The MAP Doctoral Program in Physics is organised within the Bologna agreement (3rd cycle) and corresponds to 180 units in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It comprises a first curricular year (starting in the autumn and divided in two semesters) featuring four mandatory courses (Advanced topics in physics I and II, Essay, and Entrepreneurship) totalling 42 ECTS, and a research component with an equivalent of 138 ECTS.
The first course (18 ECTS) is composed of 6 different modules, to be chosen by the graduate student from within a set of over 30 modules covering several branches of applied and theoretical physics, and lasts for one full semester. Beyond the mandatory courses, the student is offered a number of optional courses. All modules will be taught by lecturers from MAP universities and leading scientists from abroad.
Graduate students are encouraged to take some credits in topics not directly related to their field of study.
In the first year, the student must also choose the topic of their essay from a list of possible research projects. Within the context of the Essay (12 ECTS), the student is expected to prepare an extensive review of the state-of-the-art in the area of what will possibly be the theme of the doctoral thesis. The graduate student will be expected to give an oral presentation as part of their assessment in this module. All 1st year essays will be presented together at one of the MAP universities.
The course Advanced topics in physics II (6 ECTS) is meant for the student to participate in an advanced school or meeting within her/his field of expertise. This will be undertaken in agreement with the thesis advisor(s), and where the outcome of the work is expected to be presented by the student in an appropriate format.
The Entrepreneurship course (6 ECTS) is aimed at providing the students with the approach and skills involved in the transfer of knowledge and technology. The significant weight of this component is justified by the growing importance and demand of such skills to anyone holding a doctorate degree in physics, and by the need to demystify the role played by scientists and researchers in today’s society.
By the end of the first year, the students must prepare and present a thesis proposal, comprising a set of detailed objectives and methods, outline of potential contributions, and a roadmap in which to achieve them. This task has been assigned a total of 18 ECTS.
Upon completion of the first curricular year, the graduate student is already entitled to a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Physics, and may enter the research and thesis development phase where the original research work leading to the doctorate degree is expected to be developed. This will last for 4 full-time semesters and corresponds to the remaining 120 ECTS of the programme.
In terms of organisation, MAP universities have agreed upon a general model, in which the curricular part is taught entirely in one of the institutions, rotating each year between Minho, Aveiro and Porto. The first year of the programme will take place at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto. Each student will receive individual guidance from a director of studies, who will advise on a suitable thesis supervisor and possibly a co-supervisor.
Thesis submission and defence follow standard international practice. A student will be awarded a doctorate degree, in the form of a joint PhD degree by the Universities of Minho, Aveiro and Porto if the thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to the knowledge in the chosen area of study.
In addition, the student can simultaneously be awarded a doctorate/PhD degree by a foreign university, in the case of the thesis being co-tutored following an agreement between the MAP universities and the foreign institution.