Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, you’ll be able to find information on the frequently asked questions that arise during application or (re) enrollment. And some useful academic information. This is but a small gist of the “normal” questions students pose and is not a substitution of (the mandatory reading of) the U.Porto, nor the MDGPE Master’s Study Agreements:

Application Requirements

Your application to the MDGPE master’s study program requires:

  • A recognized diploma or certificate of academic qualifications — bachelor’s degree requirement—, with the final classification. Preferably, in the Design areas of study. The diploma must indicate the final average or classification obtained in a scale compatible with the Bologna classification system (or possible to normalize into a 0-20 scale). Applicants must also include a detailed breakdown of the course curricula and individual class assessment that is usually included in the final diploma addendum. Links to the online syllabus and course/class matrix listings may be relevant and useful, but there is no guarantee we will review any material than the one included in the submission. Additionally, if you already possess a master’s degree (or other academic degrees), you should also submit it as it will be considered. The assessment of the academic qualifications have a 30% weight on the final classification of the application.

  • A Portfolio. It must present the candidate with a concise and relevant sample of work. The Portfolio should focus on the main “core” areas of expertise required: Graphic Design, Book or Editorial Design, Information Design, and Typography. Other Communication Design fields of study such as Art Direction, Illustration, Photography, Web, and Digital Interaction are also relevant to present the candidate’s versatility and should be included as a complement for consideration. Works should be properly annotated, e.g. with the concept, client briefing, or problem being addressed; credits to the authors (art directors, illustrators, photographers, typographers, etc.), especially when done in collaboration with other colleagues or mentors, and especially within academic contexts; a brief description of the main activities, competences or specific aspects of the work developed by the authors that are worth discriminating; and other relevant techniques, technologies or materials used. Links to online materials may be relevant and useful, but there is no guarantee we will review any material than the one included in the submission. The Portfolio is the single most important component in your application, with a 50% weight on the assessment of the final classification of the application.

  • A Curriculum Vitae, presenting your academic, professional, and personal or voluntary work activities. The assessment of the CV has a 10% weight on the final classification of the application.

  • Letter of intent (motivation). The letter of intent should present yourself and your academic, research, or professional activity so far. As well as briefly present your motivations, expectations, and goals when enrolling in this specific master’s program. The assessment of the Letter has a 10% weight on the final classification of the application.

Check the academic portal for the official and updated assessment criteria and additional requirements such as ID or Passport identification, documents, and fees. In any doubt, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the post-graduation academic services.

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Application dates/phases

Normally, all master courses from the University of Porto have three distinct application phases:

  • First: usually runs from January 2nd to March 1st;
  • Second: usually runs from the 2nd of March to 20 of May;

These first two are longer and geared towards the application of professionals, or international applicants. There are fewer available slots (usually, the master usually reserves 50% of the placement for these two phases);

  • Third: usually runs at the end of July, from the 19 to the 25 of July (although it may be sooner or later depending on academic constraints).

The third phase is the shortest application window, but it has the largest placement quota for a single phase (usually 50%). It is mostly geared towards graduate students who have finished their Design degree and wish to pursue further studies.

This calendar may vary according to the annual Rectory / FBAUP official calendar, or any update pushed by the academic services. It is imperative to verify this information in the news section of the academic portal. In any doubt please contact the post-graduation academic services.

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Enrollment renewal

In order to continue your master course study program, you must renew your enrollment in the second year (dissertation/project). This is not an automatic process.

First, according to the study agreement, you must comply with all the requirements (basically having completed all the course’s classes* and discussing a project proposal with the course director).

The enrollment renewal takes place in early September. Usually from 8 to 14 of September.

* It is possible to continue your second year, even if you have failed a single course, and are enrolling up to a maximum of 81 ECTS. Usually, this means you may leave behind a TP course (eg. Type Design), but not an important course (such as Project). This is also subject to formal academic procedures. Make sure to check the updated information in the news section of the academic portal, or contact the post-graduation academic services.

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If you interrupt your study plan, make sure to re-apply for enrollment on time. Usually from 14 of June to 16 of July

Make sure to check the updated information in the news section of the academic portal, or contact the post-graduation academic services.

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Assigning and Changing Supervisor(s)

According to the current study agreement, after completing the first year, and before you enroll in the second year — the Dissertation or Project/Internship year — you’ll be contacted by the program director to present your Research Plan.

The research plan consists of a brief summary of the (provisional) Title or Theme, Modality (dissertation, project, or internship), and the Abstract, Work plan, or Internship Objectives. This will (ideally state the Context, Goals and Objectives, Methods and Instruments, and main results or deliverables.

You’ll be able to discuss this with the program director, and eventually, be assigned to an available supervisor that will help and guide you during your second year until successful completion of the course.

Sometimes, during the first weeks or during the development of the work of the second year, you may find out that the supervision is not working out.

You or your supervisor may request to change the supervision. Either to include a co-supervisor (due to scientific or technical reasons). Or to change the supervisor altogether.

Any change to supervision has to be presented and validated by the program Scientific Committee (SC). Hence, in order to request it, you must:

  • Discuss with, or at the very least, inform your current supervisor of this change/decision request first;
  • Contact the program director via the official institutional email — direct individual email, or to the program email: mdgpe (at) fba (dot) up (dot) pt —, with your current supervisor in CC presenting the request:
    • briefly stating the reason for the change in supervision;
    • all relevant information about the current status of the work being developed (e.g.: modality, title or provisional theme, a summary of activities or writing developed so far);
    • whether you intend to continue developing the theme (or what you intend to develop from here on)

As soon as we receive this information, we will convene the program SC and follow up as soon as possible.

