Course Syllabus

The PhD in Design is organised according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, and fully complies with the Bologna system. The merging between the two (formerly independent) PhD Programs at U.Porto and U.Aveiro is currently pending approval by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Learning.

The course is structured in units to be undertaken over six semesters. The course units in the first two semesters are geared toward acquiring general knowledge and developing scientific competences and skills, allowing the student to perfect their Research Question and commence preparation of their Thesis.
The first year corresponds to a Doctoral course in Design and, as such, will grant the corresponding Doctoral Course Diploma. The second and third years are almost completely devoted to preparing and writing the thesis.

The first two semesters of the course contain required course units and two elective course units, these latter depending on the subject area the student wishes to develop, in agreement with their supervisor. The elective course units offer the opportunity for specialised learning; additionally, students can access a multidisciplinary wealth of curricular units and staff resources at both Universities. This is of particular use for students who need to complement their research skills in other areas of knowledge.
At the end of their first year of study, students are invited to formally submit a revised research proposal, to be evaluated by a jury panel comprising an external examiner, the student’s supervisor, and a representative of the course’s scientific committee. An minimum average grade of 14 will ensure that the student may be fully admitted to the PhD program.
The third to sixth semester course units are structured towards facilitating the students’ specific research.

The mandatory curricular units are as follows:
– Phenomenology of Design (mostly dedicated to mapping out current research both within the PhD program and ID+)
– Research Methodologies (an overview of paradigms; design specifics; brief experiments in ethnography and lab environments)
– Scientific Writing Workshop (paper submission to conferences; bibliographies; notation; academic rules)
– Design Seminars (I+II) (multi-disciplinary guest lecturers; Design professionals involved in R&D; surveying contexts in need of Design Research)
– Preparation of the Thesis Project (mentoring students in the formalisation and communicability of their project)
– Research Seminars in Design (I+II) (international guest lecturers; research symposia)
– Thesis writing.

A regular forum is maintained throughout the course, and a daily coexistence in a hub environment is encouraged, in order to facilitate knowledge exchange and reciprocal relevance stemming from ongoing research.