In the panorama of public higher education in Portugal, Iscte is the only specialized university institute.
The recognition and affirmation of this statute began with the publication of the Basic Law of the Educational System, of October 14, 1986, and the Autonomy Law of Universities, of September 24, 1988.
From an institutional point of view, some milestones are relevant:
In 1990, the statutes of the institution were approved and promulgated, naming it the "Non-integrated University Institute", and it was now able to grant, in a totally autonomous way, the degree of Doctor.
In 2000, new statutes were approved and promulgated, in which the organization and powers of the established governing bodies became identical in all respects, except in name, to those of the universities.
In 2005, the Iscte joined the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP) and in 2006 approved its redenomination as the University Institute of Lisbon at the School Assembly.
From a substantive point of view, the relevant milestone is, in 2007, the decision to abandon projects of enlargement and diversification of the disciplinary areas, anchoring the future development of the Iscte in postgraduate teaching projects and research activities, in the founding disciplinary areas: business sciences, sociology and public policies, information and communication technologies, social sciences and humanities. This decision has two important moments of accomplishment.
From 2007 with the adaptation of the undergraduate, master's and doctorate courses to the Bologna process.
Later, from 2009, with the adoption, by the Iscte, of the Foundation Regime, in the framework of the new Legal Regime of Higher Education, approved in 2007, and the consequent reform of the internal organization and the institution of its current four schools and 16 departments:
• the School of Management, consisting of the departments of Marketing, Operations and General Management, Accounting, Finance, Human Resources and Organizational Behavior, Economics and Quantitative Methods for Management and Economics.
• the School of Sociology and Public Policies, constituted by the departments of Sociology, Social Research Methods, Political Science and Public Policies and History.
• the School of Technology and Architecture, constituted by the departments of Architecture and Urbanism, Information Sciences and Technologies and Mathematics.
• the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, constituted by the departments of Political Economy, Anthropology and Social Psychology. It is in this context, of deepening the founding disciplinary areas, that new master's and doctoral courses continue to be created, by unfolding, crossing and deepening disciplinary: political science, public policies, social service, political economy, school administration, hotel and tourism management, data science and humanitarian action.
The Iscte today offers today 17 undergraduate courses, welcoming about 4,500 students, and more than 50 postgraduate, master's and doctoral programmes.