International Relations: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics

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

This 3rd cycle course 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 by crossing also with other scientific areas, from Security Studies to International Law, Economics, History or Area/Regional Studies. AND incorporates themes crosses in current international processes such as climate change, energy transition, human rights and humanitarian law, international criminal justice, resource management, cyberspace, migratory movements, crisis and conflict management or the role of non-state actors. This matrix underlying the conception of the doctorate makes it unique in Portugal and even rare on the European scene.

The course is therefore a space for deepening key debates, problematization, reflection and theoretical innovation, aimed at advanced research; permanently crossing (geo)political, security and (geo)economic themes in the IR area; and bringing theorization/conceptualization closer to the complex reality of international behaviors, dynamics and interactions.

THE program doctoral program is based on three pillars:


  • A pedagogy that encourages self-learning, critical spirit, multi- and interdisciplinarity, problematization and scientific investigation, valuing the autonomy of doctoral students in their analyzes without intending to create a single “school of thought”, rather privileging intellectual openness and heterogeneity of perspectives;
  • Four academic seminars in the first year: two of an epistemological and methodological nature and two others with a more thematic profile, one on Geopolitics and International Security and the other on Geoeconomics and Transnationalization of Economies;
  • Excellent and highly qualified teaching staff (16 full-time professors at UAL), in addition to the participation of teachers from scientific communities, partnerships through formal cooperation protocols specific to this doctorate, national (IPRI-Nova and CEI-Iscte/IUL) and foreign (METU of Ankara-Turkey, PUC São Paulo-Brazil, Complutense University of Madrid-Spain and La Sapienza Università di Roma -Italy), as well as other guest teachers recognized experts on specific topics;
  • Strict respect for scientific work ethics and scientific quality control of work, projects and theses.



  • Targeting for the exercise of research and exposure to scientific research methods, techniques and practices, framing and supporting doctoral students as “young researchers”;
  • Integration of doctoral students into the OBSERVARE-Foreign Relations Observatory from UAL and association of its works and theses with the three Lines of Research at OBSERVARE – Security, Peace and War Studies; Economic Spaces and Resource Management; and Peoples and States-Constructions and Interactions -, as well as possibility of participating in collective and transnational research projects and still possibility of doing an internship at OBSERVARE;
  • Welcoming and support for doctoral students by partner research units formally associated with this 3rd cycle course, namely the Portuguese Institute of International Relations at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (IPRI-Nova) it's the ISCTE-IUL Center for International Studies (CEI), to which is added a extensive network of other institutional partners from OBSERVARE and the UAL International Relations Department, national and foreign;
  • Encouragement and various support for initiation and scientific production, since the publication of works in editions of OBSERVARE-UAL (Janus Yearbook, cientific magazine JANUS.NET, e-journal of international relations and collection of books/e-books) to the submission of papers and scientific articles or participation in national/international conferences.



  • Interconnecting teaching-learning and research, this doctorate has directly associated four prestigious foreign universities – Middle East Technical University (METU) of Ankara-Turkey, La Sapienza Università di Roma-Italy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Spain and Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of São Paulo-Brazil – committed, through formal protocols, to providing teachers for doctoral seminars, thesis supervision and participation in juries, as well as to welcoming and supporting our doctoral students during the preparation of the thesis and/or “field work”. This doctorate therefore counts on the participation of other university communities and articulation with an interuniversity and transnational research program.
  • The pillar of internationalization is reinforced by numerous Erasmus and Erasmus+ agreements, through the extensive and diverse network of partnerships with institutions around the world (from the European Agency for Police Training-CEPOL to the Research Institute for the Indo-Pacific Affairs in Japan or the Organization of Ibero-American States) and also through the Chairs program existing in the Department of International Relations (World Geopolitics; International Economy; Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; IR Theories; Ibero-American Studies) that serve and are transversal to all study cycles.


    - Luísa Godinho - Ana Isabel Xavier - Daniel Cardoso - Sonia Senica

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

    - Carlos Gaspar - Luis Bernardino - Luís Tome - Patricia Galvão Teles

    • Understand and analyze the dimensions and dynamics of global geopolitics and international security in light of the most recent approaches and developments;
    • Cross several scientific subareas associated with IR – Geopolitics, Security Studies, Strategic Studies, International Law and Area/Regional Studies –, establishing an interdisciplinary framework of analysis;
    • Deepen knowledge and debate key concepts and theories, as well as their evolution and operability;
    • Understand the power structure, agendas and policies and strategies of the main actors (state and non-state) and their interactions, and identify characteristics and trends in global geopolitics, the international security system and regional and inter-regional complexes;
    • Discuss the vectors of cooperation and conflict in international politics and in different regional spaces, as well as the interconnections between local, regional and global levels.

    - Sandra Ribeiro - Fernando Jorge Cardoso - Henrique Morais - José Félix Ribeiro

    • Gain in-depth knowledge of analytical methodologies linked to the growing relevance of geoeconomics in IR and its interaction with geopolitics, with emphasis on resource management, critical matters, economic and commercial (inter)dependencies and the use of economic power for political purposes;
    • Analyze the dynamics of globalization and transnationalization of economies in their multiple dimensions, their respective interactions with the processes of regionalization and localization associated with knowledge networks, and the importance 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;
    • Assess the potential and limitations of the responses of States and international organizations to new challenges, particularly in terms of regulation, regional economic integration, economic diplomacy and the reform of governance models;
    • Develop increased research capabilities from an interdisciplinary perspective and specific skills for critical analysis of public policy options and private sector strategies.

    - Brígida Brito - Filipe Vasconcelos Romao - Mateus Kowalski - Nancy Gomes

    • Deepen knowledge about research and scientific work methodologies and standards for preparing projects and theses;
    • Develop skills, training practices, regarding techniques for designing a research project, from identifying the problem and the starting question to defining objectives, delimiting the object of study, appropriate methodological choice, state of the art/literature review and organization of a coherent structure;
    • Consolidate the understanding of principles and rules regarding the ethics of scientific work;
    • Improve written and oral presentation skills, argumentation and debate of ideas;
    • Design pre-thesis projects with group discussion and suggestions.

    * 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