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Centro de Estudos Cooperativos e da Economia Social - FEUC

Post Graduation in Social Economy


The subject of this postgraduate course is the social economy in its various organizational aspects, with emphasis on those with a historically marked identity and social relevance, as is the case of cooperatives, mutual societies and social solidarity institutions. This does not mean to ignore other subjects of the social economy. The way to approach this training is to raise knowledge that allows a greater familiarity with the problems that the protagonists of these organizations live in their daily life, so that they can pilot them through the socio-economic conjunctures.

This course reflects on the social economy and its history, without neglecting a specific analysis of cooperatives, mutual societies and associations of social solidarity. The foundations of the management of social economy organizations will be examined. It analyses the legal frameworks of cooperativism, mutualism and of the institutions of social solidarity. It evaluates how the social economy organizations are inserted in the social change and its articulation with social innovation and its coevolution with the public policies. The importance of quality management in the life of social economy organizations is assessed. It analyses how social economy institutions reflect employment policies and highlights the role they play or can play in the social development processes in which they engage. Attention is given to issues of business ethics, which are projected in corporate social responsibility and, therefore, present in the identity of social economy organizations.

The Course is offered annually, since 2009, in the context of the Center of Cooperative and Social Economy Studies (CECES) that gathers academic staff of the different disciplinary areas at FEUC such as law, economics, sociology, business, accountancy, history and psychology.

Since it was created, in 1982, CECES has been providing research and lifelong learning training to the actors involved or interested in the social economy.

In the context of FEUC the Course fall under its offer of training not conferring academic degree potentiating the expert knowledge of the academic staff of Faculty and objectives of promotion of cooperation with national and international similar organisations and third sector organisations.

In 2015 this course was awarded the Prize Cooperation and Solidarity, in the category of ”Post-graduate studies”, awarded by CASES – Cooperativa António Sérgio para a Economia Social.


The course aims a greater familiarity with the issues that the protagonists of social economy organisations experience in their daily activities so that they are helped in steering these organisations through the socio-economic conjunctures.

Profile of the Programme

The post-graduation course in Social Economy – Cooperativism, mutualism and solidarity is composed by five mandatory curricular units. Three curricular units comprehend the set of the scientific areas of the course. The three curricular units 1) Legal And Political Framework Of The Social Economy; 2) Perspectives on managing social economy organisations; 3) Economy, Society and Local Development, are organised in different thematic modules.

The fourth curricular unit, Conferences and Narratives of Lived Experiences in The Social Economy comprehend the set of the conferences given by experts on issues of social economy or on related and contextualizing topics of the themes comprised by this Course and presentation of narratives of lived experiences by social economy protagonists. These conferences and presentation of lived experiences are organized in the ambit of the Course along the semester. The fifth curricular unit, Final Assessment, consists of a monograph to be elaborated by the students under supervision of one of the Course lecturers.


The final evaluation of the students' achievement will take into account their presence, interests and participation in the classes, as well as in the conferences, but will especially value the appreciation of a thematic monograph to be elaborated by each one of the students and publicly presented for defence before a jury constituted by professors of the Postgraduate Course.

The monograph aims to contribute to the development of competences of analysis of the reality of social economy organizations, from the perspectives of the themes dealt during the course, allowing an option between two possible strategies: 1) To deepen an issue addressed in one of the curricular units of the Course, from a point of view fundamentally conceptual and based on a bibliographic review; 2) To present and discuss a case of an organization that can serve as reference as to how it has dealt with a problem referred to in the curricular units of the Course, in the light of the concepts, models or theoretical references.

With the successful completion of the Course students will be awarded a Diploma of Post-Graduation “Social Economy – Cooperativism, Mutualism and Solidarity.

Duration and ECTS

The course has a duration of 88 in-class hours to be distributed along the second semester, on Fridays and Saturdays.

Besides, the students will have tutorial sessions with the supervisor of the Final Assessment and autonomous work.

The number of ECTS of this course is thirty (30 ECTS).

Curricular Units

Legal and political framework of the social economy

(4 ECTS/24h)

1. Introduction to the social economy – cooperatives, mutual organisations and solidarity, Rui Namorado

2. Legal and Constitutional framework of the social economy, João Pedroso

3. Cooperative and social economy law, Maria Elisabete Gomes Ramos

4. Brief history of the social economy, Álvaro Garrido

Perspectives on managing social economy organisations

(4 ECTS/24h)

1. Management basics of social economy organisations, Teresa Carla Oliveira

2. Firms and Society: from ethics to Social Responsibility, Filipe Almeida 

3. Quality management in social economy organisations, Patrícia Moura e Sá

4. The finantial report of non profit organisations, Ana Maria Rodrigues

Economy, society and local development

(4 ECTS/24h)

