Energy for Sustainability Initiative | 12 Years 2006-18

PhD degree on Sustainable Energy Systems (SES|EfS)

Applications | Applications Deadlines | Cooperation among three universities | Program's Operation | Organization and Program Structure | PhD Theses | Subscribe Updates


The Sustainable Energy Systems (SES/EfS) doctoral program at the University of Coimbra aims at developing its students' abilities to contribute to interdisciplinary interventions in areas such as the efficient use of energy, centralized or decentralized energy production, or the distribution of energy, always under a sustainable development perspective. Students that earn a PhD through this program have developed competences in the technological domains associated to these areas, as well as  the domains of economics and the environment;  they acquired capacities to analyze systems and their interrelations; they are able to develop research activities and tackle highly complex problems concerning the energy-environment binomial, addressing topics such as the evaluation of systems' sustainability, using life-cycle models, materials flow analysis, geographical information systems, market economics analyzes, or market regulation mechanisms.


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Ana Rita Amaral

Ana Amaral

Today I am attending the first year of the MITPP in Sustainable Energy Systems. Bringing its results and designation to community through external stakeholders such as great and concerned business corporations...miguel_oliva

Miguel Oliva

I entered the MITPP in 2012, I am currently taking the second year of the program, I am also part of the team working on the EMSURE project and I can say that all of my expectations have been exceeded...Carla Rodrigues

Carla Rodrigues

I felt very accomplished with the master and thought that could be a good idea to follow to a PhD. And here I am, working with environmental life cycle assessment of buildings...

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Research Mobility Programme

The EfS Initiative promotes the exchange of students of the PhD programme on Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) with foreign Universities. It also supports the presentation in scientific meetings of papers relating to research work of PhD theses in Sustainable Energy Systems accomplished by students.

In this context, two calls are open every year for applications of students of the PhD programme on SES at the University of Coimbra.

Coordinated Programme among three universities

The SES/EfS program at UC is offered in the context of a strong cooperation among the universities of Coimbra, Porto e Lisboa, following the cooperation initiated in the context of the MIT-Portugal Programme in which specialists from the various participating schools, intervene to cross complement competences among the three universities, both in regular courses and in theses supervision. The SES doctoral programme involves the following Portuguese schools:

  • Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL)
  • Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC)
  • Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra (FEUC)
  • Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP)
  • Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (ISEG)
  • Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (IST)

Program's Operation

  • Applications: The admission process is carried out on the online applications platform, where the English language can be chosen for the interactions.

The calendar for applications can be found here (in Portuguese). Essentially, there are four phases:

1 - from March, 1 to May, 30;
2 - from June, 1 to July, 13;
3 - from August, 24 to September, 5;
4 - October, from 15 to 31.

Energy, environment and Sustainability6
Industrial Ecology6
Energy Economics and Energy Markets6
Fundamentals of Operational Research6
Energy Management in Buildings6
Energy Management in Industry6
Research Methodology6
Indoor Air Quality 6
Energy and Transport6
Environment and Space Organization  6
Decision Analysis 6
Economy of the Environment6
Buildings and Environment6
Innovation and Entrepreneurship6
Energy Planning and Sustainable Development6
Policies for the Transformation of Energy Markets6
Air Conditioning Systems in Buildings6
Renewable Energy Systems6
Technology and Rehabilitation of Facades and Coverings6
Thesis project (1st & 2nd semesters)12
Elective course units*30
PhD Thesis (3rd semester to conclusion)180
  • Schedule: The most nuclear courses of the program have classes scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

  • Classes are taught in English given that non-Portuguese speaking students are regularly attending (*). Study materials are also available in English.

  • More Information

(*)  the Portuguese language is used only when there are no non-Portuguese speaking students in class

SES|EfS PhD Organization


The SES/EfS PhD program at UC offers two main scientific themes:

Buildings and Urban EnvironmentConfers competences for the analysis of systems on an urban scale:

  • the perspective of space organization, at the crossroads of criteria related to the sustainable use of natural resources, functionality, and fruition
  • the perspective of buildings as complex systems, addressing conception and operation in a context of efficiency, as well as human comfort and health.
  • life-cycle analysis of constructions and equipments
  • interaction between buildings and their environment
  • planning and decision support based on geographical information systems

Energy Systems and PolicyConfers competences on the following themes, among other: plenary_en

  • energy and environment economics
  • energy markets in their various types of organization and regulation
  • efficient use of energy and overcoming market barriers
  • organization of transportation systems for sustainability

PhD Program Structure and Courses

The SES/EfS PhD program is harmoniously integrated with the joint SES Doctoral Program of the MIT Portugal Program, concerted between the involved schools.

At the University of Coimbra, the SES/EfS program stipulates a first year of elective and compulsory courses, totaling 60 ECTS, plus a PhD dissertation corresponding to 180 ECTS.

The EfS program compulsory courses are the following:

* The courses “Energy Management in Buildings” and “Energy Management in Industry” are lectured in the same time slots. It is therefore not possible to attend both courses simultaneously.

Pittsburgh Convention

The SES/EfS Doctoral Program allows a flexible choice of courses, among those available each year, adapting to the background and dissertation interests of each student. The list of elective courses available at UC is presented in the following tables. This list should not be regarded as permanent; the Scientific and Management Coordination Committee can add new options in the future, to reflect the evolution of this area.