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About ISPA

Starting its activities in 1962 as the Instituto de Ciências Pedagógicas, the name Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA) was adopted in 1964. Since then, ISPA was established as an essential reference in higher education in Portugal.


A pioneer in teaching and research in psychological and behavioral sciences, ISPA is nationally and internationally recognized for the excellence of its scientific and cultural pedagogical project, the quality of its scientific activity and the relevance of its university extension activities.


ISPA’s project is structured under a matrix of institutional development that combines six essential lines:

- The establishment of a qualified and prestigious faculty;

- High-leveled, diverse and multidisciplinary scientific and pedagogical activity;

- Relevant scientific production, internationally recognized and referenced;

- A clear commitment to internationalization through strong partnerships with universities and intervention and research centers of reference in Europe, North America and in Portuguese speaking countries;

- A diverse editorial activity with titles that are currently references in the areas of social science, psychological and behavior;

- Social and community intervention that is relevant, permanent and diversified;


2009 was another milestone in ISPA’s institutional development; the conversion into University Institute, within the new organizational model of higher education. ISPA was the second institution in Portugal and the first in the private higher education subsystem to meet the formal requirements and level of qualification demanded for this organizational model.


With these new institutional guidelines ISPA provides, on an autonomous basis, all the academic degrees planned within the framework Bologna Process (1st Cycles – Undergraduate Studies, 2nd Cycles – Masters Programs, Integrated Masters, and 3rd Cycles – PhD Programs). ISPA also extended its training offer to other areas of knowledge with particular emphasis in Life Sciences.


It is in this context that in 2009 the Center for Biosciences was created. New Courses are promoted such as the Degree in Biology (in 2010/2011) and the Masters in Marine Biology and Conservation (in 2013/2014). This new reality also reflects the excellence of ISPA’s scientific and pedagogical project in this area of knowledge, based on the high qualifications and prestige of its faculty and the highest ratings given by independent entities.


The university extension and knowledge transfer activities were always a distinctive dimension of ISPA. In this area we highlight the various consulting services to national and international organizations (public and private) provided by its faculty and the university extension structures such as the Center of Psychological Assessment, the Center for Child and Family Support or the University Clinic of Psychology.


In 2011, within the process of evaluation and accreditation of Higher Education, all the Courses provided by ISPA (BA, MA and PhD), were recognized by the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) a fact that stresses ISPA’s unique features within the panorama of the Portuguese private higher education subsystem.


In 2012 ISPA celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Fifty years of a remarkable institutional development that enabled the recognition of psychology, behavioral sciences and life sciences in Portugal.


Being one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Portugal, ISPA has helped to raise standards and to promote the multicultural and universalist vocation of higher education respecting the values that have distinguished the best universities.