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Graduate Program in Law

More information


+55 21 3527-1102

Departamento de Direito
Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225
Cardeal Frings, 6º andar
Gávea, Rio de Janeiro - RJ

Office hours:
8:00am to 5:00pm

General Information

Program Overview, Objectives and History

The Stricto Sensu Graduate Program in Law, since the creation of the Master’s and Doctoral Programs in 1972 and 1999 respectively, essentially seeks to promote a new methodological and academic perspective that not only stimulates critical intervention on legal knowledge but also integrates theory and practice of Law with Brazilian historical reality, through a close relationship between teaching and research.

The philosophy that guides the Stricto Sensu Graduate Program seeks to provide  lawyers with a broad academic background integrating diverse social sciences, enabling them to solve legal problems of Brazilian society, by developing the students’ critical and creative capacity through the interdisciplinary and articulate study of legal phenomena. 

The Program’s Concentration Area, State Theory and Constitutional Law, approaches the study of Constitutional Law, analyzing Brazilian positive and comparative law through a reflexive political perspective. The political theory is discussed in its relationship with Law, allowing the development of an innovative methodology and seeking to prepare qualified professionals for  academic activities.

Open to holders of degrees from different academic backgrounds (Law, History, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology etc.), the Program seeks to motivate a juridical approach able of developing greater awareness of Law's social function in current Brazilian historical context.

Concentration areas and lines of research

Concentration area: State Theory and Constitutional Law

Line of Research I: Human Rights, Democracy and International Order

This line of research is dedicated to the human rights theme in its full configuration, in a way to bridge the so called civil, political and socio-economic-cultural rights, questioning the political nature in the broad sense of human rights.

On the other hand, the legal reflection is observed in a post-positivistic framework, in connection to the moral and political philosophies.

From this perspective, the discussion is set up around whether the existence and practice of human rights require a particular form of Rule of Law and representative-democracy and a special modus vivendi of society in general, as well as the debate over the process of constitution of rights beyond the state.

The following are the main analytical objectives:

  • Human rights as an access to citizenship: processes of claiming rights not yet recognized by the state and its institutions. The human rights theme entails the study of the formation of new political subjects and new diverse forms of political participation.  The study of movements of the so called minorities (racial, feminist, ecological, consumerists, professionals, etc.), its political involvement in favor of the recognition of new rights, as well as the discussion hinged on the right to rights is included in this perspective.
  • Human rights as the logic of democratization of the State and civil society and its incompatibility with authoritarian and totalitarian forms of political dominance, covering the analysis of concrete forms of State (democratic, authoritarian, populist, oligarchic, etc.), its legal and political organization, and their relationship with the logic of democratization that is the force that expands human rights and their becoming, against the process of constitution of autonomy that challenges and interrogates established institutions;
  • The grounding and the operationalization of human rights through the identification of ethical principles and procedures that, in the dynamics of a pluralistic and democratic society, may delineate their effectiveness in the constant search for a freer culture, more just, and more empathetic. Are highlighted the dynamics (the various generations of fundamental rights and the issue of constituting power) and meta-individuality (ethics of otherness), both connecting legal reflections to philosophical ethics and political questions (theory of justice).
  • The relationship between States, examined through internal problems against the International Law, International Human Rights Law, Regional Integration Law and the different forms of international cooperation. In this last aspect is included the questions that arise from international cooperation in relation to the pertinent internal treaties and laws, especially in connection to their justification and implementation.
  • The right to an ecologically balanced environment as a fundamental right. The process of collectivization and personalization of legal relations, which happened along the Twentieth century, generated significant change in the role of Law. Thus, it changed the focus from only solving conflicts of interest to instead promote social justice. In this context, questions related to environmental justice, and soon, the legal protection of the environment, were emphasized. Drawn from the principles of human dignity and solidarity, Environmental Law has been promoting reflections on the roles of the State and civil society in the recognition and implementation of the fundamental right to an ecologically balanced environment.
Line of Research II-Legal Theory, Ethics and the Construction of Subjectivity

As indispensable as the explanation of models of legal thought is the analysis of what these models have to offer to diverse legal disciplines.

