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The adaptation of official courses to the European Higher Education Area began in 2005 with the approval of Royal Decrees 55/2005 and 56/2005, respectively, which established the framework for the design of the official postgraduate programmes, consisting of masters and doctorate programmes.
Organic Law 4/2007 of 12 April, which amended Organic Law 6/2001 of 21 December, concerning universities, defined doctoral studies as the studies in the third cycle of official university courses, leading to obtaining the official doctorate qualification, which is official and valid throughout Spain.
Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, which provided for the organization of official university studies, subsequently developed the regulatory framework for university courses and established new regulations for doctoral studies.
The regulation of doctoral studies culminated in the approval of Royal Decree 99/2011 of 28 January, which regulates official doctoral courses and was a further step forward in the development of the regulatory framework for doctorates, as it exclusively regulates the organization of doctoral studies.
Among the main new features of Royal Decree 99/2011 are the regulation of doctoral schools and the establishment of academic committees for doctoral programmes, the research plan, the doctoral student's activities document and the code of good practices.
Law 14/2011 of 1 June, concerning science, technology and innovation, recently amended some articles of Organic Law 6/2001 of 21 December, concerning universities, while making statutory provision for the creation of doctoral schools and including them within the structure of universities.
Given this new regulatory framework governing doctoral studies, and in view of the fact that universities are responsible for regulating certain aspects of them, it has become necessary to adapt the regulations governing doctoral studies at Pompeu Fabra University. To that end, on 13 July 2011 the Board of Governors agreed to create the Pompeu Fabra University Doctoral School and approve its regulations, and anticipated its work beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year.
These new academic regulations, which are designed to regulate specific aspects regarding which Royal Decree 99/2011 confers regulatory authority on the University, are also being created in accordance with the provisions of Article 158.2 of the Statutes of Pompeu Fabra University. The aim of this is first, to create a high level of flexibility in each doctoral programme, given the special characteristics of each one, and the variety of needs and training and research methods in the different fields of knowledge; and second, to support UPF's commitment to becoming a leading European university in terms of quality, internationalization and links to research.
SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 1. Purpose
This purpose of these regulations is to regulate the doctorate taught at the Pompeu Fabra University Doctoral School, which is governed by Royal Decree 99/2011 of 28 January, which regulates official doctoral courses.
SECTION 2. ADMISSION AND REGISTRATION
Article 2. Access and admission
2.1. Access and admission requirements
Students meeting the admission requirements stipulated in the regulations in force, and the additional requirements or criteria for admission or selection that have been approved by the academic committee of each doctoral programme, which must be recorded in the verification report of the doctoral programme concerned, are eligible for the studies leading to the qualification of doctorate.
2.2. Competent bodies
The Doctoral School is responsible for the admission of applicants to doctoral studies through the academic committee of the doctoral programme.
2.3. Submission of applications
The University will make a single call for admission, in which eligible candidates who meet the access and admission requirements referred to in paragraph 6.1 may participate, as well as those candidates who despite not yet meeting them, anticipate meeting them by the start date of academic activity.
If a public price has been established for participation in the admission procedure, evidence of payment of this sum is a prerequisite for participation.
When submitting the application for admission, candidates must attach documentation certifying their compliance with the access and admission requirements, as well as those aspects which have been subject to assessment.
Final admission is subject to accreditation of compliance with the access and admission requirements on the first day of the academic year.
2.5. Assessment of admission applications for access
When the demand for places on a doctoral programme exceeds those available, priority will be given to applications based on the assessment criteria established by each doctoral programme in the approved verification report.
The academic committee of each doctoral programme will be responsible for establishing the selection procedure.
Article 3. Registration
Doctoral students must complete the registration process for the academic supervision of the doctorate every year, and pay the relevant public prices, within the deadlines established by the university and in accordance with the provisions of the regulations governing registration at Pompeu Fabra University. They must also register in the academic year in which the thesis is deposited.
Doctoral students taking doctoral studies with a foreign qualification from outside the European Higher Education Area that has not been officially recognized must pay the appropriate public price for the equivalence study.
The University's acceptance of the registration is conditional upon the accuracy of the details contained in the application, the doctoral student's compliance with the requirements stipulated in the regulations for access and admission to the doctorate, and full payment in the manner and within the deadlines established.
Any doctoral students failing to register within the deadlines and in the manner established by the University will be withdrawn from the programme.
3.2. Withdrawal of registration by doctoral students
Doctoral students may withdraw their registration within two months of the registration date.
The doctoral student's presentation of the registration within the deadline and payment of the registration fee in full is a prerequisite for acceptance of the withdrawal. Once the withdrawal has been accepted, it shall take effect from the date of the doctoral student's withdrawal application.
In academic terms, the acceptance of the withdrawal of registration has the same effects as if the doctoral student had not registered. Withdrawal of registration by the doctoral student will not lead to any refund of the sum paid to that end under any circumstances.
3.3. Other aspects of registration
The regulations of this university concerning the financial aspects of registration for official courses are applicable to prices, discounts, payment methods, modifications, withdrawals and refunds of the fees.
SECTION 3. WORKLOAD OF DOCTORAL STUDENTS
Article 4. Full-time or part-time studies by the doctoral student
4.1. The ordinary regime for undertaking doctoral studies is on a full-time basis. However, at the request of the doctoral student, the academic committee of the doctoral programme may authorize the doctoral student to take the course on a part-time basis, in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of Royal Decree 99/2011.
4.2. Applications for part-time studies must be submitted to the doctoral programme's academic committee in the manner and within the deadlines established by that committee.
4.3. The change from full-time to part-time dedication must be requested before the end of the three-year deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis. Under no circumstances can it be requested during the period of enjoyment of any of the extensions provided for in Article 15.
SECTION 4. SUPERVISION AND MONITORING OF THE DOCTORAL STUDENT
Article 5. Assignment of a tutor and thesis supervisor
5.1. After their admission to the doctoral program, the academic committee of the doctoral programme will assign a tutor to each doctoral student, who will be a doctor with accredited research experience related to the unit or school organizing the programme.
5.2. Each doctoral student will be assigned a thesis supervisor within the period established by the regulations in force as of the time of enrolment.
The thesis supervisor must be a doctor, either Spanish or otherwise, with accredited research experience, regardless of the university, centre or institution where he/she works. In exceptional circumstances, the thesis may be supervised by doctors who are not linked to research institutions, subject to prior authorization from the Doctoral School's Management Committee.
The doctoral student may apply for a change of thesis supervisor to the academic committee of the doctoral programme. The committee may change the appointment of the thesis supervisor, after prior consultation with the applicant, the thesis supervisor and the doctor it proposes as a new supervisor, provided that it does do on justifiable grounds and there is no disagreement. In the event of disagreement, the case will be put before the Management Committee of the Doctoral School.
Article 6. Joint doctoral thesis supervision
The doctoral thesis may be co-supervised by two or more doctors when there are academic reasons that warrant this, such as those with an interdisciplinary subject matter, subject to prior authorization from the academic committee of the doctoral programme. This authorization may subsequently be withdrawn if in the opinion of the academic committee of the doctoral program, the joint supervision does not benefit the development of the thesis.
Article 7. The doctoral student's activities document
7.1. After registering on the programme, the personalised activities documents will be written for each doctoral student, and must contain all the activities relevant to the development of the doctoral student, as agreed by the academic committee of the doctoral programme.
7.2. This document must be reviewed regularly by the tutor and the thesis supervisor, and evaluated by the academic committee responsible for the doctoral programme.
Article 8. The doctoral student's research plan
Before the end of the first year, starting on the date of first registration, doctoral students must produce their Research Plan, including the methodology, objectives, resources and planning for the production of their thesis. This research plan will be completed during the doctoral student's time in the programme, and must be endorsed by the tutor and the thesis supervisor when submitted for evaluation.
Article 9. Document of commitment
The doctoral student, the university, the tutor and the thesis supervisor shall sign a document of commitment setting out the supervision tasks relating to doctoral students. This commitment, which must be signed as soon as possible once the thesis supervisor has been appointed, must include the procedure for resolving disputes, and must provide for issues relating to intellectual or industrial property rights arising in the doctoral programmes.
Article 10. Annual assessment of the doctoral student
10.1. The academic committee of each doctoral programme must establish mechanisms to ensure the quality of the theses during the production process (public exposition in seminars, prior publication in journals of recognized prestige, external reports, etc.).
10.2. The doctoral programme's academic committee will evaluate the Research Plan, the activities document and the reports of the thesis supervisor and the tutor every year. A positive assessment is a prerequisite for continuing in the doctoral programme. A negative assessment on justifiable grounds will lead to the doctoral student being re-assessed within six months of the previous assessment, and he/she must produce a new research plan to that end. In the event of a further negative assessment, the doctoral student will be withdrawn from the programme on a permanent basis.
SECTION 5. THE DOCTORAL THESIS
Article 11. Contents of the doctoral thesis
11.1. The doctoral thesis must consist of an original piece of research in one of the research lines of the doctoral programme.
11.2. The doctoral thesis may be composed of a compendium of works obtained from the doctoral student’s own research. In this case, the doctoral thesis must include a report which presents the thesis defended, with an introductory chapter and final conclusions.
The works referred to above must have been realized after the first registration in the doctoral programme and in accordance with its research plan.
Article 12. Annual information on doctoral theses
The academic committee of each doctoral programme must report annually to the Doctoral School's Management Committee on the progress of the doctoral theses of all its doctoral students. This information may refer to all the doctoral theses in each doctoral programme.
Article 13. Language of writing and defence of the doctoral thesis
The thesis may be written and defended in any of the languages commonly used in scientific communication in the relevant field of knowledge. If the language of writing and defence of the thesis is not Catalan, Spanish or English, the doctoral student must notify the academic committee of the doctoral programme of this beforehand.
Article 14. Co-tutoring
14.1. The University will promote initiatives that enhance the international dimension of doctoral theses by the bodies responsible for postgraduate programmes, and will establish the appropriate systems for their recognition if necessary. Moreover, in certain cases it may propose that a doctoral thesis is produced under joint supervision with another international institution, by establishing conventions or agreements, in accordance with the regulations in force at Pompeu Fabra University.
14.2. The academic committee of the doctoral program is responsible for authorizing the joint supervision of doctoral theses.
Article 15. Deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis
15.1. Deadlines and extensions
The doctoral thesis must be deposited before the end of the third academic year, or the fifth in the case of part-time doctoral students, since the doctoral student enrolled. If after this period of three or five years, as appropriate, the doctoral student has not submitted the application to deposit the thesis, the Academic Committee responsible for the doctoral programme may authorize an extension of one year, or two years in the case of part-time doctoral students, which may exceptionally be extended for one further year, under the conditions set out in the doctoral degree programme. If in this last period the doctoral student does not deposit their doctoral thesis, they will be de-registered from the programme.
15.2. Situations of leave due to health reasons or related to maternity or paternity
If the doctoral student is incapacitated due to health reasons (including risk during pregnancy), the deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis will be extended as follows:
If the doctoral student has an employment contract, it will be extended by the length of time during which the student is on sick leave.
If the doctoral student has no employment contract, it will be extended by the length of time established by a committee set up specifically for each situation. To avoid conflicts of interest, in no case will the coordinator of the doctoral programme or any person linked to the programme sit on such committee. The committee will request, among other documents, the medical report, a report from the thesis supervisor and a report from the doctoral programme coordinator.
In the case of maternity, paternity, adoption or fostering, the deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis will be extended by the maximum recognized by labour legislation as a “rest period or leave to employees”.
15.3. Situations of voluntary, temporary interruption
Doctoral students can apply for voluntary, temporary interruption, for a maximum period of one year, extendible by up to one more year. This request must be approved by the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee which will evaluate the need to request the corresponding report from the doctoral thesis supervisor.
