Joint PhD e-Planning Program Application FAQ
Thank you for your interest in our Joint PhD Program on e-Planning.
Here are a sample of frequently asked questions.
How can a person apply? Is a research proposal required? Is it the research proposal on any aspect of e-planning?
You can apply either through one of the host institutions (see http://www.e-planning.org), or through the Joint Science Commitee of the Program, for instance to the emails of Joint Science Committee members (in the same site). In either case you must indicate your preference for a Host Institution, and complete your application process for it.
Each Host Institution has an application form, and usually some small application fee is required.
Besides digital scans of the core documentation (degree certificates, personal ID / passport and fiscal ID, etc., which are listed in the application forms, the Joint Science Commitee of the Program requests that all candidates send a CV (with focus on academia), and a short statement of objectives, where you indicate also your research topic and goals. Your proposed research should relate to, and contribute to, the e-Planning research agenda. Such statements are usually between 2 to 5 pages max.
You can therefore begin the process by sending us those substantive 2 documents (CV and statement of objectives), while putting together the other admnistrative documentation.
I understand that the program is mostly in English?
It depends. If we accept a student that does not understand portuguese, classes are taught in english. In either case, most materials are in english.
So far, we admitted 12 foreign students (from Angola, Belgium, Brasil, France, Italy, Holland, Mocambique, Poland, UK). All except one, had a good grasp of portuguese. We do accept students that do not speak portuguese, as long as they have good english skills - spoken, read and write.
Regarding Portuguese, I am taking classes. Of course my level wouldn't be good enough to write papers or fully participate in the class , however I would have a good basis for the beginning.
While we welcome students that do not speak portuguese, we think it is a very good idea to take portuguese classes. if nothing else it will facilitate your smooth integration with the community and will make your stay more fullfilling. As for papers and class work, we already accept them in english, and in some cases it is actually required in english, if targeting publication in refereed journals / proceedings with international scope. But the ability to understand portuguese will be a plus, since some students understand english but are more at ease in expressing themselves in portuguese, in class dicussions.
Is there any scholarship for the programme students?
Yes, there are. Most of them, however, require proof of residence in Portugal for a certain duration (for EU citizens, those requirements are less demanding than for other foreign citizens). It is also possible to apply to a partial tuition grant, with some TA / RA requirements.
Other than that, there are several programs that you may be eligible to apply. Be advised that grants are very competitive and usually require a full research proposal and plan.
I have a background in social sciences, politics and media - not technological or ICT, but I could apply anyway?
Non-IT background is not a problem. We only require students to be willing and motivated to deal with IT at some level, both in theory and praxis. ICT does not need to be the central focus of the PhD research.
In our point of view it is an added value of this doctoral program to allow students with different backgrounds to improve their knowledge in other complementing scientific areas. Of course you need to do some effort on technologies as well as a student from tech sciences will need to do some effort on social sciences... but that is the essence of this program.
Is it still possible to apply for a January start (Spring term)?
We strongly prefer, and strongly advise, that students begin their studies in the first semester – Fall term.
That said it is possible to apply to this Program for a 2nd term start. However, be advised that there are a few issues to consider:
1) Each Host Institution (Insttute / University) in the Program has their own schedules for admitting PhD students. When you apply, your application must be accepted both by the Joint Science Commitee of the Program, and one specific Host Institution, chosen by the candidate, from within the 5 currently in the Program.
While the Joint Science Commitee of the Program accepts applications all year around (with a 3 month maximum period of review, usually much faster, from a few days to a couple of weeks), the Host Institutions will only admit applications in specific periods, defined independently by each one (check their sites).
2) One of the mandatory core courses on the 2d semester (Feb. to July), e-Planning Live Laboratory , has the pre-requisite of completion of another mandatory course, "e-Planning Core", 1 semester (Oct. - Jan.). It is also possible that some other optional courses may have some pre-requisits, although this is more an exception, rather than a rule.
This means that , while it is possible to admit students in January, we strongly suggest , if that will be your choice, that you request a meeting (preferably in person, but also viable to set for a skype session), so that we can advise you more in concrete, according to your specific conditions and plans.