¿Cuáles son los requisitos para hacer un doctorado en España?

The doctorate itself is a university academic degree, is the last and most important academic title awarded by a university or another institution authorized to do so. Whoever obtains this diploma is called a doctor. Here are the requirements for doing a doctorate.


Requirements to do a PhD

Doctoral studies constitute thethird cycle of university studies after general degree and master’s degree. For this reason, the main requirement to access this program is the degree of bachelor, master or equivalent. The most common requirements for performing a PhD in Spain are as follows:

  • Have a official Spanish university degree or 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 at least 300 credits, of which at least 60 at the master’s level.
  • Have an official undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Spanish, the permanence of which is in accordance with the rules of Community law, and which is stated in it at least 300 ECT creditsS. These graduates must carry out the training elements explained in article 7.2 of the current legislation.

Graduates who, before obtaining recognition in scientific training in health, have stood out with an effective assessment that attests at least two years of training in the specialty of Health Sciences.

  • He holds a doctorate in Spanish obtained according to previous university studies.
  • Having a diploma obtained in foreign educational techniques, with prior certification from the university that authorizes a level of training similar to the master’s degree at the Spanish public university. In addition, the diploma in the country that issues the certification entitles you to access doctoral studies. This certification does not imply confirmation of the title or the recognition of other possibilities than access to PhD programs.
  • Be a doctoral student in accordance with previous university regulations, with prior acceptance by the corresponding university, as established in the Royal Decree and in the legislation of the university itself.
  • In the case of Graduates, Engineers or Architects who have an Advanced Studies Diploma obtained in accordance with the provisions of current legislation and who have achieved broad investigative qualities, as required in the study plan.


Documents to enroll in the doctorate

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

  • College degree Official degree, Architect, Engineer or Doctor, or equivalent, issued by a Spanish university or approved or declared equivalent by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport at the aforementioned degrees.
  • Official diploma from the Spanish university, or from another country that is a member of the European Higher Education Area, which allows access to a Master’s degree, having been approved (not recognized) a minimum of 300 ECTS credits in the set of official university studies, of which at least 60 must be Master Level.
  • Official graduation in Spanish, whose duration, in accordance with the rules of Community law, is at least 300 ECTS credits.
  • University graduates who passed with a positive evaluation at least two years of internship in an official degree program in one of the specialties in Health Sciences (MIR, BIR, FIR, etc.).
  • Degree obtained according to foreign educational systems outside the European Higher Education Area, without the need for homologation, with prior rectoral authorization (verification by the university that the level of education is equivalent to that of the official University Master and that allows access to the doctorate in the country of issue).
  • Advanced Studies Diploma obtained under the terms of Royal Decree 778/1998, of April 30, or having reached the investigative sufficiency regulated in Royal Decree 185/1985, of January 23.
  • Official university degree who obtained the level 3 correspondence of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education.

Doctorate cost in Spain

The costs of these study programs, including all phases, may depend on the university and the Autonomous Community where it is studied. When a student enrolls, he must bear the cost of academic tutoring, in this case 259.61 euros, as well as exam fees, which confer the right to defend the thesis and which are 152.93 euros; as stipulated in RD 99/2011.


Where to do a doctorate in Spain?

The most relevant universities specializing in the achievement of academic doctorates in Spain are the following:

  • Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB): UAB has more than 65 doctoral programs implemented and verified with the Royal Doctorate Decree 99/2011, divided into 5 areas of interest: Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences and Engineering.
  • Universia: 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 university dean or by mutual agreement between deans, in the case of joint programs.
  • Rey Juan Carlos University: PhDs 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): PhDs are offered in Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

What is a PhD?

The doctorate is understood as the third cycle of official university studies, which lead to the acquisition of competences and skills related to high-quality scientific research. These are, in themselves, the higher studies that lead to obtaining the title of Doctor, the highest academic qualification that can be obtained.

Types of PhD

Universally, there are five doctoral modalities, which are understood in:

  • Research Doctorate: To obtain a doctorate in research, it is necessary to defend a thesis based on totally original research, which is usually carried out in a period of three to six years, depending on the country.
  • Higher Doctorate: It is mainly attributed as a distinction to a recognized personality; higher doctorates are also awarded honoris causa, when a university wishes to formally recognize contributions and achievements for a given field.
  • Professional Doctorate: Professional doctorates are awarded in certain fields where research on schooling is closely linked to a specific profession, such as law, medicine or psychology. Some examples include the Doctor of Medicine degrees in the USA and Canada, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Pediatric Medicine (DPM), Doctor of Physiotherapy or Physiotherapy (DPT or DFT), Doctor of Chiropractic, among others.
  • Honorary Doctorate: When a university formally wishes to recognize an individual contribution to a particular field or philanthropic endeavor, it can be chosen to award an honorary doctorate, commonly known as «for the sake of honor»).

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


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

An example of this is the degree of Professor Sacrae Theologiae (STP), which was awarded by the Pontifical University in its different locations. This degree is now entitled Sacrae Theologiae Doctor (STD) according to usual modern practices.

Aspects to take into consideration to do a doctorate

To access doctoral studies, it is necessary to have the diploma required for such studies. In addition, it is recommended to have some experience in the work area, so that success is guaranteed. In turn, some general aspects must be taken into account, including:

  • Doctorate price: The costs of these study programs, including all phases, may depend on the university and the Autonomous Community where it is studied. When the student signs up, he / she must assume the school guidance expenses (259.61 euros), as well as the exam fees, which confer 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, few people come to defend the research work, representing the successful culmination of this high academic level.
  • Doctorates are generally focused on teaching and professional research in different scientific areas.

PhD duration

According to the criteria provided for in the regulations in force, the maximum duration of doctoral programs will be determined based on the student’s time of dedication:

  • Full-time students: they 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 there is authorization from the academic committee responsible for the Doctoral Program.

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Daniel Martínez
Daniel Martínez
Como recién graduado, me encantaría poder entrar a formar parte de una empresa en la que poder aplicar todos mis conocimientos y, al mismo tiempo, que me permita desarrollarme profesionalmente. Gracias a mi formación especializada, considero que puedo aportar valor y seguir desarrollándome profesionalmente en una compañía que coincida con mis valores y expectativas.

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