Global Ph.D. Program


Program Description

Global Ph.D. Program

The new Ph.D. program sets out to create a real research community of scholars whose work is monitored and guided by the best international standards in the field.


Why a Global Ph.D. Program

A fully-funded Ph.D. program

Católica Global School of Law is accepting applications from qualified candidates for the Global Ph.D. Programme. Admitted candidates receive a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend calculated to cover their living expenses as doctoral students in Lisbon.

Following a public tender among doctoral programs across disciplines, the Programme was selected by an international panel of experts for comprehensive funding by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

Focused on the law in a global context and with English as the working language, the degree builds on the huge success of Católica's LL.M. programs. An extremely selective group of students will be recruited each year from among the world's brightest to join Católica Global School of Law as Ph.D. students. Doctoral candidates will gain direct access to the stellar faculty that teaches at Católica Global School of Law. They will benefit as well from an extensive set of exchange agreements and scientific protocols that Católica Global School of Law holds with high-profile law schools in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Ph.D. students are encouraged to spend at least a year abroad as visiting fellows at a partner institution and will be funded accordingly.

The Global Ph.D. Programme embodies a new model of doctoral studies in law within continental Europe. The Programme honors the tradition of regarding the doctoral thesis as a substantial and original contribution to legal scholarship evidencing the ability of the candidate to conduct independent high-quality research. Unlike the traditional model, however, which relies exclusively on the willingness and natural ability of the candidate to produce a dissertation in an atmosphere of solitary intellectual confinement, the Programme sets out to create a real research community of scholars whose work is monitored and guided by the best international standards in the field.

The aim of the program is to attract a select group of talented young scholars dedicated exclusively to their doctoral studies and to enable them to write rigorous, readable, original, reasonably sized dissertations in four years. The doctorate is regarded as an early instead of an advanced step in a scholar’s career. Accordingly, the Programme is committed to over time transform the Law School into a credible supplier of junior academics to the global law teaching market, in addition to serving other functions — e.g., as a supplier of highly qualified and sophisticated public servants, lawyers and legal consultants — which doctorates in law naturally lend themselves to.

Program Information

The Global Ph.D. Programme in Law is divided into two stages: the two-semester Ph.D. course corresponding to 60 ECTS and the six-semester dissertation preparation stage corresponding to 180 ECTS. The aim of the Ph.D. course is to prepare the candidate to produce a thesis proposal [30 ECTS]. Students are required to take three mandatory courses at this stage: a semester-long Methodology Seminar [10 ECTS], a semester-long Research Workshop [10 ECTS], and the year-long Scientific Debate Forum [10 ECTS].

The Methodology Seminar examines the nature of legal reasoning, the truth-conditions of legal argument, the history of legal thought and a variety of resources from other disciplines useful to the study of law. It is a ‘nuts and bolts’ course for researchers in the field.

The Research Workshop is designed to enable doctoral candidates to articulate and to implement a research proposal and to conduct forms of research relevant to the study of law in a global context, namely traditional library research, online research, and empirical research.

The Scientific Debate Forum is held every two weeks; it consists of a paper presentation by a guest academic followed by a discussion open to the entire research community at the Law School and the Research Centre. Attendance of the Forum is mandatory for doctoral candidates with the aim of exposing them to cutting-edge legal scholarship in different fields of law and embroiling them in the culture of academic debate.

The Ph.D. course culminates with the thesis proposal, which is a document of no more than 63,000 characters identifying the proposed subject of the dissertation, explaining the methodology (or methodologies) adopted, containing a brief literature review, and outlining the building blocks of the future thesis. The thesis proposal is assessed by a committee composed of the supervisor and two professors appointed by the Scientific Board of the Law School. Approval of the proposal moves the candidate into the second stage of the program — preparing a dissertation.

The curricular structure of the dissertation preparation stage is flexible, so as to suit the needs of each candidate. Each candidate and his/her supervisor, with the help of a Tutor, should decide what course of study is appropriate given the former’s goals and the subject of his/her thesis. In any case, the candidate is expected to report every year on the progress of his/her work and the supervisor should monitor closely and support the candidate throughout this stage.

