Frequently Asked Questions

The respective programs at Carnegie Mellon and in Portugal are very committed to the success of their programs and to their students’ success--your success--in your graduate studies. You, our graduate students, are the key reason we are here. Professors depend very much on their graduate students, and we know that we are successful when our students are successful.

Our dual degree masters and Ph.D. programs are structured so that students gain experience both at Carnegie Mellon and at the respective campuses in Portugal. Throughout their respective programs, students maintain FULL status both at Carnegie Mellon and at the partner university in Portugal. In the end, all students will have fulfilled all degree requirements for both institutions and will be granted full degrees from both institutions.

We welcome questions from prospective students. Below are some of our “frequently asked questions” organized by category; you might also take a look at the descriptions of the specific programs that we offer. If you have other questions that you can’t find an answer to, you may email us at

Funding   |   Timeline and Logistics   |   VISA   |   Health Insurance   |   Living in Portugal   |  
Curriculum and Advising   |   Acknowledge Support   |   Testing (GRE, TOEFL, etc.)   |   Transfers   |  
Summer and/or undergraduate programs 


How are Ph.D. students funded when in Portugal?
When in Portugal, you will be supported by a fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Once you accept the admissions offer you will be instructed on the steps you need to follow to process it.

Timeline and Logistics

If a usual ECE Ph.D. takes about five years, how long will it take me to complete an ECE Ph.D. if I enroll in the dual degree program?
The dual degree program does not affect the length of the ECE Ph.D. studies. Because both locations - Carnegie Mellon and the partner universities in Portugal -share the same curriculum, students make progress on all of their requirements at the same pace-regardless of location.

How much time will I spend at Carnegie Mellon and how much time at the partner university in Portugal?
We expect that you will spend about two years at Carnegie Mellon and the remaining two to three years in Portugal. But, during both periods of time, you will periodically have short visits with the other university, about a week at a time. For example, while you are at Carnegie Mellon you will periodically visit with your advisor in Portugal, and while you are in Portugal, you will periodically visit with your advisor at Carnegie Mellon. Additionally, students have weekly teleconferences with the non-resident advisors. In this way, your work and communication with both of your advisors is seamless.

If I am accepted, where I will go first? Will I go first to Carnegie Mellon or first to Portugal?
It depends on the dual degree doctoral program. At any given time, different cohorts from Portugal are studying at Carnegie Mellon during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and vice-versa. Again, however, even while at the partner university, students remain in regular and close connection with their program advisors at both campuses, particularly around research projects and the student’s overall progress.


Do I need to get a VISA for a short visit of 90 days or less to the USA?
A visa is not required for most tourist and business visits of 90 days or less, provided that you are a citizen of one of the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. More information available at . 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. To find the website, please use the following link: . You can find more information about the VISA issues on the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Student Guide.

Health Insurance

Do I need to have a medical insurance while I am in Portugal?
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.

Do I need to have a health insurance while I am at Carnegie Mellon?
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. 20 of the Student Guide).

Living in Portugal

I’m not from Portugal and I don’t speak Portuguese. How will I be able to function, living and studying in Portugal?
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.

How do I know whether there will be anyone else there from my country or who speaks my native language?
Portugal is in fact a very diverse country with students from all over the world who come to study at its campuses. Plus, the student communities are very friendly. Newcomers shouldn’t feel concerned at all about being isolated.

Do I need to complete visa applications? Whom do I talk to about for help with this?
Visa issues are processed by the respective departments. Students will get help from the departmental staff.

Curriculum and Advising

Is the Ph.D. or masters degrees obtained in these joint programs the same as those of normal / traditional Ph.D. and masters programs at Carnegie Mellon?
Yes, the requirements are the same and the degrees awarded are the same, no difference. Some of the requirements are taken while in residence at Carnegie Mellon, some while in residence in Portugal. All courses taken in Portugal have been formally approved by Carnegie Mellon; this means that they have the same stringent teaching and evaluation requirements as at Carnegie Mellon.

How can I be sure that I will get the same academic training in Portugal, as helpful and competitive, as I could get at Carnegie Mellon? In other words, how does the program guarantee that the resources and environment provided in the Portugal partner institutions ensure that I meet Carnegie Mellon’s strict degree requirements?
The respective programs at Carnegie Mellon (HCII, MSE, ECE, EPP, etc.) are all closely connected to their peer programs in Portugal. There is also a close oversight for all the requirements that you fulfill in Portugal. Courses are vetted and approved; we have a committee that discusses the content of the courses, the quality of the professors, the teaching methods, the evaluation methods, etc. All Carnegie Mellon advisors work very closely with their peer Portugal advisors. Student also have frequent (usually weekly) teleconference meetings with the non resident advisor.

During my time in Portugal, am I still advised by my Carnegie Mellon advisor or just my Portugal advisor?
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.

Acknowledge Support

Are there official rules on how to acknowledge the support of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program?
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 XXXXX." 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.

Testing (GRE, TOEFL, etc.)

Do I have to take the GRE and/or TOEFL or any other standardized test? What are the minimum scores for admission?
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.

Where can I do the GRE and the TOEFL tests in Portugal?
On the following website - - you can register for the GRE test. This test can be taken in Lisbon and Coimbra. International students are required to take TOEFL test as well. More information can be found on the following website: .


I am currently in another Ph.D. or masters program and would like to transfer in to one of the ICTI programs. How can I do this?
We have no transfer arrangements. You need to apply to the program that you are interested in.

Summer and/or undergraduate programs

I am an undergraduate student, or a graduate student not enrolled in an ICTI program, and I’m interested to find out whether ICTI has any internships or summer programs?
We have an Undergraduate Internships Program. Graduate students who are enrolled in one of our programs often do have summer opportunities, but again, they are only for students already enrolled in our programs. If you are interested in our graduate programs, we encourage you to find out more about which might be a good fit for you and to apply. We also publicise research opportunities within the Entrepreneurial Research Initiatives and the Early Bird Projects.