The MAP Doctoral Program in Computer Science consists of a first curricular year starting in the fall and divided into two semesters. The first semester features four courses chosen in the areas foundations of computing, programming paradigms and information technologies and a seminar on research methodologies which includes working visits to MAP associated research centers and laboratories. In the second semester, the students are offered a number of optional courses taught by professors from MAP universities and leading scientists from abroad. The graduate students are expected to take some credits in matters not directly related to their field of study.
In the first year, the student must choose his topic of dissertation from a list of possible research projects. Based on this choice, the student must prepare his thesis proposal, during the second semester, which includes an extensive review of the state of the art, a set of detailed objectives and methods, outline of potential contributions and a road map to achieve them. The thesis proposal is discussed with a jury in the end of the first year.
Following this curricular year, which is worth 60 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), the graduate student enters the research and thesis development phase, which lasts for 2 to 3 years and corresponds to at least 120 credits.
Students may choose to follow the program as full-time students or, if they are working in a company or in a research project, may prefer to enroll as part-time students in 30 credits per year, paying 60% of the fees.
In terms of organization, the MAP universities agreed upon a general model, in which the curricular part is taught entirely in one of the institutions, rotating every year between Minho, Aveiro and Porto. Each student receives individual guidance by a mentor, until he gets a supervisor. After the first year, the student moves to the university and research group of the supervisor. Beyond the regular thesis supervision, the student's progress will be monitored by a PhD committee consisting of two other recognized experts in the field, one of which from an outside institution. Submission of the thesis and thesis defense follow standard international practice. A student will be awarded a doctorate, in the form of a joint PhD degree by the Universities of Minho, Aveiro and Porto, if his thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to knowledge in the chosen area.