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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.

    Calendar of the Academic Year: October 1 - September 30

      Period Dates


    According to start date of each semester

    Applications for admission for the first semester of the 21/22 academic year with start date on the 15th of November, 2021 can be submitted until the 31st of August, 2021 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)

    Applications for admission for the second semester of the 21/22 academic year with start date on the 30th of March, 2022, can be submitted until the 31st of January, 2022 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)*


    New students can choose when to start their Ph.D. training: 

    • First semester's start date: November 15
    • Second semester's start date: March 30

    Continuing students (second and subsequent years) must obligatorily enroll at the first semester of each academic year.

    Enrollment period for new students:

    • Students starting first semester: September 1st through 30th (23:59 h., Peninsular Spanish time)
    • Students starting second semester: March 1st through 31st (23:59 h., Peninsular Spanish time)

    Enrollment period for continuing students:

    • September 1st through 30th (23:59 h. Peninsular Spanish time)
    Monitoring and annual assessment

    The Academic Committee of each Ph.D. program will assess the progress of Ph.D. students on their research projects on an annual basis.

    Further information on  Ph.D. monitoring and annual assessment

    June: All Ph.D. students 

    December: Only Ph.D. students whose June evaluation was unfavorable

    Thesis defense

    Students can defend their Ph.D. theses at any time of the academic year (except for August).

    Official enrollment at the time of thesis defense is required. 

    Calendar of thesis defense approval




    All applications for admission are subjected 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. All applicants are expected to have official Bachelor's and Master's degrees (or equivalent), with a total 300 ECTS credits combined. A favorable review by the Academic Committee enables the applicant to get enrolled on the program.

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


    -Applications for admission for the first semester of the 21/22 academic year with start date on the 15th of November, 2021 can be submitted until the 31st of August, 2021 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)

    -Applications for admission for the second semester of the 21/22 academic year with start date on the 30th of March, 2022, can be submitted until the 31st of January, 2022 (Spanish peninsular time, CET)



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


      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 program


      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

    1. Plagiarism management
    2. Thesis deposit
    3. Defense session. Appointment of Committee members
    4. Act of thesis defense
    5. Videodefenses COVID-19


    Further proceedings