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Internship Requirements

Some students may opt to develop their second-year work within the context of a professional internship.

In order to do so, you must first contact the studio, agency, or company presenting a letter of intent to do your internship. Then, if they confirm they are able and willing to receive you within your academic internship, you must present your research plan — including the confirmation of the location of the internship — to the program director, who will assign a faculty supervisor.

As soon as you start the second year activities, the first thing to do before starting the actual internship, together with your faculty supervisor, or with company internship supervisor, is to sign the Internship Protocol, and write up an Internship Program.

The protocol is attached here:

The Internship Program is a one-page (max.) document stating your internship program or expected work plan. It should contain information about the topic or nature of the internship, the general objective(s) of the internship, the work/responsibilities that will be assigned to you, a schedule of activities throughout the duration of the internship, and, if possible, the expected results.

When you have this protocol and internship program signed, you must hand in three copies at the academic office.

After all documents are validated and signed by the Faculty Director, you may then proceed with your internship.

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Final Dissertation or Report requirements

Currently, there is no specific format or rules you must abide by to write and design your final report or dissertation. The current 2014 Study Agreement stipulates only that:

  • A dissertation must be composed of a body of text with an average of 20 000 words;
  • A project [report] must be composed by [the report of] the empirical work developed within a studio or laboratory environment, of an average of 12 000 words;
  • An internship [report] must be composed by [the report of] the work developed during the formal internship, with a word count comprised between 7 000 and 10 000 words;

Any and all of the above are only required to be submitted as a digital PDF document (see the submission requirements below).

Also, according to the specific study agreement articles, all of the above must be original texts, providing the necessary theoretical and appropriate contextual framework(s), and with relevant and in-depth description(s) of the methodology and empirical procedures.

Specific issues about the format and content of (each) project report or dissertation are further discussed and clarified in the Methodology II course, during the second year. Also, make sure to keep regular and detailed contact with your supervisor to clarify these issues on time.

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Dissertation submission and presentation request

In order to submit your dissertation or report and request your final presentation, you must have completed all the curricular units.

The normal and extraordinary periods for completing your master’s dissertation and project report are defined in the Academic Calendar at the beginning of each school year. This normally means that you must submit your dissertation and request for the final presentation by the beginning of June. Usually, between 6 and 11 of June. Or, in exceptional circumstances, until the beginning of September, usually until 10, or 11 of September. Make sure to check the updated information in the academic portal and the master’s regulation.

You are obliged to submit a PDF version of your dissertation/report in order to request your final presentation and master’s degree. Make sure it is complete (with all the content sections and required annexes for a full comprehension and reading experience) and with the appropriate resolution (for an optimal viewing experience). You may choose to also submit a printed version, if relevant. In this case, make sure to submit 3 copies for all the members of the jury.

If, during your dissertation and/or project, you have developed physical artifacts — such as prints, books, or other analog materials relevant to your project — you may also submit these for jury consideration. In this case, you should also submit 3 copies of each.

Remember that in order to submit and request the final presentation, all documents that are to be taken into account for final assessment have to be final and submitted by this date(s). Except for special notes by the jury (see presentation below), there will not be another document or submission opportunity. Also according to the UP’s study agreement, if the documents are not ready, or you don’t achieve a passing result, you’ll have to develop a whole new dissertation, project, or internship. So make sure everything is in order.

Also, in order to submit your dissertation or report and request the presentation, you must have a signed declaration from your supervisor, declaring the compliance of the dissertation or report.

This declaration, the additional library forms, and all the necessary information will be sent to you by the academic office, via the institutional email. Usually, this email is sent at the beginning of the civil year / second semester. Make sure to check your institutional email frequently, or forward it to your personal email

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You have submitted your final dissertation or report and requested the final presentation. Now what?

Now, you have to prepare for the dissertation presentation. The director and scientific committee will assign you a date and a jury. Then, the academic office will email you the official summons.

This process — reviewing, finding a jury, and validating it with the Faculty director — usually takes a few weeks. So, please be patient.

Meanwhile, with your supervisor, and in a timely process, you should prepare a presentation of your work, in up to a maximum of 20 minutes.

During the process of (re)reading and preparing your presentation, you may find some typos or issues worth addressing. Remember that all documents are considered “final”, and there is no place for corrections before the presentation. Hence, you may (and should) write up an errata sheet to present in the opening of your final presentation:

Errata sheets are commonplace in book publishing. Such documents list content revisions, and are typically a page or two in length. As the name implies, errata sheets are intended to correct errors and alleviate potential confusion.

If the jury finds it relevant or important, after the defense, you may be required to address any issue in the dissertation or report in order to have your final grade assigned and the master’s completed.

In such a case, the issues or the corrections must not substantially change the work done. Nor change or compromise the appreciation of the work done by the jury. The jury will specify them during the final assessment, and note them in the presentation minutes. And, as stipulated in the study agreement, you’ll be given a maximum of 10 working days to work these out with your supervisor and submit a (new) definitive digital version of your dissertation or report.

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Important Dates

All the important dates of the academic year are scheduled in the FBAUP’s official calendar.

Crop detail of 2021-22 2nd and 3rd study cycles academic calendar

Although it is rare, this information may change due to specific constraints. Make sure that, at least at the beginning of each semester, or in preparation for any activity of your research project, you check this information or your institutional email frequently for any updates.