Studying Forensic Psychology in Portugal

If you are interested in studying forensic psychology, either as a graduate or post-graduate student, this resource will be perfect for you! This article was written by the EAPL-S representative for Portugal: Ana Rita Cruz. Ana is part of the Laboratory of Neuropsychopshysiology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal.

Leia a versão em português deste artigo aqui.

Background

Forensic Psychology in Portugal has a short history, starting in the early eighties with the establishment of the first Faculties of Psychology at the Universities of Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon. In fact, the first centre dedicated to forensic sciences and deviant behavior in Portugal, was created at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, in the eighties, and is still working on themes such as drugs, violence, sexual abuse, and criminal behaviours.

Nowadays most degrees in Psychology joined the Bologna process and, after a three-year curriculum of general psychology, there are some universities offering specialized studies in the field of Forensic Psychology. 

Forensic Psychology is developing in Portugal and growing in popularity. Psychologists with forensic training integrate prisons, police forces, courts, forensic medical clinics, victim support institutions, they run child custody evaluations, cooperate and coordinate drug related programs and child care institutions, just to give some examples.

Forensic Psychology Programs

In Portugal there are more than 40 Psychology courses in private and public universities. However, most programs or degrees are on general Psychology. To the best of my knowledge, in Portugal there are only a few master-level programs that directly focus on forensic Psychology. So it is important for the student to investigate the areas, accreditation, reputation, and academic quality of the university they plan to attend.

There are now some universities and institutes, either public or private, offering graduate degrees of quality in Forensic Psychology, such as the Universities of Porto, Lisbon, Coimbra or Minho. Although all programs have tuition fees, exchange students may be exempted from paying these fees at public universities, depending on agreements between the Portuguese institution and its counterpart abroad (source: http://www.studyineurope.eu/study-in-portugal/admission/tuition-fees).

Forensic psychology researchers in Portugal

Check out some of the people working in the field of Forensic Psychology in Portugal (in alphabetical order):

  • Cristina Soeiro (Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz). Research focus: forensic evaluation, criminal profiling, psychopathy
  • Fernando Barbosa (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences – University of Porto). Research focus: psychobiology of the criminal behavior, psychopathy
  • João Marques-Teixeira (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences – University of Porto). Research focus: schizophrenia, psychopathy
  • Rui Abrunhosa Gonçalves (Department of Psychology and Education – University of Minho). Research focus: psychopathy, forensic evaluation of offenders

How to apply to graduate programs in Portugal

General requirements: Master's studies and Doctoral studies (source)

If you are applying for a Master's program at Portuguese university , you are required to be in possession of a relevant Bachelor's or equivalent degree diploma. In the event that you are applying for doctoral studies, you are required to hold a relevant diploma or Master's degree program and you should search for the specific requirements of the Faculty to which you are applying. You will have to submit your application to the school of your choice.

Along with your application, you will also have to attach evidence of your previous studies, and the university will evaluate whether you qualify for the program you applied for. You may need to have your documents translated, if requested by the institution you are applying for. Please, note that applicants are usually ranked according to their grade point average from their previous studies. In Portugal, students' performance at higher education is evaluated by following a grade point scale with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 points.

Language requirements for studies at universities and colleges in Portugal

With the exception of very few doctoral programs, the classes at Portuguese universities are taught in Portuguese and you are required to prove a proper level of proficiency concerning this language. You may do so by presenting the grades at Portuguese, if you had this language as part of your study program or by presenting diplomas of Portuguese language courses.

In general, most institutions require a minimum of B1/B2 level of Portuguese according to the European language passport. If you still need or want to improve your level of Portuguese, you may want to take any of the Portuguese language courses organized by universities and colleges in Portugal for their own international students.

Visa Requirements (source)

Foreign students from within the EU are not required to have a visa for entry in Portugal. For longer periods of study, EU students may have to show proof of having sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Most non-EU nationalities need a visa if they plan to stay in Portugal for longer than 90 days. Students may receive more exact information from their nearest Portuguese embassy. Students need the following to apply for a student visa to study in Portugal:

a) Valid passport expiring no earlier than three months after returning home and with at least one blank visa page

b) Completed application form

c) One passport size photograph in colour

d) Copy of travel itinerary with acceptance letter or confirmed reservation

e) Valid ticket or other proof of departure arrangements

f) Proof of sufficient financial means to support themselves throughout the stay

g) Proof of health insurance coverage 

Other useful information

Associations

Journals

  • Journal of the Portuguese Society of Psychiatry and Psychology of Justice indexed to Latinindex since May 2013.
  • There are also a few scientific events on the field related to Psychology and the Law, but most of them are irregular conferences and training courses that are organized in different cities.

Final considerations about forensic psychology in Portugal

This field still has a long way to run in my country. However we are intending to do more for the area and that’s why Portugal can be so attractive for young researchers who want to study here. We have a few but highly motivated experts on Forensic Psychology, who work every day to improve this scientific domain and we are willing to learn more and more on the area.

Also, Portugal is a lovely country to live (even with the economic crisis that has stricken us these days). The weather is great, as well as the food, and people are very friendly and hospitable. So, why won’t you come and learn more about us?

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Ana Rita Cruz

 


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