Frequently asked questions

Below are some of our Education “frequently asked questions” by category.
We are also available to answer to any other questions at apply[at]

Dual Degree Ph.D.

The CMU Portugal dual degree Ph.D. programs are structured so that students gain experience both at Carnegie Mellon and at the respective partner University in Portugal. Throughout their respective programs, students maintain FULL status both at Carnegie Mellon and at the Portuguese Institution and in the end, students will be granted full degrees from both institutions.

Before scrolling through the questions below we strongly recommend you to read the  Student Guide prepared for you. It has all the relevant information on the CMU Portugal Program double degree Ph.D. Programs.

Curriculum and Advising

Yes, the requirements are the same and the degrees awarded are the same. Some of the requirements take place while in residence at Carnegie Mellon, some while in residence in Portugal. The course structure in Portugal have been formally approved by Carnegie Mellon;

Your advisors at Carnegie Mellon and in Portugal are your joint advisors throughout the whole program, whether you are at Carnegie Mellon or in Portugal. Your advisors already know each other and have been collaborating on other research projects, and they will welcome you into their projects. You remain jointly advised by both throughout your program. This dual-advising approach actually gives you a fantastic opportunity to establish close working relationships with two advisors, which can really both broaden and deepen your academic experience.


All of our programs in Portugal and at Carnegie Mellon are completely in English, and English is also commonly spoken in Portugal as a second language.

Testing (GRE, TOEFL, etc.)

Each of the graduate programs has their own admissions requirements. For the program you’re interested in, check their admissions pages and program descriptions for testing requirements.

On the following link –   – you can register for the GRE test. This test can be taken in Lisbon and Coimbra and international students are required to take TOEFL test as well. For more information you can visit the TOEFL website.


When in Portugal, you will be supported by a fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology during a maximum of 3 years. The scholarship will be a “Bolsa de Doutoramento (BD)”, more information available here.


Timeline and Logistics

The dual degree program does not affect the length of the Ph.D. studies. Both locations – Carnegie Mellon and the partner universities in Portugal – share the same curriculum therefore students make progress on all of their requirements at the same pace-regardless of location.

We expect that you will spend about two years at Carnegie Mellon and the remaining two to three years in Portugal.

It depends on the coordination of the dual degree doctoral program, the coordination of that . At any given time, different cohorts from Portugal are studying at Carnegie Mellon during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and vice-versa. However, students remain in regular and close connection with their program advisors and the Program Coordination Offices in both countries who will guide them through the entire process.


If you are a non-U.S. citizen you will need to apply to a SEVIS and an entry Visa.

In order to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you must first have a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) generated document (either an I-20 or DS-2019) issued by a U.S. college or university or Department of State-designated sponsor organization. Either documents are issued by Carnegie Mellon University and are specific to the institution and program of study that you will attend in the U.S. It must be presented to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad to obtain an entry Visa and to immigration officials to enter the U.S. in student status.

Together with SEVIS you must also apply to an entry Visa namely an F-1 Visa type or an J-1 Visa type. The I-20 is used together with a F-1 Visa type (Student Visa), and the DS-2019 is used for a J-1 Visa type (Exchange Visitor).

Visa issues are processed by the respective departments. Students will get help from the departmental staff. For more information please view our student guide on the top of this page, and also the Carnegie Mellon University “Visa Application” page.

The visa waiver program is a U.S. government program that enables citizens and nationals from 38 countries to enter the United States for business or visitor purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Visa Waiver Travelers are required to have an approved travel authorization (ESTA) to enter the United States by air or sea. If your country does not fall under the Visa Waiver program with the United States, please check the website of the embassy or consulate in your home country for information.

Health Insurance

According to the Portuguese law all residents (this includes students) must have health insurance. For students that are coming from EU-EEA there is the European Health Insurance Card (CESD). This card is available to European citizens who are traveling within the European Economic Area, (i.e. the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland, for private or professional reasons. Non EU–EEA students should ask for further information in their own country before travelling to Portugal, because there are other agreements between Portugal and other countries outside the EEA

Health insurance is required for all enrolled students by the University and is a necessity for everyone living in the US because the cost of routine and emergency health care as well as prescription medicine is extremely expensive. Please contact your home departments at Carnegie Mellon University regarding the health insurance issues. Note that each department at CMU has different health insurance policy (p. 22 of the Student Guide).

Acknowledgement Support

Yes, and this applies to all the work developed in the scope of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program. Students are required to include the following sentence in the scientific paper, poster, or any other publication: “Support for this research was provided by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) through the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program under Grant (number of your Grant).” The grant number applies whether on the campus of CMU or in Portugal. In the event that you do not have a grant number yet simply state: “Support for this research was provided by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) through the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program.