There are three main components to the PhD program in Computer Science and Engineering:
- completing coursework / teaching requirement
- setting up a ”thesis monitoring committee” and passing a thesis proposal evaluated by that committee
- passing a thesis defense.
- Students are expected to start conducting research from day one. The coursework is designed to allow students to dedicate most of their time to research while completing the required courses.
- It is recommended that students complete their coursework by the end of the first 12 months.
- Students are required by the regulations of Técnico (ULisboa) to pass their thesis proposal up to 24 months after entering the program.
- The time to complete the program varies depending on the pace of the research, with a typical duration of about 4 years.
Coursework and teaching requirement
The typical structure for the set of courses that students take for the completion of their course requirements is the following:
- Research topics course
- Interdisciplinary research course
- Advanced topics in X course (where X is one of the five main areas of the department), comprised of:
- Module 1 (chosen by the student)
- Module 2 (chosen by the student)
To complement this proposed set of courses, students can gain credit by demonstrating satisfactory performance as a Teaching Assistant (and this way get credit for the "Outreach and teaching skills" course).
As an alternative to this proposed structure, students may consult the Curricular Plan to determine other courses that may fulfil the required credits.
Thesis monitoring committee and thesis proposal
By the end of the second year in the PhD program, students must form a thesis monitoring committee, comprised of three faculty members (including the advisor) and pass their thesis proposal, which is evaluated by this committee. For this evaluation, students need to prepare a written document motivating and describing the research work and the contributions that are expected to lead to a PhD thesis. In addition, students must undergo an oral exam.
This thesis proposal appears earlier in the PhD than in many other programs. This way, it serves the dual purpose of (1) providing early feedback on the general direction of the PhD research, and (2) act as an exam that students must pass in order to continue their studies.
In the last phase of the PhD program, students will write a dissertation and conduct a public oral presentation and defense of their thesis work.