What are the requirements to do a doctorate in Spain?

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The doctorate itself is a university academic degree, is the last and most important academic degree conferred by a university or another institution authorized to do so. Who obtains this degree is called doctor or doctor. Here are the requirements to do a PhD.

Requirements to do a PhD

Doctoral studies constitute the tthird cycle of university studies after the general degree and the master. For this reason, the main requirement to access this program is to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree or its equivalent. The most common requirements to perform a PhD in Spain are the following:

  • have a official Spanish university degree or from a study house located in any of the countries belonging to the European Union. This must be qualified as a Master as established in article 16 of the Royal Decree. To do a doctorate without a master’s degree, it will be necessary to have passed a minimum of 300 credits, of which at least 60 are at the Master’s level.
  • Have an official Spanish degree of Graduate or Graduate, whose permanence conforms to the guidelines of community law, and that this contains at least 300 ECT creditsS. These graduates must compulsorily take the training elements that are explicit in article 7.2 of the legislation in force.

Those university graduates who, prior to obtaining recognition in scientific health training, have stood out with an effective assessment that certifies at least two years of training in the specialty of Health Sciences.

  • Possess a Spanish PhD degree obtained according to previous university studies.
  • Have a degree achieved in foreign educational techniques, with prior certification from the university that authorizes a level of training similar to that of the Spanish public title of Master’s Degree. In addition, that the title in the country that issues the certification empowers you to access doctoral studies. This certification will not imply confirmation of the title or recognition of other possibilities than access to PhD programs.
  • Be a doctoral student in accordance with previous university provisions, with prior acceptance from the corresponding university, as established in the Royal Decree and in the legislation of the university itself.
  • In cases of Graduates, Engineers or Architects who have an Advanced Studies Diploma obtained in accordance with the provisions of current legislation, and who have achieved extensive research qualities, as required in the study plan.

Documents to enroll in PhD

To access a doctoral preparation in Spain, one of the following documents must be provided:

  • College degree Official Graduate, Architect, Engineer or PhD degree, or equivalent to them, issued by a Spanish university or approved or declared equivalent by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports to said titles.
  • Official Spanish university degreeor from another country that is a member of the European Higher Education Area, which qualifies for access to a Master’s degree, having passed (not recognized) a minimum of 300 ECTS credits in the set of official university studies, of which at least 60 must be Master’s level.
  • Official Spanish title of Graduatewhose duration, in accordance with Community law regulations, is at least 300 ECTS credits.
  • University graduates who have passed with a positive evaluation at least two years of training in a program to obtain an official degree in one of the specialties in Health Sciences (MIR, BIR, FIR, etc.).
  • Title obtained according to foreign educational systems outside the European Higher Education Areawithout the need for homologation, prior authorization from the rector (verification by the university that the level of training is equivalent to that of the official Master’s Degree and that it authorizes access to a doctorate in the issuing country).
  • Advanced Studies diploma obtained in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 778/1998, of April 30, or having reached the investigative adequacy regulated in Royal Decree 185/1985, of January 23.
  • official university degree that has obtained correspondence to level 3 of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education.

PhD cost in Spain

The costs of these study programs including all phases, may depend on the university and the Autonomous Community where the course is taken. When a student enrolls, she must assume the cost of academic tutoring, in this case of 259.61 eurosas well as the exam fees, which grant the right to defend the thesis and which are of €152.93; as stipulated in RD 99/2011.

Where to do a doctorate in Spain?

The most relevant universities specialized in the realization of academic doctorates in Spain are the following:

  • Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB): The UAB has more than 65 doctoral programs implemented and verified with the Royal Decree of Doctorate 99/2011, divided into 5 areas of interest: Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences and Engineering.
  • universia: they are divided into two cycles: one of studies of at least 60 credits that can be part of the master’s cycle; and another for research that culminates in the public defense of an original research work (the doctoral thesis), by the student.
  • Sevilla University: Each doctoral program is organized, designed and coordinated by an Academic Committee responsible for its training and research activities. Likewise, it has a coordinator appointed by the rector of the university or by agreement between rectors in the case of joint programs.
  • King Juan Carlos University: Doctorates are offered in Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
  • University of Salamanca: academic doctorates are offered in Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
  • Complutense University of Madrid (UCM): Doctorates are offered in Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

What is a PhD?

Doctorate is understood as the third cycle of official university studies, which lead to the acquisition of skills and abilities related to high-quality scientific research. It is in itself, higher studies that lead to obtaining the title of Doctor, the highest academic degree that can be obtained.

PhD Types

Universally, there are five types of doctorates, which are comprised of:

  • Research PhD: To obtain a doctorate in research, it is necessary to defend a thesis based on totally original research. Such research usually takes place in a period of between three and six years, depending on the country.
  • higher doctorate: Awarded primarily as a distinction to a recognized personality, higher doctorates are frequently also awarded honoris causa, when a university wishes to formally recognize contributions and achievements to a particular field.
  • Professional Doctorate: professional doctorates are awarded in certain fields where the scholarship’s research is closely aligned with a particular profession, such as law, medicine, or psychology. Examples include the US and Canadian Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Pediatric Medicine (DPM), Doctor of Physical Therapy or Physiotherapy (DPT or DFT), Doctor Chiropractor, among others.
  • Honorary Doctorate: when a university wishes to formally recognize an individual contribution to a particular field or philanthropic effort, it may be chosen to award an honorary doctoral degree, commonly known as «for the sake of honor»).

The university omits the usual formal requirements for the granting of the degree. Some universities do not grant honorary degrees, for example: Cornell University, University of Virginia, California Institute of Technology, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Teacher as a higher grade: in modern times, the status of professor is received as a recognition of academic excellence, equivalent to an honorary doctorate, but this is not a degree per se. However, in times past, the term professor was sometimes awarded as a degree, being an extreme rarity among academic degrees.

An example of this is the degree of Sacrae Theologiae Professor (STP), which was awarded by the Pontifical University in its different locations. This degree is now titled Sacrae Theologiae Doctor (STD) in accordance with modern usual practice.

Aspects to take into account to do a doctorate

Access to doctoral studies requires having the qualification required for such studies. In addition, it is recommended to have some experience in the labor field, so that success is guaranteed. At the same time, some general aspects must be taken into account, among them:

  • Price of a PhD: The costs of these study programs, including all phases, may depend on the university and the Autonomous Community where the course is taken. When a student enrolls, they must assume the cost of academic tutoring (259.61 euros), as well as the exam fees, which grant the right to defend the thesis and which are 152.93 euros; as stipulated in RD 99/2011.
  • The hardness of the studies: Due to the high level of demand, very few defend the research work, representing the successful completion of this high academic level.
  • PhDs are generally focused on teaching and professional research in different scientific areas.

PhD duration

According to the criteria included in current regulations, the maximum duration of doctoral programs will be determined based on the time spent by the student:

  • Full-time students: will have 3 years for the defense of the thesis.
  • Part-time students: they will have 5 years for the defense of the thesis, provided they have the authorization of the academic committee responsible for the Doctoral Program.

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