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    Doctoral Studies


    Doctoral studies at uc3m aim at excellence in training of new leading researchers within the strategic framework and lines of research of the University. Each of our programs has been designed to provide our students with the skills and abilities required to undertake independent, high-quality research work under the supervision of top experts in their fields.

    The regular duration of full-time Ph.D. studies is limited to three years from initial enrollment. Candidates may apply for an extension of up to two further years.

    The Ph.D. thesis is the intended outcome of the doctoral training period. The thesis must give account of the student’s scientific work and meet the quality standards established by the Academic Committee of the program. Theses are defended in a public dissertation event, where they are subjected to assessment by an independent committee. A favorable assessment enables students to apply for their official Ph.D. degree certificate issued by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. An additional Doctorado Internacional mention is awarded to students who have met a number of specific requirements during their training period.

    Doctoral training calendar 

    Duration of the academic year: October 1st through September 30th

    Process Period
    Admission According to the start semester of the PhD:

    Second semester of the 23/24 academic year
    Admission application deadline: September 1st 2023 through January 31st 2024 (23:59 h., CET) 
    PhD start date: March 30th 2024

    First semester of the 24/25 academic year
    Admission application deadline: February 1st through August 31st 2024 (23:59 h., CET) 
    PhD start date: November 15th 2024
    Enrollment According to the start semester of the PhD:

    Enrollment period for new students
    First semester: July 17th through 31st and September 1st through 30th (23:59 h., CET) of the current academic year
    Second semester: March 1st through 30th (23:59 h., CET) of the current academic year

    Enrollment period for continuing students
    September 1st through 30th (23:59 h., CET) of the current academic year
    Annual Assessment  June
    All PhD candidates are subject to annual evaluation.

    Only students whose June evaluation was unfavorable are subject to evaluation. 

    In both cases the evaluation is based on the progress of the thesis project (Reseach Plan) and the doctoral activities carried out during the academic year.
    Thesis Defense Thesis defense can be carried out throughout the academic year.

    Applications for admission are subject to review by the Academic Committee of the Ph.D. programs, who evaluate the academic background and curriculum vitae of the candidates, as well as their interests and/or research experience. According to art. 6 of the PhD studies regulation (RD 99/2011), in order to access the Program it is required to have a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and a Master's degree (or equivalent), provided that at least 300 ECTS credits have been passed in these two cycles as a whole, or the equivalent degree qualifies for level 3 of MECES (Marco Español de Cualificaciones para la Educación Superior, Spanish Framework for Higher Education Qualifications).

    Likewise, access is available to candidates in possession of foreign degrees from countries integrated into the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) when the degree can be accredited as level 7 in the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), as long as the aforementioned degree allows access to PhD level studies in the country of expedition; and candidates with a degree which is equivalent to a Spanish Master's degree, obtained in foreign education systems outside the EHEA, as long as the aforementioned degree allows access to PhD level studies in the country of expedition.

    Ph.D. programs may establish additional admission requirements in their specific terms of access.

    - Applications for admission for the second semester of the 23/24 academic year with start date on the 30th of March 2024 can be submitted from September 1st 2023 through January 31st 2024 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)*

    - Applications for admission for the first semester of the 24/25 academic year with start date on the 15th of November 2024 can be submitted from February 1st through August 31st 2024 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)*.

    *Except where noted in the details of each Ph.D. Program.

    Scholarship or Financial Aid Applicants

    As a general rule, Ph.D. scholarship granting bodies require candidates to submit proof of eligibility for doctoral studies as part of their application process. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to apply for our Ph.D. programs in advance. Please check the specific requirements of each awarding organization.

    Admission and enrollment on a Ph.D. program is required for all scholarship recipients prior to acceptance of the award and the signing of your contract as a training researcher (when applicable).

    • Enroll now  Access the enrollment platform and download our guides to help you through the process


    Enrollment period for new students

    • Students starting in the first semester: July 17 through 31, and September 1 through 30 (23:59 h., Peninsular Spanish time) 
    • Students starting in the second semester: March 1 through 30 (23:59 h., Peninsular Spanish time) 

    Students starting in the second semester will benefit from a reduced tuition fee. A full fee will be applied in subsequent years. 

    Enrollment period for continuing students

    • All continuing students must renew their enrollment from September 1 through 30 (23:59 h., Peninsular Spanish time)

    Industrial Ph.D.

    Learn about the specific requirements for an  Industrial Ph.D.  (Doctorado Industrial)


    If you are eligible for an exemption on your enrollment, you are required to submit to your PhD administrator the certifications of said exemptions, such as scholarships or financial aids, Large Family status, disability, victim of terrorism (including spouses or children), or orphans of civil and military servants who perished in the line of duty. These documents must be valid for the entire academic year for which the exemption is requested. 

    • Administration
    • Monitoring and annual Assessment


      The Academic Committee of your Ph.D. program will assess the progress of your thesis project (Research Plan) and activities carried out on an annual basis. The evaluation will take place in June.


    • Training

      Complementary training

      Applicable only to students whose terms of admission establish this training as a requirement. The Academic Committee will determine the credit-based courses or subjects (maximum: 30 ECTS) in the admission resolution. As a general rule, this training must be taken during the first year. 


      Specific training

      Additionally, students are expected to participate in a number of activities relevant to their field of research: seminars, meetings, conferences, courses, etc. These activities may require prior enrollment at uc3m. Your tutor or advisor will confirm the contents of your specific training program.


      Research skills training

      Some Ph.D. Programs at UC3M require the completion of cross-curricular training credits throughout the Ph.D. Cross-curricular training focuses on abilities common to all disciplines (communication, academic writing, stress management, among others). These credits can be completed at either UC3M or other institutions and require enrollment at UC3M and the approval of the Ph.D. tutor or advisor in all cases.



    • International Mobility


      Undertaking a period of research abroad as part of your Ph.D. training is a requirement for Doctorado Internacional distinction eligibility.

      Prior approval by the Academic Committee of your program is required before applying to our international mobility program. Once you have completed your period as a visiting researcher , you must submit proof of research work and outcomes of your visit.

      Further details on  International mobility and 'Doctorado Internacional' distinction


    The thesis must be validated by your tutor and advisor and meet the quality and format standards established by the Academic Committee of the program.

    To ensure compliance with the principles established in the Code of Good Practice for Managing Plagiarism of Ph.D. Theses of the Doctoral School, all theses must be subjected to a plagiarism management procedure prior to the authorization of the defense.

    As a general rule, you must have been enrolled on your Ph.D. program for at least 24 months before initianing thesis defense proceedings. The Academic Committee will establish the requirements for the public review of your thesis and propose the members of the thesis committee. The Doctoral School Board is to approve this proposal and authorize the defense. Theses are defended during a public session, in the language commonly used for scientific communication in the field, in which they are subjected to assessment by an expert committee.

    Thesis defense: Frequently Asked Questions

    FAQ Thesis Defense (Guide)

    FAQ Thesis Defense (link)

    Stages of the defense process


    RD 576/2023 has modified the PhD regulations (RD 99/2011) and has introduced ONE NEW STEP (see Arts. 13 and 14): All theses to be defecded from October 1, 2024, will require, as a previous step, the report of two reviewers, external to the Uc3m

    Nuevo procedimiento

    Modelo de Informe

    1. Plagiarism management
    2. Thesis deposit
    3. Defense session. Appointment of Committee members
    4. Act of thesis defense
    5. Videodefense

    Further proceedings