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Study Abroad in Portugal

Comparative Law Program in Lisbon, Portugal

Program description

UMass Law offers a two-week, two-credit summer study abroad program at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Portugal. This study abroad opportunity prepares students to practice law in an increasingly interconnected world. Through this immersive program, students will deepen their cross-cultural understanding, gain exposure to foreign legal systems including that of the European Union, and broaden their perspective on contemporary lawyering by seeing legal issues through the perspective of the global legal community.

The course will employ comparative methodology to focus on a contemporary topic in U.S. and European Union law, selected according to the expertise of participating faculty. All program instruction will be in English.

Academic credit

Students who pass the course will receive two credits on their UMass Law transcripts.

Partner institution

UMass Law’s partner institution is Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP). 


To apply, students must be enrolled in spring semester courses that would, if satisfactorily completed, give them at least 24 earned credits. Students on academic probation or supervision are ineligible to apply.


Participants must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the date of the return flight from Portugal. 


Throughout the two-week program, students will stay in a hotel selected by the host near Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

Program Fee and scholarships

The Program Fee charged to each student will be $1,953, which represents the cost of airfare. The total cost of the program is substantially higher, but every student enrolled in the program will receive a scholarship through the generosity of our program partner, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, that covers all program costs except for the student’s airfare.

Additional costs for meals and incidental expenses

Daily breakfasts will be provided by the host hotel each day at no cost to the students. The Program Fee and scholarship do not cover the cost of other meals or any other incidental expenses incurred while traveling to and from Lisbon or during the program. Students will pay for these expenses themselves. UCP estimates that additional meals and incidental expenses may cost $750, though that amount will vary by student.

Payments and refund policy

Applications are due to the International Programs Office, along with a deposit of $250, by March 15. Students accepted to the program must submit the balance of the Program Fee in full by April 1. The deposit is nonrefundable unless the student is not eligible, the student is not admitted to the program, or the program does not run. The program fee is non-refundable unless the program does not run. If the program is cancelled because it is undersubscribed, the refund will be credited to the student’s COIN account. Complete payment and refund information for faculty-led programs appear on the International Programs Office (IPO) site.

Classes and site visits

Students will attend meetings and classes on the campus of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and will participate in visits to local sites relevant to cultural enrichment, professional growth, and the program of study. For further information, see the Itinerary and Class Schedule below.

Course assessment

Students will attend lectures, participate in class discussion, complete readings and other assignments, and complete a final project. Final grades will be based substantially on the final project. Grading will be based on UMass Law grading policies.

State department information

For information and travel advisories about Portugal, see


For information on accessibility in Lisbon for persons with disabilities, see, Rights of people with disabilities, and U.S. Department of State, 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Portugal

Faculty bios

Leading the instruction from UMass Law will be Chancellor Professor Richard Peltz-Steele. Professor Peltz-Steele teaches International and Comparative Law, among other subjects, and has an active research agenda in international media law and policy, having presented papers on five continents and published in foreign journals and multinational collaborations. His current research focuses on comparative transparency in the context of development and in the private sector. He serves in various roles in public service organizations, including the legal education committee of the American Bar Association, International Law Section. Professor Peltz-Steele received his JD from Duke University and a BA in journalism and Spanish from Washington & Lee University. He practiced commercial law in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and taught law for more than thirteen years before joining UMass Law in 2011.

Also joining the team from UMass Law will be Dean and Professor of Law Sam Panarella. Prior to his deanship, Dean Panarella was a Professor of Law at University of Montana School of Law and the Executive Director of the Max Baucus Institute at the University of Montana. His research and teaching interests include energy, climate change, environmental, and business law. His recent scholarship appears in Harvard Environmental Law Review, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, and University of Virginia Environmental Law Journal. Dean Panarella has extensive experience teaching and running legal programs in China and Europe. Dean Panarella earned his JD at Lewis & Clark Law School and his BA at the University of Montana. After law school, he served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Otto R. Skopil, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Leading the instruction from Universidade Católica Portuguesa will be Professors Patrícia Fragoso Martins and Pedro Maia Garcia Marques.

Professor Patrícia Fragoso Martins is a Professor of Law in the Universidade Católica Portuguesa’s Católica Global School of Law, where she originally graduated and later obtained a MPhil and a PhD in European Union Law at Católica Global School of Law. In addition, Professor Martins holds an LLM from King's College London School of Law in European Union Law, and has been a Visiting Researcher at Columbia University School of Law. She is a researcher at the Católica Research Centre for the Future of Law, teaching and researching mostly in the fields of European Law, International Law, Fundamental Rights and Case Method. Formerly, she was a Member of the Coordination Commission and the Executive Director of the Católica Research Centre for the Future of Law, and she worked as Executive Coordinator of the Arbitration Centre at Catholic University. She is currently Deputy Dean of the Lisbon School of Law at Catholic University.

Pedro Maia Garcia Marques is a Professor of Law in the Universidade Católica Portuguesa’s Católica Global School of Law. Professor Marques’ research interests and extensive publications focus on fundamental rights, freedom of expression, data protection, regulatory offences law, criminal law and procedure, human rights law, and health law. He earned his Undergraduate Degree (1997), Master’s Degree (2004) and Doctoral Degree (2017) from Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

Itinerary and class schedule

Friday, April 16

  • Mandatory pre-departure orientation session at UMass Dartmouth (International Programs Office)


  • Pre-departure program meeting on Zoom

Friday, May 17

  • Depart U.S.

Saturday, May 18

  • Arrive in Lisbon
  • Orientation to Lisbon: Safety, Health, Food, Code of Conduct, Portuguese Language
  • Group welcome

Sunday, May 19

  • Prof. José Miguel Sardica, Introduction to Portuguese history through walking tour in Belém
  • Visit to Museu da Marinha, Torre de Belém, Monument of the Discoveries

Monday, May 20

  • Meet UCP Faculty
  • Class meeting 1
  • Class meeting 2

Tuesday, May 21

  • Class meeting 3

Wednesday, May 22

  • Site visit 1
  • Class meeting 4

Thursday, May 23

  • Site Visit 2
  • Guest lecture

Friday, May 24

  • Trip to Sintra/Cascais area

Saturday, May 25

  • Free day

Sunday, May 26

  • Free day

Monday, May 27

  • Class meeting 5

Site visit 3

  • Guest lecture

Tuesday, May 28

  • Class meeting 6
  • Class meeting 7

Wednesday, May 29

  • Class meeting 8 (final assignments/presentations)
  • Class meeting 9 (final assignments/presentations)

Thursday, May 30

  • Day trip to Serra de Arrábida, Cabo Espichel, Praia do Meco
  • Farewell meal

Friday, May 31

  • Depart Lisbon

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