Voluntary, temporary interruption must be requested before the end of the three-year (full-time students) or the five-year (part-time students) deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis. Under no circumstances can it be requested during the period of enjoyment of the extensions provided for in Article 15.1.
Article 16. Depositing the doctoral thesis
16.1. Once the doctoral thesis is prepared, the doctoral student must deposit it in the place and manner established by the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee in accordance with the deposit procedure established by the Doctoral School.
16.2. The application for deposit must be accompanied by a favourable report from the thesis supervisor, which must be comprehensive; a copy of the doctoral thesis printed on paper compliant with the conditions determined by the Doctoral School Steering Committee; a copy of the thesis in electronic form, and a statement of thesis authorship.
16.3. The Doctoral Programme Academic Committee will then proceed, in view of the documentation submitted, to authorize the deposit of the doctoral thesis or not. If it does not authorize it, the Committee will provide express justification to the doctoral student and to the thesis supervisor as to the reasons for its decision.
16.4. The Doctoral Programme Academic Committee will notify of the deposit of the thesis so that it may be disseminated, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 19. The doctoral thesis will be deposited for seven working days, starting on the day following the date of deposit, so that doctors can examine it and, if applicable, address a letter to the Doctoral School with the considerations they deem appropriate.
16.5. Thesis consultation will take place under conditions that preserve its originality and the confidentiality of its content. To this end, access may only be gained by persons accrediting the status of doctor, the time of consultation will be limited, and a specific space will be enabled to conduct this procedure.
16.6. In the case of doctoral theses in which companies participate with which confidentiality agreements have been signed or doctoral theses that may generate patents, the University, through its Doctoral School, will establish the necessary mechanisms and procedures to ensure that the authorization of the deposit of the thesis is carried out with all the necessary safeguards of confidentiality.
Article 17. Doctoral thesis board
17.1. Proposed panel
The thesis supervisor will forward to the Doctoral School Steering Committee, via the medium enabled by the Doctoral School for such purpose, a proposal for the thesis panel, which will be approved by the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee. The Academic Committee will provide the Doctoral School Steering Committee with all of the documentation generated by the doctoral thesis assessment procedure, for processing. The Academic Committee may establish a deadline for the supervisor to arrange the proposed panel.
The proposed panel must include three members and two alternates, all holding a doctoral degree and accredited research experience, the majority of whom must be from outside the University and the institutions collaborating in the doctoral programme. The panel must not contain more than two members of the same university or institution. When an alternate is required at the reading ceremony, preference must be given, where appropriate, to someone who allows the panel to continue to be composed of members from different universities and institutions.
Neither the doctoral thesis supervisor nor the tutor can sit on the panel, except in cases where the theses are presented within the framework of bilateral joint supervision agreements with foreign universities that provide for this possibility.
This proposal must be accompanied by a suitability report on each of the five members proposed vis-à-vis the subject of the thesis. If the thesis supervisor does not submit the proposed composition of the panel within the period mentioned, the Doctoral School Steering Committee will proceed to appoint the panel under the terms established in this Article.
17.2. Approval and appointment of the panel
The Doctoral School Steering Committee shall appoint a chair, a secretary and a member from among the members of the incumbent panel, as well as a first alternate and a second alternate. In the event that any incumbent member of the panel were to decline for just cause, they will be replaced by the first alternate, or alternatively, the second alternate.
17.3. Confidentiality of panel members
In cases of doctoral theses in which companies participate with which confidentiality agreements have been signed or doctoral theses that may generate patents, the University, through its Doctoral School, will establish the necessary mechanisms and procedures to ensure that the panel members keep the content of the doctoral thesis confidential.
17.4. Right of attendance
The members of the panel from outside Pompeu Fabra University may request financial consideration by way of payment for services, based on the established regulations.
Article 18. Defence and grading of the doctoral thesis
18.1. Deadline to defend the thesis
The deadline to defend the thesis is six months from the time the doctoral thesis panel is appointed. The Academic Committee of each doctoral programme may authorize an extension of this term when there is due cause.
