PhDCS has two study plans, one with three years (180 ECTS) and another with four years (240 ECTS). Both study plans include a common curricular unit, which corresponds to the design of the thesis (15 ECTS) that takes place during the first year. In the 180 ECTS study plan, the remaining 165 ECTS are totally devoted to developing the thesis. In the 240 ECTS study plan, the remaining 225 ECTS are dedicated to optional curricular units (45 ECTS) that may be selected from a wide range of choices, and to the thesis (180 ECTS) – which should be developed during the four years of the study plan.

The program is very flexible, to allow students to shape their training in accordance with previous background and competences, research interests and aims. As such, students can yearly choose among a vast offer of advanced courses that take place at the School of Medicine/ICVS UMinho (available here). Students can also be credited for courses taken elsewhere. Of relevance, the program is also shaped to train students in transferable skills (such preparation for interview, writing of CV and motivation letter, communication, ethics and integrity). Those topics are embedded in various curricular units (e.g. "Research Methodologies", "Laboratory Animal Sciences") and mandatory sessions are offered within the curricular unit "Preparation and presentation of thesis plan".

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