Mentoring of the students

Mentorship is secured by a Tutor in the first stage of the program and by the former and the Supervisor once the candidate proceeds to the second stage. The Tutor is chosen among the CGSL faculty. The Tutor’s role is to support and monitor Ph.D. candidates. In the first stage of the program, the Tutor (i) meets each candidate to learn about his/her research agenda and to help him/her build a thesis proposal; (ii) directs him/her to faculty members who have published in the area; (iii) assists the candidate in selecting a pool of potential supervisors; (iv) suggests the attendance of courses, seminars, and conferences besides the formal curriculum that are likely to enrich the candidate’s knowledge and to lend greater focus to his/her research goals; (v) and answers the candidates’ queries and concerns about the curricular mechanics and the administrative structure of the program. In sum, the Tutor personifies the institutional support that the Law School grants each candidate from the very first day of the program.

Supervisors are expected to monitor closely the work of their supervisees. To that effect, during the dissertation preparation stage candidates are expected to meet with their supervisors on a monthly basis to assess the candidate’s progress, to discuss texts and to test arguments, to devise research strategies, and to examine draft chapters of the thesis. Supervisors are expected to take responsibility for the candidate’s work and the latter should regard their supervisors as primary interlocutors throughout the dissertation preparation stage.

International Collaboration

CGSL has exchange agreements and scientific protocols with high-profile law schools around the globe.

United States: Cornel Law School, Duke Law School, University of Iowa College of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, University of Houston Law Center, Washington University in St. Louis Law School.

Europe: University of Antwerp Faculty of Law, EBS Wiesbaden Law School, Fribourg University Law School, IE Law School, King’s College London – The Dickson Poon Law School, Leuven Faculty of Law – University of Maastricht, University of Oslo Faculty of Law, Tilburg Law School, School of Law – Utrecht University.

Brazil: Escola de Direito da Fundação Getúlio Vargas (São Paulo) e Escola de Direito da Fundação Getúlio Vargas (Rio de Janeiro).

As part of an ongoing strategy to afford doctoral students state-of-the-art resources for research, CGSL forged partnerships with the law schools at the University of Michigan and the University of Georgetown, in the United States, to facilitate the admission of our Ph.D. candidates as Visiting Researchers to those law schools. CGSL also holds a special arrangement with Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands that enables our doctoral candidates to attend Ph.D. seminars offered there.

Application Info

Only candidates who satisfy the following requirements will be considered for admission:

1.A basic law degree (LL.B., Licenciatura, J.D., or equivalent) or, exceptionally, in a neighboring discipline if the candidate’s purported research falls at the intersection of law and the discipline in question.

2.A master’s degree in law or, exceptionally, a pre-Bologna bachelor degree coupled with an outstanding academic record.

3.Proficiency in English certified by a TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test or 100 on the internet-based test, or an IELTS score of 7.0, obtained within two years prior to the application, or Cambridge’s Certificate of Proficiency in English with a minimum grade of A.

  • Completion of at least one substantial scholarly text, which may be a master’s thesis or a text of comparable scope.

Applications should be submitted to the Admissions Office and should include the following:

  • Official transcripts (in either English or Portuguese) issued by the higher education institution(s) that the candidate has attended.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • A personal statement of no more than 1000 words explaining the candidate’s motives to attend the program.
  • A preliminary research proposal of no more than 3000 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • A substantial piece of scholarly writing, which may be a master’s thesis or a similar text.
  • A completed application form.
  • A photocopied or digital version of the applicant’s identification document.
  • Three photos
  • Proof of payment of the application fee.
Last updated Jan 2021

About the School

Católica Global School of Law was established in 2009 at the Law School of the Catholic University of Portugal and has become the center of the Católica's growing focus on international legal educatio ... Read More

Católica Global School of Law was established in 2009 at the Law School of the Catholic University of Portugal and has become the center of the Católica's growing focus on international legal education. Since its founding, Católica Global School of Law has been successful in achieving a series of goals: it has attracted a remarkable group of scholars and classes of graduate students, both coming from prestigious law schools from all over the world; it has launched three states of the art programs (an LL.M. Law in a European and Global Context, an Advanced LL.M. in International Business Law and a Global Ph.D. in Law); and it is becoming an important center of graduate teaching and research in law from a global perspective in Lisbon. The quality of its programs has been consistently recognized by the Financial Times, which has selected Católica Global School of Law as one of the most innovative law schools in the world, with its LL.M. programs being included for the fourth consecutive year in this prestigious selection. Read less