In university education, it is possible to award a master's degree after an integrated study cycle, usually called an integrated master's degree (mestrado integrado).
As it leads to a master's degree, this study cycle also corresponds to level seven of the National Qualifications Framework and the European Qualifications Framework.
The integrated master’s degree is an initial study cycle, which has between 300 and 360 ECTS credits and normally lasts between 10 and 12 semesters, in cases where such duration for access to a given profession is fixed by EU legal standards or results from stable and consolidated practice in the European Union.
Those who have completed the first 180 credits, which correspond to the first six semesters, are awarded a bachelor's (licenciado) degree, which must be designated in such a way as not to be confused with a master's degree.
A master’s degree is awarded to those who have obtained the established number of credits, having passed all study programme courses of the study cycle and public defence of their dissertation, project work or internship
Students who obtain a master’s degree should:
a) possess knowledge and understanding to a degree that shows: i) based on their learning obtained at first cycle level, their knowledge has developed and has greater depth; ii) allow and constitute the basis for original developments and/or applications, in many cases in a research context
b) be able to apply their knowledge and understanding, solving problems in new and unfamiliar situations, in broad and multidisciplinary contexts, albeit related to their study area
c) be capable of integrating knowledge, deal with complex issues, find solutions or make judgements with scant or incomplete information, including reflecting upon the resulting ethical and social implications
d) be able to communicate conclusions with underlying knowledge and reasoning in a clear and unambiguous manner, to both specialists and non-experts
e) have competences that facilitate engagement in lifelong learning in a fundamentally self-directed or autonomous manner.
In 2021, the Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES) registered 166 of these courses, in 55 Higher Education institutions. As a Community Directive advises against implementing this study cycle because it lasts longer than other cycles and restricts student mobility, mestrados integrados are limited to the following areas: architecture and urban planning (20), medicine (11), dentistry (8), pharmaceutical sciences (10) and veterinary medicine (9).
Following the legislative amendment to the legal framework for degrees and diplomas in higher education by Decree-Law No 65/2018, 16 August, the integrated master's degrees previously taught in the areas of engineering, psychology, theology and military and security services have until 2020-2021 to finish and function only to allow enrolled students to complete their education within the normal period of time.
Access and enrolment in this study cycle is governed by the rules applicable to the access and admission to study cycles leading to the licenciado degree. The regulations should also foresee the enrolment of graduates in a suitable area, as well as the crediting of the training obtained in the licenciatura in this study cycle.