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Your final semester is dedicated to your MSc Dissertation – your opportunity to demonstrate that, in addition to having acquired significant knowledge, you are also able to apply it to address a theoretical or applied problem.

Students are expected to develop their research with substantial contribution to the field of their program.



Students are expected to complete their dissertation in roughly four months (1st submission deadline), with the possibility of extending for around three months (2nd submission deadline).

You can only continue working on your dissertation after the 2nd submission deadline if you have permission from your advisor. You will have up to two years, counting from when you began your dissertation semester, to complete and submit your dissertation.

After these two years have ended, you will have to find a new topic and advisor.

During your dissertation semester, you are allowed to take up to two courses per trimester (or two semester-long courses).

Enroll for the Dissertation Semester and the Research Methodologies Workshop

Complete the Research Methodologies Workshop

Write your dissertation

Deliver your dissertation to Master Student Affairs

Defend your dissertation


Dissertation Supervision


Dissertation Seminars

A dissertation seminar is the recommended process for students in the MSc in Management/Business/Finance programs.

A dissertation seminar creates a structured process to be followed in a group. More than 90% of the students that defended their dissertation in 2014/2015 followed a dissertation seminar.

Dissertation seminars are conducted by a professor (who becomes your dissertation advisor) and address a specific topic.

Seminars normally meet weekly or bi-weekly during your dissertation semester. During this period you will write your dissertation under the supervision of the professor in charge of the seminar.

The list of available seminars can be consulted here.

Students are expected to attend all sessions in person.


Independent Process

MSc in Management/Business/Finance students will only follow an independent process in exceptional circumstances*.

An independent process is recommended only for MSc Economics students, who work closely with an advisor on an independent project. MSc in Economics students with a Major in Finance may choose to follow a dissertation seminar OR follow an independent process.

For students that choose to follow an independent process you should:

  • Identify a topic or topics of interests.
  • Discuss with a professor that is willing to serve as your advisor on that topic, or is willing to propose an alternative topic.
  • Prepare a dissertation proposal, which must be signed by you and your advisor, and submit it to MSc Student Affairs (deadlines here).
    Professor Rita Vale has prepared a template that can be accessed here.

*Please be aware that MSc in Management/Business/Finance students have often found it difficult to find a suitable faculty member that is both an expert in the area a student wants to work in and also has the time to supervise individual students. In most cases, faculty members are already fully committed in terms of their academic duties.


  • It is recommended that you work on your dissertation full-time for 3 to 4 months.
  • During this period you will be working with CDO to define your final placement.
  • Although some students need to take MSc courses during the dissertation semester in order to complete their study plan, you should try to minimize the courses taken and make sure it is no more than two courses per trimester (or two semester-long courses).
  • The internship should have an average weekly workload of 20-25 hours (with a maximum of 30 hours).
  • Please take into account that you need to dedicate at least 20 hours per week to your dissertation to complete it within a reasonable time frame.
  • We do not recommend that you do an internship during your dissertation semester.

Past experiences with internships that were really full-time jobs have created severe problems concerning the ability to successfully complete the MSc Program.

Research Methodologies Workshop


The Research Methodologies Workshop is a mandatory component of your study plan that will prepare you for the research semester in which you are expected to produce quality research.
You should, ideally, attend this workshop at the beginning of your dissertation semester.
More information here.

Dissertation Defence


According to Portuguese law, students must publically defend their dissertation.

To defend your dissertation, you must have completed your study plan by the established deadline, and also settled your treasury situation (dates here).

You will defend your dissertation in front of a jury, who will award a final grade of 0 to 20 (passing grade: 10 or above).

More information here.