18.2. Convocation of the defence proceedings
The thesis defence proceedings shall be convened by the president of the panel, and the secretary shall inform the Doctoral School's Management Committee of the date on which it is to take place, with sufficient advance notice.
18.3. The defence proceedings
The thesis defence proceedings must take place in public within the academic period established for the reading of theses, between July and September, inclusive, without prejudice to the stipulations of Article 19.
The proceedings must consist of the doctoral student's exposition of the research work carried out, the methodology used, the contents and conclusions, with special reference to the original contributions.
The members of the board may ask the doctoral student any questions they deem appropriate. Likewise, the doctors present in the public defence proceedings may ask questions at the time and in the manner stipulated by the president of the panel.
18.4. Grading the doctoral thesis
The members of the panel will issue a report and grade the thesis globally under the terms established by the applicable regulations. The panel may propose that the thesis be awarded the distinction of cum laude, if the secret vote is unanimous in this regard. Once the doctoral thesis defence session has finalized, the counting of the votes in favour of the distinction of cum laude must be carried out in a different procedure.
Article 19. Publication of the doctoral thesis
19.1. Once it has been passed, the doctoral thesis will be archived electronically and in open access format in the TDX repository (Theses and Dissertations Online). The Doctoral School will send the Ministry of Education a copy of the thesis in electronic format, as well as any additional information that is necessary for the appropriate purposes.
19.2. In cases where, in accordance with Article 14.6 of Royal Decree 99/2011, the Academic Committee has envisaged the possibility of partially restricting the publication of the thesis, the doctoral student must inform the Doctoral School of this and must provide a copy of the thesis from which the issues that are subject to special protection have been removed and a full text copy, which in compliance with the mandatory rules, will be kept in the University Archive. This copy will remain confidential throughout the term agreed to by the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee.
SECTION 6. THE DOCTORAL DIPLOMA AND THE DOCTORAL THESIS SPECIAL AWARD
Article 20. The doctoral diploma
After the defence of the thesis has been approved, the doctoral student may apply for a doctoral diploma from Pompeu Fabra University.
Article 21. International mention in the doctoral diploma
The doctoral diploma may include on the obverse the words "international doctor," provided that the provisions of Article 15 of Royal Decree 99/2011 are complied with.
Article 22. Special awards for doctoral theses
The academic committee of the doctoral programme may submit a proposal for a Special Award for a Doctoral Thesis to the Doctoral School's Management Committee. The academic committee of each doctoral programme may request one special award be granted for every ten doctoral theses read.
ADDITIONAL PROVISION. Accredited research experience
Whenever herein accredited research experience is required, it will be understood as being such as determined by the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee
FIRST TRANSITORY PROVISION. DOCTORAL STUDENTS SUBJECT TO PREVIOUS REGULATIONS
1. Doctoral students who have begun doctoral studies under previous regulations are subject to the provisions regulating the doctorate and the issuing of the doctoral diploma that were in force at the time when they began their studies. In any event, the regulations governing the board, the defence and assessment of the doctoral thesis stipulated in Royal Decree 99/2011 are applicable to those students one year after their entry into force.
2. Unless the Regulations governing continuance on doctoral studies at Pompeu Fabra University stipulate a different period, those pursuing doctoral studies on the entry into force of Royal Decree 99/2011 will have five years to present and defend their doctoral thesis. If this period of time elapses without these requirements having been met, the doctoral student will be declared to have been permanently withdrawn from the programme.
SECOND TRANSITORY PROVISION
During the period that the UPF Doctoral School is inoperative, the tasks assigned to the Doctorate School's Management Committee shall be performed by the Postgraduate and Doctorate Studies Committee.
SOLE OVERRIDING PROVISION
These regulations revoke the academic regulations for doctoral studies approved by the Board of Governors on 2 May 2007, and the Agreement of the Governing Council of 16 June 2010, concerning the composition of doctoral thesis boards.