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About our Name

ISPA began its activity in 1962 under the designation of Instituto de Ciências PsicoPedagógicas. It came to adopt the name Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA) in 1964 and since then it has come to affirm itself as an unavoidable reference in the history of Portugal’s higher education.


ISPA pioneered the teaching and research of the psychological and behavioural sciences by kick-starting the first nation-wide bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Since the 90s it has expanded the scope of its activities, also covering the field of Life Sciences. In 2009 it extended its training offer to other areas of knowledge, particularly in the area of Biology (1st and 2nd cycle courses). It also offers PhD programs in the fields of Behavioural Biology, and Neuroscience (joint program with UNL and UTL under the Doctoral Program of the Champalimaud Foundation).


This expansion led to the formal conversion into a University Institute in order to encompass its broadened formative offer. At first, it took the name of ISPA – Instituto Universitário de Psicologia Aplicada, later settling on its current designation, ISPA – Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida.