dissertation.

After these two years have ended, you will have to find a new topic and advisor.

During your dissertation semester, you are allowed to take up to two courses per trimester (or two semester-long courses).

Enroll for the Dissertation Semester and the Research Methodologies Workshop

Complete the Research Methodologies Workshop

Write your dissertation

Deliver your dissertation to Master Student Affairs

Defend your dissertation


Dissertation Supervision


Dissertation Seminars

Seminars are the recommended dissertation process for all MSc students.

A Dissertation Seminar is a small group of students that are developing dissertations in related topics, all supervised by one faculty member, who will be their advisor.

Dissertation Seminars are effective because they are specifically designed and structured to follow your entire dissertation process, and to ensure that you receive continuous feedback and support during the development of your final work.

Seminars usually last three to four months, and throughout this time you will have instructor-led sessions, group discussions and individual meetings. You will also have the chance to present parts of your work, allowing you to receive feedback from both your advisor and your colleagues.

Students are expected to attend all sessions in person.

The list of available seminars can be consulted here.


Independent Process

MSc students will only follow an independent process in exceptional circumstances*.

Students that choose to follow an independent process should:

  • Identify a topic or topics of interests.
  • Discuss with a professor that is willing to serve as your advisor on that topic, or is willing to propose an alternative topic.
  • Prepare a dissertation proposal, which must be signed by you and your advisor, and submit it to Master Student Affairs (deadlines here). A recommended template can be accessed here.

*Please be aware that students have often found it difficult to find a suitable faculty member that is both an expert in the area a student wants to work in and also has the time to supervise individual students. In most cases, faculty members are already fully committed in terms of their academic duties.


  • It is recommended that you work on your dissertation full-time for 3 to 4 months.
  • During this period you will be working with CDO to define your final placement.
  • Although some students need to take MSc courses during the dissertation semester in order to complete their study plan, you should try to minimize the courses taken and make sure it is no more than two courses per trimester (or two semester-long courses).
  • The internship should have an average weekly workload of 20-25 hours (with a maximum of 30 hours).
  • Please take into account that you need to dedicate at least 20 hours per week to your dissertation to complete it within a reasonable time frame.
  • We do not recommend that you do an internship during your dissertation semester.

Past experiences with internships that were really full-time jobs have created severe problems concerning the ability to successfully complete the MSc program.

Research Methodologies Workshop


The Research Methodologies Workshop is a mandatory component of your study plan that will prepare you for the research semester in which you are expected to produce quality research.
You should, ideally, attend this workshop at the beginning of your dissertation semester.
More information here.

Dissertation Defence


According to Portuguese law, students must publically defend their dissertation.

To defend your dissertation, you must have completed your study plan by the established deadline, and also settled your treasury situation (dates here).

You will defend your dissertation in front of a jury, who will award a final grade of 0 to 20 (passing grade: 10 or above).

More information here.