1. Social innovation and the third sector, Sílvia Ferreira

2. The local development as a development strategy, Bernardo Campos

3. The State, partnerships, networks and social economy, João Pedroso

4. The social economy and the job creation: an economic perspective, Margarida Antunes

5. Evaluation and measurement of performance and social impact, Mónica Lopes

6. Organizational cultures, leadership and social movements, Elísio Estanque

Conferences and narratives of lived experiences in the social economy

(3 ECTS/16h)

The topics of the Conferences and guest speakers fit coherently within the themes and experiences to analyze in this Course in terms of addressing the social economy or related and contextualizing topics. This cycle also includes lived experiences consisting in the testimony of organizational experiences of the variety of the field of the social economy including cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations, “misericordias” and other social solidarity institutions, cultural associations, sports and recreational associations, local development initiatives, entities the community and self-management sector and other entities that comply with the principles of the social economy, as mentioned in the Framework Law of the Social Economy.

Final Assessment (15 ECTS)

The post-graduation course in Social Economy – Cooperativism, mutualism and solidarity ends with the development of a Final Assessment. This is a monograph with typically follows one of the following strategies:

(a) in-depth analysis, from a conceptual point of view, of a topic addressed in of the course units;

(b) presentation of a case-study of an organization that can be regarded as a benchmark in the way it has been addressing an issue that is relevant to the social economy.

The work is supervised by an academic that teaches any unit of the course or regularly collaborates with it.

Competences to be developed by students

Specific competencies:

1) understanding the meaning of social economy/third sector and other concepts from the perspective of law, management and of economic, social and political approaches on organisations and their environment;

2) mobilization of these concepts and practical examples to identify, analyse, act and communicate about the variety of organisations and practices, internal and external relations, within and outside specific sectors;

3) relate critically the theoretical and practical debates with the training and professional experience backgrounds;

4) communicate with other actors of the social economy and its environment;

5) interpret economic, political and organizational transformations.

Generic competencies:

1) understanding, decision making and problem solving capacities;

2) collect, select and mobilize relevant information;

3) oral and written communication sills and argumentation;

4) critical reflexive capacity and practical application of knowledge.

Professional Goals

Through promoting the development of general and specific competences the Course contributes to the improvement of the employability of the actors involved direct or indirectly in the social economy in the branches of cooperativism, mutualism and solidarity. These may be board members or professionals of cooperatives, mutuals and associations as well as other social solidarity associations, activists of associations and other civic and solidarity activists, professionals of municipalities and of public services, professors, researchers and students.

The Course also contributes to promoting the interest in new areas of research and professional investment and to the development of skills for social entrepreneurship projects.

Holders of the Postgraduate in Social Economy have improved competencies for applying to a Master's or a PhD program.


The course is intended primarily for degree holders, but it will be possible to admit candidates who do not fulfil this requirement but have very relevant professional experience in any organization of the social economy; for this 20% of the vacancies will be assigned primarily to this type of candidates.

The admission of the candidates to the course is made upon an evaluation that will consider the academic curriculum, the professional curriculum and the motivation of the candidate.


Inside School of Economics Library, CECES have been developing a special bibliographical fund that is surely one of the richest bibliographical funds on cooperatives and social and solidary economy in Portugal and constitutes a valuable resource for students.


The CECES / FEUC is an interdisciplinary research center that aims at studying the social economy in its different branches - cooperative, mutual and solidarity. Its members are academics from different scientific backgrounds such as law, economics, sociology, management, accounting, psychology and history.

Following several free courses on Cooperatives and Social Economy organizations, CECES has been offering, since 2009, a Post Graduation on Social Economy with emphasis on the relationship between the analytical and the practical components of this field of study and practice.

Academic Staff


Rui Namorado

Cooperative Law; Cooperative Movement; Portuguese Cooperative Sector; Cooperative Doctrine; Social Economy


Ana Maria Rodrigues

Financial Accounting; Corporate Accounting; Nonprofit Sector Accounting 


Maria Elisabete Ramos

Commercial Law; Corporate Law; Civil Responsability of Administrators and Managers

Álvaro Garrido

Álvaro Garrido

Social and Economic History; Mutuals History


Teresa Carla Oliveira

Organizational Behaviour; Organizational Psychology; Management and People


Patrícia Moura e Sá

Services Quality; Models of Orgaizational Excellence and Evaluation; Quality in Public Administration; Quality and Innovation


Filipe Almeida

Ethics and Moral Philosophy; Corporate Social Responsability; Organizational Behaviour


Sílvia Ferreira

Third Sector and Social Economy; Lical Governance; Social Innovation; Social Policies


Bernardo Campos

Local Development; Regional Development; Regional Economy


João Pedroso

Justice Administration; Access to Justice; State/Third Sector Relations; Social Economy Law


Margarida Antunes

Employment Policies; Labour Market; EU Employment Policy