The third cycle of studies, leading to the doctorate degree, follows two models:
- The traditional "tutorial" model of research under the direct and individual orientation of one or sometimes two professors or researchers, in order to present and defend a thesis. Its duration is at least four semesters;
- The new model, introduced in 2003/04, in which research is preceded by a curricular part: the PhD program. These PhDs with a program have a normal duration between six and eight semesters and confer between 180-240 ECTS credits.
The Institute of Health Sciences was created at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in 2004 with the objective of integrating all existing programs in the field of Health Sciences into a single national project and promoting its development.