The PhD Student Selection Committee evaluates the application files and identifies the most promising ones. The composition and responsibilities of the Committee are defined as follows:

  1. The Committee consists of five members: the chair of the selection committee (who will lead the meeting) and three other professors selected in representation of different research lines in Political Science and Sociology. 

  2. It is the responsibility of the Academic Committee to appoint the members of the Selection Committee.

  3. The Selection Committee will meet twice a year to select students. The first round will take place at the end of the first pre-enrolment period established by UPF, and the second round will take place in June. Students can apply to either of the two rounds, or try again in the second round if they are not accepted in the first.

  4. The number of positions is decided each academic year. Currently we offer 15 places. There is no minimum number of students selected, and the selection committee may reject all applications if there are no qualified candidates.

  5. Only students whose thesis project fits into one of the Department's lines of research will be accepted. Check here the list of our Faculty and their research interests.


Please check the list of “Mandatory documents” and the official forms required for your submission. 


Selection criteria

The aim of this section is to provide basic guidance about the grading criteria used by the Selection Committee:

  • Curriculum Vitae (2 points): candidates are expected to have sufficient background in theory and research methodology relevant to their discipline and research project. All candidates must have a good level of English.
  • Thesis project (1.5 points): this should be 3,000 words maximum in length (this number includes footnotes and bibliography); it should indicate clearly and succinctly what you propose to research, how you propose to research it, and why this will be a significant contribution to a specific research field, including references to the existing literature. This is not binding on your part: if you are admitted, then we expect the design of your thesis to evolve. But you must demonstrate the basic coherence of your proposed thesis topic.

Recommended structure for the research proposal:

  1. TITLE: It should be concise and describe well the intended research topic.

  2. INTRODUCTION: What is the general problem that you want to address in your PhD thesis?

  3. JUSTIFICATION: What is the justification for this proposal? Why is it relevant? What is novel about the proposal?

  4. BACKGROUND: Include key references to the literature and its current limitations.

  5. OBJECTIVES: What specific question(s) does this proposal address? Which specific objectives does it have? Which hypotheses will be tested or raised?

  6. METHODS: How is the proposal supposed to achieve its objectives? With which data? With which research design and techniques of analysis?

The originality and feasibility of a PhD proposal play a crucial role in the initial pre-selection by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee also considers whether the Department can provide suitable supervision for the candidate taking into account the profile of the faculty and their research interests. Contacting your potential supervisor in advance is almost essential. Admissions decisions are strongly influenced by the individual faculty who will be supervising the admitted students.

  • Cover letter (1 point)

  • Two letters of recommendation (0.5 points)

The candidates with the highest grades will be short-listed as long as they obtain at least 3 points. In the second round of the selection procedure, the Committee may appoint additional candidates, ordered according to the grades obtained, who will automatically replace the selected ones in the event of withdrawals.