Maria Laura Bettencourt Pires is Full Professor of English and American Studies at Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Previously she taught at Universidade Nova and Universidade Aberta. In the United States, she was Fulbright Scholar (Georgetown University), Gulbenkian Fellow (Brown University) and Visiting Professor (Fairfield University).

Among her professional activities, there stand out: Teaching (Cultural Theory, English Culture, Cultural Management and American Culture); Course Management (Masters, Doctoral and Post-graduation courses); and Research Coordination (Projects: "New York-From Topos to Utopos" (2005-08), "Cultural Wars, Public Intellectuals and the Making of Citizenship" (2008-11) and "Epistemological Theories - Ways of Seeing the World" (2011--), which are integrated in the Research Line "Culture and Conflict" of CECC).

At the Scientific Society of the Catholic University, she is the Director of the on-line Journal Gaudium Sciendi and Head of the Section of Social Sciences. Besides several articles and critical studies in scientific magazines and encyclopedias, like Literature of Travel and Exploration-An Encyclopedia (2003); essays ("William Beckford and Portugal - A Case of Mutual Attraction", 2004); texts in Festschriten ("From Mausoleum Museum to the Imaginary Museum without Walls", 2011); and various prefaces, she published: Portuguese Public Intellectuals-The Disquieting Muses (2011); University Teaching-From Crisis to Innovation (2007), Cultural Theory (2004, 2007, 2010 reprint), Essays-Notes and Reflections (2000), American Culture and Society (1997), William Beckford and Portugal (1987), History of Portuguese Children's Books (1982), Portugal Seen by the English (1980), Walter Scott and Portuguese Romanticism (1979). In 2011, she was co-editor of Intellectual Topographies and the Making of Citizenship.