Ph.D. in Software Engineering

Today’s software-based systems are an essential part of businesses and everyday living in the emerging global economy. As software becomes ubiquitous, the relationship between end users and software development undergoes fundamental changes. 

No longer is software produced from scratch by a team of experts and delivered to clients. Increasingly software is developed by adapting existing components and services; more and more the delivered systems are highly distributed and software-intensive but not purely software; systems must be designed and fielded under economic and legal constraints, and system requirements emerge as the clients understand better both the technology and the opportunities in their own settings. 

Essentially, all aspects of the Software Engineering industry demand a new more educated, more versatile workforce

Admissions and Scholarships – 2020/2021 Applications are closed

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The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon UniversityCarnegie Mellon’s Institute for Software Research, offers the dual degree Ph.D. in Software Engineering program together with:


Software is becoming ever more important to our daily lives, as well as every sector of industry.  But as software systems increase in capability, they increase in complexity, resulting in delays, defects, and vulnerabilities.

Our Ph.D. program in Software Engineering seeks to educate the next generation of high-impact software engineering research, development, and educational leaders who will solve the problems associated with building large-scale and critical software systems.


The course structure requirements and contents at CMU are available on the Institute for Software Research website. 


The thesis will be co-advised by at least two co-advisers, one from CMU and one from a Portuguese partner University

Type of Degree

The student will be awarded with a dual degree Ph.D conferred by CMU and another by the Portuguese partner University. During the Ph.D., the student should comply with the regulations of both Universities.


Graduates will be prepared for faculty positions in software engineering, for research positions in industrial laboratories, and for leadership positions in development in both computer industry and application shops.

As faculty, they will be distinguished by their genuine understanding of software design and development issues, which can be expected to shape their selection of research problems and evaluation of research results.

As industrial developers, they will understand not only academic research issues but also engineering constraints that arise from public policy, economic, regulatory, and market issues.

As senior software system developers, they will have a distinctive perspective that addresses specific problems in the context of the principles and results of the field.

In addition to talent and research skills that will allow them to advance the field, graduates will have a clue about practical issues of software design and development from requirements acquisition through maintenance. They will be prepared to enter research or advanced development positions in application areas, distributed networks, embedded/critical systems, and other specialties as well as conventional software system development. They will know enough about managing projects and about the software industry that they will not be naive about business questions.



5 years (full-time), with up to 2 years at CMU and up to 3 years at a Portuguese University.

Scholarships and tuition

The Ph.D. students enrolled in the dual degree Ph.D. program will receive financial support through an FCT - CMU Portugal Fellowship (includes tuition fees and a monthly stipend).

Application requirements

The dual degree Ph.D. program uses the School of Computer Science online application for admission to the CMU Portugal.
You must submit the following documents with your application:
• CV (pdf.)
• A statement of purpose — a concise one- or two-page essay describing your primary research interests, related experiences and objective in pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science
• Graduate Record Examination (GRE)* scores
• If your native language is not English, then you must submit a TOEFL**
• Transcripts from each college and/or university you attended, even if no degree was granted (pdf.)***
• Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from faculty or recent employers

* GRE test: On the following website you can register for the GRE test. In Portugal, this test can be taken in Lisbon and Coimbra. To meet the application deadline, we recommend applicants to take the required tests by September. GRE Scores are valid for five years; older scores will not be considered.

** Fluency in English: The TOEFL is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. More information can be found on the following website.

*** Degree recognition: If the degree was obtained in a foreign institution the candidate must require the equivalence or the recognition of the degree according to the Portuguese law, through DGES or a Portuguese higher education institution. More information here.

For more on the application process, check out the SCS Online Graduate Application Instructions.