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The University´s Legal Status

UCP is an independent not-for-profit organization of public utility, created by the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See) under an international treaty, the Concordat between Portugal and the Vatican, and recognised by the Portuguese state in 1971. The university´s legal framework is established by Decree-Law 128/90 (17 April).

Governing Bodies

The university´s current statutes, issued in 1993, establish the following ruling bodies - High Chancellor, Rector, Board of Trustees, Rector´s Council, Financial Management Board.

The following are also senior bodies of the university: the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Portuguese Bishops´ Conference.

High Chancellor

The High Chancellor is, by definition, the Patriarch of Lisbon.
His specific duty is:

  • To foster academic activities and advances in knowledge of the Faith and to encourage Christian life in UCP;
  • Propose the Rector for appointment by the Congregation for Catholic Education;
  • Chair the Board of Trustees; appoint the Vice-Rectors, Heads of Regional Centres and heads of faculty;
  • Approve other appointments for senior posts;
  • Authorise contracts with academic staff and their dismissal;
  • Approve decisions on permanent staff, salaries and budgets, and approve the management accounts.


The Rector is responsible for the academic and administrative running of the university. He is appointed by the Congregation for Catholic Education, following a proposal from the High Chancellor and with the approval of the Board of Trustees and the Portuguese Bishops´ Conference. He shall represent the university in all official situations, including in court. He has a four-year renewable mandate.

The Rector is supported by one or more Vice-Rectors and by the following bodies:

  • The Rector´s Council
  • The Financial Management Council

The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees, chaired by the High Chancellor, governs institutional life and the management and administration of UCP. It meets regularly 5 times per annum. It comprises around 40 statutory members, elected and appointed members, including the following:


  • The Vice-Rectors
  • The Presidents of the Regional Centres
  • The heads of faculty
  • Bishops from the dioceses where the university has centres
  • A representative from the Portuguese Bishops´ Conference
  • Nine leading figures from Portugal´s cultural, social and economic world
  • A representative of the Alumni Associations.

Currently, the Chief Administrative and Financial Officer is also a member of the Board.


  • Approve the creation of new faculties or the closure of existing ones;
  • Approve the creation, closure or expansion of courses;
  • Express opinions on agreements that directly involve the university´s name or responsibility;
  • Establish the general directives for the management and administration of the university;
  • Establish fees;
  • Establish salary scales for staff;
  • Approve budgets and the management accounts.

Administration of the Regional Centres

Each Regional Centre has a president appointed by the High Chancellor, proposed by the Rector and considering the opinion of the diocesan bishop and the heads of the centre´s faculties.
The bodies are the Administrative Committee, supported by an Executive Secretariat and the Academic Council.

Management of the faculties, schools, institutes

Each of these is run by its Head or, the Management Council and the Academic Council.

Management of research units (study centres, institutes)

Each unit has a Director, appointed by the Rector. The Director can receive support from a council.


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