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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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Carla Caldeira

Carla Caldeira 

My experience in the Efs initiative was very enriching not only because I learned a lot about interesting issues but also I had the opportunity to spend some time in other research centers such the Material Systems Laboratory at MIT which was an amazing experience...VanessaT

Vanessa Tavares

Foi o carácter transdisciplinar da iniciativa EfS que me fez escolher a UC para aprofundar os meus conhecimentos pois penso que esta iniciativa...danyelaS

Danyela Samaniego

The EfS, as an interdisciplinary initiative, allowed me to work with bright researchers and professors with diverse backgrounds which turns out to be an inspiring experience...

View more | Acknowledgement and Awards

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

  • 1st Phase: From February 10th to March 31st
  • 2nd Phase: From April 1st to July 15th
  • 3rd Phase: From August 17th to 31st 
  • Extra Phase: From October 15th to 30th

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.