In this context, the study of relationships between Law and State should be prioritized above the theoretical aspects of our system, in connection with foreign references and institutes.

On the other hand, the criticism of the paradigm of modernization represents a critique of individualism, performed from several theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives (philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychoanalysis), which has overcome the conception of individuals as a natural fact, thus, making it possible to think subjectivity as a historical structure.

This released space for a multifaceted reflection, which converge the most important dilemmas related to the modern paradigm crisis and the characteristics of the emergent model (nature/culture, subject/object, body/psyche, and reason/passion).

This perspective, in turn, opens new horizons, equally far from determinism and relativism, for pondering ethical questions. This line of research intends to criticize these assumptions, while seeking to establish itself in the framework of contemporary though on this theme and its consequences for legal theories and policies.

The following are the main analytical objectives:

  • The description and critic of various perspectives on the foundation and concept of Law, including the Law methodologies’ and the models of juridical rationality analysis, intending to enable the normative phenomenon, while maintaining dogmatic (law as regulation) and pragmatics (Law as a resolution) approaches.
  • The analysis of legal constructions, of legal demands based on universal moral views and the cognitive problems that these formulations raise on the current legal debate.
  • The questioning of the political modern theory assumptions (aggressiveness, rationalism, etc.), in light of the knowledge produced by the deep psychology in its many forms.
  • The effect of traditional institutes in private Law – and the very mitigation of the dichotomy between public and private law – motivated by this new archetype of subject, in which the mere protection of private autonomy, of a patrimonial and individualist nature, gives way to the integrated protection of human dignity through the direct application of constitutional principles to private relations, in the extent of methodological perspective of the so called Civil Law constitutionalization.
Line of Research III: Constitutional Change and Contemporary Constitutional Thought

Thinking about the Constitution and its current meaning is not only significant as a challenge to constitutional theory in general but also specifically to the diverse legal fields.

The constitutional model that marked the constitutionalism of the XVIII century is not the same as the modern constitutional structures, even though many of its traces are continuously affirmed.

The discussions centered on new models of rights and its concrete possibilities are on the agenda, dictating, in the many levels of constitutional theory, the guidelines of the debate.

Old certainties are considered to be in crisis while consistent methodologies have been searched for the analysis of new developments in connection to traditional ones.

The following are the main analytical objectives:

  • The concepts of constitutionalism and neoconstitutionalism from the perspective of legal doctrine, political theory, and constitutional philosophy;
  • The configuration of fundamental rights from a theoretical interdisciplinary perspective, which problematizes its concrete relations with various constitutional models.  The procedural instruments that guarantee constitutional values, traditional and contemporary techniques of legal interpretation and debates centered on  peculiarities of constitutional interpretation;
  • The electoral processes, its story, and the issues of political representation from constitutional matrix. The study of the legislative process and  levels of rationality in evaluating the quality of laws: linguistic rationality, legal-formal, pragmatic, teleological, and ethics;
  • The study of the problems related to the micro legal systems of  constitutional source, the normative integration, and the role of constitutional justice;

Recognition of the Course

Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Eduction Personnel; from Brazilian Ministry of Education) evaluation: grade 4 (in a 3 to 7 scale) for the 2010-2012 period.
Approved by the CNE/CES MEC n.288/2015 of July 08, 2015.
Granted degrees: Master in Legal Sciences and/or Doctor in Law

Requirements for obtaining the Master’s and Doctoral degrees


Complete a minimum of 27 credits, distributed as follows:


Complete a minimum of 52 credits, distributed as follows:

Admission and Enrollment

Applicant registration and selection take place, every academic year, during the second semester for the Master’s course and during the first semester for the Doctoral course, following the PUC-Rio calendar.

Besides the regulation's general requirements, the Department demands the following from applicants:

Undergraduate degree from a social sciences area for admission to the Master’s course, and a Master’s degree for admission to the Doctoral course.

Department’s acceptance based on academic transcripts, curriculum vitae, written exam on the areas of the Legal Theory and Political Theory for admission to the Master’s course, and project approval for admission to the Doctoral course, besides an interview and, eventually, other means of knowledge verification.