Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Coimbra

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Coimbra Institute of Engineering
Former names
Instituto Industrial e Comercial de Coimbra
Motto Inovação Sucesso Empreendedorismo Criatividade
Motto in English
Innovation Success Entrepreneurship Creativity
Established 5 December 1921
Type Public
President Nuno Ferreira
Vice-president Jorge Barbosa
and Victor Magalhães
Academic staff
179 (2011) [1]
Administrative staff
85 (2011) [2]
Students 3132 (2011) [3]
Location Rua Pedro Nunes Quinta da Nora 3030-199, Coimbra, Portugal, Portugal
40°11′33″N 8°24′37″W / 40.1924°N 8.4104°W / 40.1924; -8.4104Coordinates: 40°11′33″N 8°24′37″W / 40.1924°N 8.4104°W / 40.1924; -8.4104
Campus Urban
Affiliations Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra

The Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Coimbra (ISEC) is an higher education polytechnic institution of engineering, based in Coimbra, Portugal. It belongs to the Polytechnical Institute of Coimbra, although with a great level of administrative, financial, and pedagogic autonomy. Coimbra Institute of Engineering is an educational center and its main goals are to advance and extend knowledge, learning of culture, science and technology, provide preparation for professional and occupational career goals within the engineering field, promotion and the assistance in the development of its community. In addition to focusing on the practical component of the engineering degrees the Institution provides and is well known for, ISEC continues to make efforts to respond to the job market demands and accompany the constant evolution of science and technology in industry. ISEC has a dynamic role in society and continues to improve its services. It is determined to create an atmosphere that will be more than just a learning experience for its students, thereby encouraging and inspiring the younger generation to learn, be critical-minded and creative. Given this stance, it emphasises the practical teachings of subjects with a sound theoretical background, while at the same time actively adapting the lesson material and courses to the job market demands and the realities of today’s society. To accomplish its mission, ISEC has chosen to pursue the following guidelines: to strengthen its academic reputation in the labour market and in the community in general; to emphasize as well as improve the preparation of well trained graduates; to invest and encourage high-quality instruction that will enable professional technicians to face emerging challenges within their professional career; to continue to offer Research and Development services and activities, within human resources available.


Its origins backs to the creation of the Industrial Institute of Coimbra (Instituto Industrial de Coimbra) created in September 1965 as a non-higher education institute of vocational education.

With the approval of decree "Decreto-Lei 830/74", of 31 December 1974, the Industrial Institute of Coimbra remodeled to what it is now known as Coimbra Institute of Engineering, (ISEC) "Instituto Superior de Engenharia Coimbra". According to that decree all superior institutes of engineering were of university level, they were allowed to award bachelors, masters and doctorates. However, at the time ISEC only conferred bachelors in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry Engineering, with 8 semesters (4 years).

Its status was changed from university when it was integrated into the polytechnic subsector in 1988 through the decree "Decreto-Lei nº389/88", of 25 of October", and incorporated into the newly created Polytechnical Institute of Coimbra. It remodeled all courses to a 6 semesters (3 years) bacharelato degrees in several technical engineering specializations, until the late 1990s. In 1989 new courses were created, Computer Sciences Engineering and in 1991 Electromechanical Engineering was introduced. At this time new legal decrees were adopted by Portuguese State (Administrative Rule 413A/98 of 17 July 1998), and it started to award 3 + 2 licenciaturas bietápicas (bacharelato plus one or two extra years, conferring the licenciatura degree - a degree that had been awarded exclusively by the universities). In the mid-2000s ISEC adopted new more selective admission rules which were imposed to every Portuguese higher education institution by the State.

In 2006 Biological Engineering was introduced already according to Bologna Process, awarding the degree of "licenciatura" bachelors (3 years). After 2006, with the approval of new legislation and the Bologna Process, ISEC, like any other polytechnic or university institution of Portugal, is legally able to provide a first 3-year study cycle, known as licenciatura plus a second 2-year cycle which confer the master's degree (in some cases this higher degree may be awarded in cooperation with a partner university) . This late changes were gradually developed, the curricula of many courses were deeply changed, other courses were discontinued (like now defunct ISEC's polytechnic degree in chemical engineering). In 2007 Biomedical Engineering and Industrial Management Engineering were introduced. Nowadays nine bachelors according to the Declaration of Bologna are fully functional.

ISEC is known to have a very successful practical basis with its courses and allows its alumni to have Cisco certification through the Cisco Academy on campus, OMRON certification, and Microsoft MCSE.


ISEC has 6 Departments:

  • Civil Engineering (DEC) "Departamento de Engenharia Civil"
  • Electrical Engineering (DEE) "Departamento de Engenharia Electrotécnica"
  • Computer Sciences Engineering (DEIS) "Departamento de Engenharia Informática e Sistemas"
  • Mechanical Engineering (DEM) "Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica"
  • Chemical and Biological (DEQB) "Departamento de Engenharia Química e Biológica"
  • Physics and Mathematics (DFM) "Departamento de Física e Matemática"


The Institute’s library occupies the main floor of the Interdisciplinary Building. It provides a main reading room with seating capacity for 230 individuals. In addition, several group study rooms are available for 30 users. The library also provides access to Hemerotheca archives containing 100 volumes of specialized published periodicals organized in alphabetical order of the work’s title. The library at the Institute contains approximately 9,700 volumes. Material may be found according to engineering fields, physics, business administration, mathematics, as well as reference items, among others. ISEC provides access to online library services (b-on), thus offering a wide range of academic resources to the campus community. These include, among others, main publishers of international academic and scientific journals and magazines. This service aims to deliver world wide library and information services from main sources covering a broad range of academic fields, thus meeting the needs of the campus community. B-on provides access to over 3,500 electronic publications from six international reference publishers in the main fields of scientific and technological research.

Facts and figures[edit]

  • Degree types awarded: bachelor degree and masters' degree in engineering-related subjects
  • ISEC has night classes for workers which is a unique characteristic of most polytechnic institutions in Portugal


Feira de Engenharia de Coimbra (FENGE)[4] is an initiative organized by the AEISEC (Estudents Association of ISEC). The objective is to provide an opportunity to share experiences between companies in the fields of engineering and the student community.

In most recent times ISEC-DEIS (Computer Sciences Department) has organised another leading activity called HandsOn@Deis,[5] it brings companies of the Information Technology sector in direct contact with students, creating workshops and activities.

Students Association[edit]

Students Association ISEC

The Student Association at ISEC was created in 1979 and aims to provide a unified voice for ISEC students, as well as general information, culture, sports and leisure. Since their founding, they have grown as one of the most valued Associations on a national scale in what regards its educational policies. They are dedicated to providing students with programmes and events. Throughout their existence they have accommodated two study areas for students, two snack bars and a photocopy processing centre, several sport and recreation activities, get-togethers, important events such as academic lectures, musical events, photography and computer fairs, an engineering fair which earned reputation at the national level, a student support and career opportunities office and a support service for exchange students under the Socrates/Erasmus/Leonardo programmes.

Undergraduate and graduate studies[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]