International Relations: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics

Diário da República, 2nd series - N.196 - October 7, 2015. Announcement No. 234/2015

This Ph.D. stands out for its innovative character, framing the perspectives of Geopolitics and Geoeconomics in the scientific area of International Relations. It fosters new approaches to the complex international reality and reinforces interdisciplinarity through the intersection with other scientific areas, ranging from Security Studies to International Law, Economics, History or Area/Regional Studies. It incorporates crucial topics in current international processes such as climate change, energy transition, human rights, international criminal justice, resource management, cyberspace, migratory movements, crisis and conflict management, and the role of non-state actors. This matrix underlying the design of the degree makes it unique in Portugal and even rare in the European panorama.

The main objectives of the Ph.D. in International Relations: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics are:

The PhD in International Relations: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics aims to main goals:

  • To enable the understanding of state-of-the-art theories and scientific knowledge in the areas of International Relations, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics from an interdisciplinary perspective, allowing better and comprehensive interpretation of complex international processes
  • To enable students to develop epistemological and methodological skills that allow identifying different knowledge communities and giving them capacities to identify, plan and execute research plans that can contribute to scientific advancement;
  • To promote innovative scientific research and professional performance of diversified high-level functions.

The structure of the doctoral programme is based on three pillars:


  • Pedagogy that encourages self-learning, critical thinking, multidisciplinarity, problematization and scientific research, valuing the autonomy of doctoral students in their analyses, without intending to create a single “school of thought”, rather privileging intellectual openness and the heterogeneity of perspectives;
  • Four academic seminars in the first year: two of an epistemological and methodological nature and two with a more thematic contour, one on Geopolitics and International Security and another on Geoeconomics and Transnationalization of Economies;
  • Participation of other national and foreign scientific communities, and invited professors who are recognized specialists in specific topics;
  • Strict respect for and control of scientific work ethics.


  • Guidance for the practice of research and exposure to scientific research methods and techniques;
  • Integration of doctoral students in the OBSERVARE-Observatory of Foreign Relations research centre and their association with collective and transnational research strands and projects depending on their respective profiles and topics of the theses;
  • Involvement of doctoral students in the most varied initiatives and activities of OBSERVARE and the Department of International Relations, as well as the possibility of carrying out an internship at OBSERVARE and at institutional partners;
  • Various incentives to and support for scientific output, namely submission of papers to national/international conferences and scientific publications.


  • Connecting teaching-learning and research, this Ph.D. has four prestigious foreign universities sporting it - Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey, Sapienza di Roma in Italy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain and Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) in São Paulo, Brazil. These institutions are committed, through formal protocols, to providing professors for doctoral seminars, supervision of theses and participation in panels, as well as welcoming and supporting our doctoral students during the preparation of the thesis and/or field work. This degree, therefore, relies on the participation of other university communities and has an inter-university and transnational research programme.
  • The pillar of internationalization is reinforced by numerous Erasmus+ agreements, an extensive network of partnerships with institutions around the world and by six Chairs (World Geopolitics; International Economics; Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; IR Theories; Korea and East Asia; and Iberian-American Studies) offered by the Department of International Relations that benefit all study cycles.


    - Ricardo Sousa - Luísa Godinho - Luís Moita

    • To typify and characterize the sources of information in the scientific domain of IR;
    • Integrate IR epistemological issues in the general context of the scientific paradigms of the social sciences;
    • Address the most used contemporary methods in IR and highlight practical applications;
    • Inventory the different levels of microanalysis and macroanalysis in IR;
    • Survey the major epistemological, methodological and analytical divergences in the scientific domain of IR.

    - Ana Isabel Xavier - Filipe Vasconcelos Romao - Luís Tome - Carlos Gaspar - Patricia Galvão Teles

    • Understand and analyze the dimensions and dynamics of world geopolitics and international security in the light of the most recent approaches and developments, both at a global, local or regional level;
    • Cross several scientific sub-areas associated with IR – Geopolitics, Security Studies, Strategic Studies and Peace Studies -, establishing an interdisciplinary framework and a transnational network of analysis;
    • Deepen knowledge and debate concepts and theories, as well as their evolution and operation;
    • Reflect on the influences of geography and history on political perceptions and behavior;
    • Understand the power structure, security agendas and policies and strategies of the main actors;
    • To question the vectors of cooperation and conflict in international and regional politics (from the Euro-Atlantic area to the Asia-Pacific), as well as the interactions between the local, regional and global levels.

    - Sandra Ribeiro - Jose Amado Silva - Miguel Santos Neves

    • Deep knowledge of analytical methodologies linked to the growing relevance of geoeconomics in IR and its interaction with geopolitics;
    • Analyze the dynamics of globalization in its multiple dimensions, its interaction with the localization process associated with knowledge networks, and the impact on States in the face of the growing power of non-state actors.;
    • Understand the causes and effects of the redistribution of economic power, the determining factors in the rise of emerging economies and the mechanisms for projecting their power;
    • Capacities to assess the potential and limitations of States' responses to new challenges, namely in terms of regulation, regional economic integration, economic diplomacy and the reform of governance models;
    • Increased research capabilities from an interdisciplinary perspective and specific skills for critical analysis of public policy options and private sector strategies.

    - Brígida Brito - Nancy Gomes - Daniel Cardoso

    • Acquisition of in-depth knowledge about research methodologies;
    • Deepening of knowledge about the design techniques of a research project;
    • Acquisition of competences regarding the guidelines and general principles to be observed in the writing of the thesis;
    • Deepening of specific themes that constitute an object of investigation;
    • Acquisition of skills with regard to the ability to expose, argue and debate ideas;
    • Development of the ability to internalize criticisms and suggestions presented in debate sessions of thesis projects.

    * Possibility of staying for research in one of the foreign partner institutions

    * Possibility of staying for research in one of the foreign partner institutions

    * Possibility of staying for research in one of the foreign partner institutions

    * Possibility of staying for research in one of the foreign partner institutions