The Program

What the Program Is

The Program in Literary Theory is one of the oldest and largest graduate programs in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Lisbon.  It offers an M.A. and a PhD, as well as a basic certificate and post-doctoral programs. It was established in 1991, and has a current enrolment of about 60 students.   The Program features a core faculty of fourteen, including two regular visiting professors.  Miguel Tamen serves as Chair and Maria Sequeira Mendes is Director of Graduate Studies.   All inquiries may be addressed to either one.

Who Is in the Program

Most of our students have some previous background in Literature or Philosophy.  However, there are no prerequisites for admission to the Program. The absence of such prerequisites, as the absence of what is sometimes called “an intellectual line” are, in our opinion, of great advantage.  Even though the assessment and grading of M.A. and PhD students is conducted differently, like in all similar major graduate programs worldwide, most of our seminars are open to all students in the Program.   We believe that differences between students are an important intellectual asset.  Our faculty, resident and visiting alike, also have very different interests and often very different theoretical and practical inclinations. Conflict is therefore both inevitable and welcome. 

What Is Done (and What Is Not Done) in the Program

The Program is to a great extent a program in Philosophy and Literature.   In the Program the issues discussed are often part of current debates in departments of Literature or Philosophy, and even sometimes in fields such as the arts, the law, theology, and the so-called social sciences.  In the Program there is no recommended intellectual approach and so no recommended type of dissertation. Disciplinary boundaries count for less than the possibility of establishing relationships between different problems.

Unlike most of our European counterparts we do not believe the debate in the Humanities ought to take place within research centers and clusters organized around disciplinary or thematic guidelines, or so-called projects; nor in our view should research in the Humanities be conducted within large, laboratory-like, teams. Instead we favor a model of seminarial and tutorial teaching that gives a primary role to the intellectual interests and inclinations of our students. 

Since being established the Program has granted more than one hundred and fifty degrees (MA and PhD).   The Program pursues an open policy of publication.  Thus, all dissertations defended (except those that have been published in book format) are freely available online.   The Program takes honest work and academic integrity very seriously.   There is a no-tolerance policy for fraud and plagiarism.   For further information  (in Portuguese) please refer to the School of Arts and Humanities' rules on Student Grading and Assessment.


The Program runs the Philosophy and Literature Network, which sponsors the Philosophy and Literature Workshop, managed by Inês Ramos, whose sessions are all open to the general public.  This network also provides a home for partnerships open to our PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
The Program publishes the online peer-reviewed journal Forma de Vida [Form of Life] (mostly, though not always, in Portuguese), edited by Telmo Rodrigues, which includes a separate book review section, updated regularly, and Instagram and Facebook pages updated daily here and here.
The Program is party to an agreement with INCM Press concerning the publication of a series ("Pessoana"), featuring essays about, and editions of, Fernando Pessoa.


Programa em Teoria da Literatura
Faculdade de Letras
Universidade de Lisboa
Alameda da Universidade
1600-214 Lisboa
Tel: +351-21-792-0068
Fax: +351-21-796-0063
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