The study plan is organized into four years (240 ECTS credits). We have defined a four-year horizon because we believe that conceiving and executing a project and writing down the thesis require that amount of time studying, reflecting and discussing to mature innovative and robust research at the boundaries of sociological knowledge, and indeed expanding them.

Besides the seminars, during the first year each student benefits of the support of an assigned tutor, a professor or researcher in one of the institutions collaborating in OpenSoc, and from the second year on of a thesis supervisor chosen from among the teaching and research staff of the associated institutions.

Besides autonomous student’s work, the first year is composed of seminars for advanced learning, updating and deepening of theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills, having as its backbone the development of the students’ doctoral research projects. The class burden is of 8 hours a week, after working hours (from 6 p.m.), so as to accommodate study and tutorial support with other activities. Weekly classes take place in one of the institutions located in Lisbon.

The first year’s course culminates with the discussion and assessment of the students’ projects in Research Seminar II, leading up to the registration of the thesis and to the awarding of a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Sociology. The three remaining years are fully devoted to implementing the doctoral research project and writing down the thesis, followed and supported by the supervisor and by periodical discussions in the research seminars. The thesis project is registered in the institution to which the supervisor belongs, but it goes on being discussed in joint research seminars. Upon successful completion, the four universities will jointly award the doctoral degree.

Study plan Autumn semester Spring semester
First year Advanced Sociology Seminar I Advanced Sociology Seminar II
Research Seminar I Research Seminar II
Research Methodology Optional Seminar
Contemporary Theoretical Debates Optional Seminar
Development of doctoral research project, assisted by tutor
Second year Research Seminar III
Research, writing and discussion with supervisor
Third year Research Seminar IV
Research, writing and discussion with supervisor
Fourth year Research Seminar V
Research, writing and discussion with supervisor
Thesis submission and doctoral exam

A curriculum aimed at each student’s individual needs and project through collective learning

The seminars in Research Methodology and Contemporary Theoretical Debates aim to deepen and update the theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills required for the development of the individual thesis projects, while the two Advanced Seminars in Sociology provide contact with problems, methods and results of recent or ongoing research projects, presented by researchers from all associated institutions. The optional seminars offered each year in the spring semester take into account the assessment of the enrolled students’ interests and needs. The students may choose to take the credits of one of the optional seminars in any doctoral offers in the associated universities, in any area of studies in social sciences.

The two first-year Research Seminars are mainly taken up with the discussion of the students’ presentations of progress reports about their projects. The Research Seminars in the course of the remaining three years are entirely devoted to the periodical discussion of the students’ research progress and results.


The individual thesis projects are hosted by the lines of inquiry of the various research centres associated in OpenSoc, which cover a wide range of topics and problematics in sociological knowledge. All share the guiding vision of the doctoral programme, that of generating and diffusing knowledge for more open and inclusive societies.

Out of those lines of inquiry, we highlight: social attitudes and values; identities, cultures and globalization; life courses, inequalities, and mobilities; family and gender; childhood and youth; public policies and public action; environment, territories, cities, and sustainability; work and organizations; science and technology; health and ageing; school and education.


The title of Doctor Europaeus is a complement to the doctoral degree that can be awarded by any of the universities in the OpenSoc consortium, at the request of the student who is achieving his or her thesis there. The requirement is that universities in at least two European countries other than Portugal have collaborated in the student’s training and research, as well as in the final thesis assessment.

The joint partnership networks of all the institutions associated in OpenSoc afford an ample array of possibilities for implementing the required international collaborations.