Due to the pan-European Bologna Process, after 2005 new licenciatura (licentiate) degrees were organized at both university and polytechnic institutions of Portugal – they are now a first study cycle (3 years) offered by Portuguese institutions of higher education, and are the only requirement for any applicant who wish to undertake the second study cycle (2 years) which awards a master’s degree. Some new Bologna courses are integrated 5-year programmes or more, awarding a single master’s degree (joint degree), a common practice in medicine, a 6-year programme, and some other fields taught at the universities. In engineering, although the use of two separated cycles, only having the masters’ degree (2nd cycle of study) one can be a full chartered engineer. The new master’s degrees attained after 5 or 6 years of successful study, corresponds to the same time duration of many old undergraduate degrees known as licenciatura. The new licenciatura attained after 3 years of successful study corresponds to the time duration of the old bacharelato which is a discontinued degree formerly awarded by polytechnics, in use between the 1970s and early 2000s, roughly equivalent to an extended associate’s degree. Both the old and new master’s degrees are the first graduate degree before a doctorate, and both the old and new licenciatura degrees are undergraduate degrees. Before the changes, the licenciatura diploma (4 to 6-year course) was required for those applicants who wished to undertake (the old) master’s and/or doctorate programs but admission were only allowed for licenciatura degree owners with grades over 14 (out of 20). After the changes introduced by the Bologna Process, the master’s degree is conferred at the end of a programme roughly equivalent in time duration to many old licenciatura programmes. However, the Bologna Process was elaborated in order to attain an improved education system based on the development of competences rather than on the transmission of knowledge. Its goal was the development of a reformed and modernized system of easily readable and comparable degrees, aimed to simplify comparison between qualifications across Europe through a total reorganisation of curricula and teaching methods in every new cycle of study. The flexibility and transparency provided is oriented to enable students to have their qualifications recognised more widely, facilitating freedom of movement around a more transparent EHEA (European Higher Education Area) which is based on two main cycles : undergraduate (1st cycle of study) and graduate (2nd cycle of study) ; as well as providing postgraduate degrees (3rd cycle of study) for advanced applicants aiming the doctorate degree.
As of 2007, critics allege that this was not achieved as many institutions relabeled their old licenciatura as the new master’s without making any substantial alteration to the curriculum. The changings creating 3 to 6 years new licenciaturas and master’s degrees that correspond to either 4 to 8 years of study in the previous model, has generated considerable confusion among some people and institutions. It is also alleged that many of those master’s degrees offered by certain institutions, were not designed to prepare the students for further study (3rd cycle).
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Au Portugal, plus de 18% des agents de l’État sont assimilés à des travailleurs indépendants. Licenciables à tout moment sans indemnités chômage ni congés payés.