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The MD/PhD program at the School of Medicine, University of Minho, started in 2006 as a pioneer program in Portugal and one of the few in Europe. Its goal is to allow medical students to develop a PhD program before starting their professional activity in healthcare institutions. This program is a unique and alternative opportunity for medical students to be formally involved in biomedical/clinical research in the beginning of their career. Inspired in the MD/PhD programs of renowned universities in the United States, MD/PhD students interrupt their medical undergraduate training in the end of the 5th year and start their PhD program. During three years they develop their PhD thesis. After that, students are reintegrated in the medical degree and finish the sixth and last year of the medical training.

In order to be accepted in the program, students should have successfully completed at least two summer laboratory rotations during the first four years of the medical course. These take place at Life and Health Sciences Research Institute and students can choose from more than 40 options annually. Laboratory rotations can also take place in other institutions, as long as the program's directive board approves it. These laboratory rotations are an excellent opportunity for medical students to have contact with scientific research and gain research skills from the beginning of the degree. These skills will certainly be useful even if students do not ingress in the MD/PhD or in a traditional PhD program.

Students can formally register as MD/PhD students by the end of the fifth year, after having completed more than two years of clinical training in hospitals. The selection process includes an interview with an international committee, during which students will discuss their CV and a proposal of a research project.

Former students recognize that this program is a unique opportunity in their future careers as doctors, and that delaying the formal clinical practice should not be seen as an obstacle.

The program corresponds to the 180 ECTS study plan of the PhD in Medicine.

This 180 ECTS study plan is part of the PhD in Medicine and was recognized as FCT PhD Program, which means that there are scholarships attributed to this program. The characteristics of the program determine that only medical students from the School of Medicine, University of Minho, may apply.

For more information please contact



Academic degree:
  • Doctorate
8 curricular semesters
Gualtar Campus, Braga
Main Scientific area:
  • Medicine


    School of Medicine
    Campus de Gualtar
    4710 - 057 Braga

    Tel: 253604832 Fax: 253604847


This program is intended to prepare doctors in health sciences and in medicine, ready to develop autonomously biomedical and clinical research, both in the academic environment or within health care institutions. The PhD program in Medicine offers two study plans: one of 180 ECTS that corresponds to the thesis project; and another of 240 ECTS that includes, in addition, a core curriculum (60 ECTS).
In 2013 FCT recognized the quality of the PhD in Medicine with the award of 5 annual grants to the MD / PhD program of the School of Health Sciences. Created in 2006, is a pioneer program in Portugal and one of the few in Europe and It represents a unique opportunity and alternative for ECS medical students to get formally involved in biomedical / clinical research even before their career as doctors.
This PhD program takes place in the School of Health Sciences and in its associated research institute, the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), a research unit evaluated as Excellent by the international evaluation committee. Please consult the corresponding webpage for details:

Access to higher education

The conclusion of this Doctoral degree allows the realization of research activity at post-doctoral level.






Access forms

Access to this cycle of studies requires an application to the Health Sciences School of the University of Minho.

STEP 1: contact the program secretariat ( to manifest their interest and to schedule an interview with the program director;

STEP 2: send the requested documents and information to the program secretariat;

STEP 3: the course comission will evaluate the application and appoint an interview with the candidate.Approval by this committee precedes submission for evaluation at the scientific council.

Formal requirements

Candidates must fulfill one of the following requirements:

a) Holders of a master degree or legally equivalent qualification in the field of Medicine;
b) Holders of a higher education degree in the field of Medicine and a relevant academic or scientific curriculum acknowledged by the Scientific Council of the School of Health Sciences, University of Minho as ensuring capability to undertake this cycle of studies;
c) Holders of an academic, scientific or professional curriculum acknowledged by the Scientific Council of the School of Health Sciences, University of Minho as ensuring capability to undertake this cycle of studies.

Application deadlines

Applications can be submitted any time throughout the year.

Registration deadlines

Registration for the 1st year 
- 30 days after admission
Renewals registration
- In September each year

Aditional Information

Study Plan

Regime Curricular Unit Scientific Area ECTS
Year 1 15
S1 Preparation and Presentation of Thesis Plan MED 15
Year 1 2 3 165
TA Thesis MED 165


A3ES Accreditation status:
Resolution publication date:
Registry number at Ministry:
R/A-Ef 2407/2011
Registry Date:
Accreditation validity: