Academic regulations for doctoral studies
Official courses began to be adapted to the European Higher Education Area in 2005 with Royal Decrees 55/2005 and 56/2005, which established the framework for the design of postgraduate official programmes, consisting of master's degree courses and doctorates. In the same year, UPF began the process to start the official master's degree programmes. The design and regulation of a new doctorate model within the new structure of qualifications was left for a second phase that is now to be implemented.
The purpose of these regulations is first, to adapt postgraduate studies to the conditions established by the EHEA. The new context is an opportunity to consider in more depth the importance that this training period should have in a university like ours, which renowned for its focus on research and advanced training. To that end, measures have been established to ensure an effective monitoring of the progress of the thesis and guarantee an ongoing association between the doctoral student and the doctoral programme. Moreover, to make the doctorate compatible with other activities, it provides for both full-time and part-time work on the doctorate.
In short, the aim is for doctors from Pompeu Fabra University to be capable of joining competitive and prestigious institutions worldwide.
Article 1. Area of application
These regulations are applicable to postgraduate university studies leading to a doctorate governed by Royal Decree 56/2005 of 21 January, which regulates official university postgraduate studies.
Article 2. Admission
2.1. Admission requirements
Students meeting the general access requirements set out in the regulations and, where applicable, the specific requirements for the doctorate concerned, may be admitted to the studies leading to the doctorate.
Approval of the specific admission requirements for each doctorate is the responsibility of the board of governors of the body responsible for the programme, subject to a report from the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies.
2.2. Number of doctorate places
Admission to each doctorate is dependent on the number of places as determined by the Board of Governors or the Committee to which it delegates this task.
2.3. Competent bodies
The programme committee will be responsible for issues regarding the admission of applicants to doctoral studies.
2.4. Submission of applications
The University will make a single call for admission in which candidates who meet the general and specific access requirements can participate, as well as those candidates who do not meet them, but anticipate meeting them when academic work begins.
In cases where a sum has been established for participation in the admission procedure, documentary proof of payment of this sum is a prerequisite for participation therein.
Candidates must attach documentation accrediting the points subject to assessment when submitting the application for admission.
Final admission is contingent upon certification of compliance with the general and specific access requirements for the doctorates when academic work begins.
2.6. Assessment of applications for admission
When the demand for places on a doctorate exceeds supply, the assessment criteria approved by the board of governors of the body responsible for the programme will be applied in order to establish priority among the students who have applied for admission, subject to a report from the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies. These criteria will respect the principles of openness, equality, merit and ability at all times.
Students meeting the access requirements in June prior to the start of the academic year for which they apply for admission may be given priority.
When the procedure includes a test, applicants must pay the appropriate fee in order to be able to participate in it. Documentary proof of payment of this amount is necessary to be able to participate in the test.
The selection procedure will be undertaken by a selection committee appointed by agreement of the committee responsible for the postgraduate official programme to which the doctorate belongs, appointed by the rector, or the vice-rector delegated to that end. This committee will consist of at least three doctor lecturers from the scientific field of the doctorate, one of whom will be designated as president and another as secretary.
This committee will be responsible for selecting candidates, and resolving any issues arising from this process which are not assigned to another body.
The committee will announce the calendar of the selection process on the University's institutional website at least fifteen days in advance, indicating the publication date of the results and ensuring that the process has been completed before the start of the registration period established by the University.
The committee will publish the list of those admitted on the institutional website of Pompeu Fabra University. An administrative appeal against this decision may be made to the rector.
Article 3. Readmission
3.1. Students who have withdrawn from their studies at Pompeu Fabra University students due to failing to register for two consecutive academic years, or due to failing to register at the end of a break in their studies and who wish to resume the studies they have left, must apply for readmission.
The deadline for submitting the application will be established by the vice-rector responsible for official postgraduate studies.
The application for readmission must be accompanied by documentation accrediting the reasons behind the application for readmission.
Under no circumstances must the student have exhausted the Pompeu Fabra University continuance standards.
3.2. The programme committee will be responsible for deciding on applications for readmission, subject to assessment of the academic transcript of the studies left at Pompeu Fabra University, and the reasons given in the application, taking into account the availability and demand for places in the studies applied for.
Article 4. Registration
The student must formalize his/her application for registration as a doctoral student every academic year, within the deadlines established by the University, and pay the appropriate public fees.
The University's acceptance of the application is subject to the accuracy of the information provided in the application, the student's compliance with the requirements stipulated in the regulations to gain admittance to the doctorate, and payment in full in the manner and within the deadlines stipulated.
Once registration has taken place, the student will be issued with a card identifying him/her as a student at Pompeu Fabra University.
4.2. Items and prices
The amount to be paid by students is the result of applying the public fees approved by the Generalitat (government) of Catalonia in accordance with the powers conferred on it by the legislation in force.
The University may stipulate other prices for items approved by the Board of Trustees, in accordance with current regulations.
Students must pay the academic insurance where this is applicable to them according to the regulations in force.
4.3. Payment in instalments
The public fees for the credits registered for can be paid in one instalment, at the beginning of the academic year, or in two equal instalments, with the first payable on registration and the second during the second fortnight of December. The University may cancel registration on the grounds of non-payment of any of the instalments.
Students choosing to pay a registration fee in instalments must pay by direct debit.
4.4. Grants and exemptions
Students receiving a grant or who are beneficiaries of one of the exemptions from payment of the registration fee stipulated in the regulations must provide accreditation for this when completing their registration.
The conditions for entitlement to exemptions in the prices must be met on the date that academic work begins.
4.5. Compulsory registration
4.5.1. Thesis project
Student must register in the first year of the thesis project and pay the appropriate public price. In subsequent years, the student must include the thesis project when registering, if this has not been passed.
4.5.2. Training period
Students having to undergo a training period, involving either levelling or courses, seminars or other research training activities, must register in the first academic year and pay the appropriate public price for all the credits pertaining to this training period. In subsequent years, the student must include all the credits that have not been passed when registering.
4.5.3. Thesis board
Students must pay the public price for the thesis tutorial in the academic year following that in which they have passed the defence of the thesis project and in subsequent academic years until the deposit of the thesis, including the academic year in which the deposit occurs.
Registration for the thesis tutorial is required for assignment of the thesis supervisor.
4.6. Studies regime
Doctoral studies will be undertaken on a full-time basis, unless the Official Postgraduate Programme Committee to which the doctorate belongs establishes a specific part-time regime for the studies at the student's request. Students benefiting from a scholarship for postgraduate studies must study full-time. If the scholarship holder ceases to receive the scholarship, he/she may apply to study part-time, and the procedure stipulated in this article will be followed.
The studies regime may only be changed if the student's situation that determined his/her choice has changed, subject to justification and with the authorization from the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies.
4.7. Withdrawal from registration
Students may withdraw from registration within two months from the registration date.
The withdrawal must be accepted by the University, but shall take effect from the date of withdrawal. Acceptance of the withdrawal from registration has the same effect as if the student had not registered.
4.8. Cancellation of registration
The University may cancel a student's registration on the grounds of non-payment.
Cancellation of the registration has the effects stipulated in the applicable regulations.
Cancellation of the registration by the University or withdrawal of the registration by the student shall not entail any refund of the registration fee.
The last day for applying for a refund of the registration fees, scholarships granted or settlements to students is 31 May of the academic year concerned.
Article 5. Validations
Validation implies equivalence in terms of knowledge, content and study load between training activities in doctoral studies.
The University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies will be responsible for establishing general validation criteria.
The director of the department responsible for the postgraduate official programme to which the doctorate belongs will decide on applications for validation, subject to a report from the validations representative.
The director of the department responsible for the postgraduate official programme to which the doctorate belongs will designate a validations representative for each research line from among the doctor lecturers.
Appeals made may be made to the rector or the delegated vice-rector against the decisions of the director of the department.
Article 6. Assessment of activities in the training period
6.1. Training units
Students' knowledge will be checked by means of an assessment process in the case of courses, seminars and other research training activities in the doctorate.
Continuing assessment is deemed to mean the processes, tools and teaching strategies for each training activity or unit which are applicable gradually and on an integrated basis throughout the teaching-learning process therein. The lecturers responsible for each training activity must announce the methods and assessment criteria that will be applied at the beginning of each teaching period.
6.2. Levelling training
In cases of levelling training consisting of passing subjects that are part of the syllabus of an official master's degree at Pompeu Fabra University, the knowledge will be verified using the method and the criteria stipulated in the syllabus of the subject concerned.
Article 7. Continuance
The continuance standards for doctoral studies are approved by the Board of Trustees, on the proposal of the Board of Governors.
Article 8. Changes to the doctoral programme
The coordinators of doctoral programmes must inform the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies of any changes they wish to make in relation to the programme (courses or seminars offered, number of credits, teaching staff responsible, etc.). This notification must be accompanied by a reasoned justification and must be provided with due advance notice, according to the deadlines established by the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies.
Article 9. Assessment of doctoral programmes
The bodies responsible for a doctoral programme must present an assessment and monitoring report every year to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies.
Article 10. The doctoral thesis (see the agreement of the Board of Governors of 16 June 2010)
10.1. Registration of the doctoral thesis project
10.1.1. The doctoral thesis project must be defended in public proceedings before a board during the first year.
The board, which shall be unique to each doctorate, shall be approved by the Official Postgraduate Programme Committee to which the doctorate belongs, and will consist of three doctors, one of whom may be from outside the University, one of whom will be designated as president and another as secretary. There must be a balanced representation of women and men in the composition of the board, except on reasoned and objective grounds, which are duly justified.
The board shall assess the defence of the project as a pass or fail. A pass grade will lead to the project being registered in the appropriate department.
Amendments may be made to the title of the thesis project registered until such time as the thesis is deposited, provided that these changes do not substantially affect the contents of the project. The doctoral student must apply to the programme committee to change the title, with a report giving the reasons and with the approval of the thesis supervisor.
10.1.2. Each programme's committee will submit the list of thesis projects registered for each of the research lines carried out under its responsibility to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies before the end of October in each academic year.
10.1.3. The body responsible for the postgraduate programme, based on the reports received from the thesis supervisors, will submit a list of the doctoral students in the process of writing their doctoral theses and a copy of the reports issued to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies before the start of each academic year.
10.1.4. Doctoral students must file an annual report on the progress of their research work and the most significant results produced to date, which must be assessed by the supervisors of the doctoral thesis.
10.2. The thesis supervisor
10.2.1. The body responsible for the postgraduate programme will assign the doctoral student a thesis supervisor for the preparation of the doctoral thesis. Thesis supervisors must be lecturers at Pompeu Fabra University in active service, although in exceptional circumstances, the thesis may be supervised by doctors in administrative situations other than active service, by doctors working at other universities or institutions and in short, by any other doctor. In these cases, authorization from the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies will be required, subject to a report by the body responsible for the postgraduate programme, and a tutor must be appointed, who must be a doctor linked to the research line of the thesis.
10.2.2. The thesis supervisor must be a doctor with accredited research experience. The body responsible for the postgraduate official programme Committee to which the doctorate belongs must justify compliance with this requirement and inform the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies. Having at least one period of positively assessed research activity will be deemed sufficient grounds.
10.2.3. The doctoral student may apply to the programme committee for a change of thesis supervisor. After hearing the interested party, the thesis supervisor and the doctor proposed as the new supervisor, the committee will come to a decision if there is no opposition. In the event of any disagreement, the transcript will be presented to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies to be resolved.
10.3. Transcript transfer
The University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies shall decide all transfer requests, subject to the report from the body responsible for postgraduate programme to which the doctoral thesis project is to be assigned. However, the Committee will reject these requests in cases in which the supervisor of the thesis is not a lecturer at Pompeu Fabra University, unless there are exceptional reasons that justify accepting the transfer.
10.4. Language of the thesis
If the student wishes to present the thesis in a language other than Catalan, Spanish or Spanish, he/she must specifically apply to that end to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies, with the approval of the supervisor of the thesis.
10.5. Conventions or agreements with other institutions
The University will promote initiatives by bodies responsible for postgraduate programmes that reinforce the international dimension of work on doctoral theses and where necessary, will establish the appropriate systems for their recognition. Likewise, in certain cases, it may be possible to undertake a doctoral thesis under joint supervision with another international institution, by establishing agreements.
10.6. Deadline for presentation of the doctoral thesis
The deadline for presentation of the doctoral thesis will be stipulated by the Board of Trustees in the continuance standards.
10.7. Preparation and authorization of the doctoral thesis defence
10.7.1. The doctoral thesis must consist of an original piece of research work in one of the doctorate's research lines. Subject to authorization of the thesis supervisor, the doctoral thesis may also consist of a series of articles which have recently been published or are in press. In the latter case, the doctoral thesis must include a report presenting the thesis defended, with an introductory chapter and final conclusions. Articles included in a thesis may not be included as part of any other.
10.7.2. After completion of the doctoral thesis, and subject to a favourable report from the thesis supervisor, which must be comprehensive and individual, and the report of the tutor in the case of external supervision, where appropriate, the student will deposit his/her doctoral thesis. It will be necessary to have passed the training period, where appropriate, in order to deposit the doctoral thesis.
10.7.3. The body responsible for each postgraduate programme will propose the mechanisms to ensure the quality of the theses during their production process (public exposition at seminars, prior publication in journals of renowned prestige, external reports, etc.). These mechanisms must be approved by the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies in each case. The documentation generated by the application of these mechanisms must be attached as prior documentation for the authorization of the doctoral thesis.
10.7.4. Applications to present a doctoral thesis must be made to the body responsible for the postgraduate programme. The application must state the language in which the thesis will be defended, and must be accompanied by favourable authorization reports from the supervisor or supervisors, three hardcover bound copies of the thesis, seven copies of the thesis published in paper format and a copy of the thesis in electronic format. Copies of the thesis must be submitted under the conditions determined by the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies.
10.7.5. The body responsible for the postgraduate programme will notify the Academic Management Service of the presentation of the doctoral thesis so that this is circulated to the entire University community. The doctoral thesis will be deposited for 10 calendar days from the day following the date of deposit, so that doctors at the University can examine it and where appropriate, write to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies with the observations that they deem appropriate.
10.7.6. After this deadline, and within two months, the body responsible for the postgraduate programme will send the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies all the documentation generated by the assessment process of the doctoral thesis for processing, together with a proposal of 10 experts in the subject who may be members of the board responsible for judging it. This proposal must be accompanied by a report of the subject of the thesis from each of the ten members proposed. If the body responsible for the programme does not propose the composition of the board within that period, the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies may appoint the board under the terms set out in Article 10.8.1.
10.7.8. The University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies will authorize the thesis defence or otherwise in view of the documentation received. If the thesis defence is not authorized, the committee must notify the doctoral student, the thesis supervisor and the body responsible for the postgraduate programme of the reasons for its decision in writing.
10.8. Thesis board
10.8.1. After the doctoral thesis defence has been authorized, the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies shall appoint a board consisting of five full members and two substitutes, all of whom must have doctorates and accredited research experience, with no more than two members from the same University. There must be a balanced representation of women and men in the composition of the board, except on reasoned and objective grounds, which are duly justified. Each sex must account for at least forty percent of the members.
10.8.2. The supervisor or supervisors and the tutor of the doctoral thesis may not be members of the board, except in cases where the thesis has been submitted as part of a bilateral co-supervision agreement with foreign universities with provisions to that end.
10.8.3. The University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies shall designate the president from among the members of the board, in accordance with the requirements stipulated by the body responsible for the postgraduate programme and the secretary. If a full member of the board withdraws on justified grounds, the president will replace him/her with the appropriate substitute.
10.8.4. After the board has been appointed, the body responsible for the postgraduate programme will send each member a copy of the doctoral thesis at least three weeks before the date set for the reading.
10.9. Defence and assessment of the doctoral thesis
10.9.1. The doctoral thesis defence will be convened by the president and notified by the secretary to the University Committee responsible for official postgraduate studies at least 15 calendar days before it is to take place.
10.9.2. The proceedings will take place in open session within the academic period established for the defence of theses, from September to July inclusive, and will consist of the doctoral student's exposition of the work done, the methodology, the content and the conclusions, with special emphasis on his/her original contributions.
10.9.3. The board members will ask the doctoral student as many questions as they consider appropriate. The doctors present at the public proceedings may also ask questions at the time and in the manner indicated by the president of the board.
10.9.4. After the thesis has been defended and discussed, each member of the board will produce an assessment in writing. The secretary of the board will forward these reports to the Academic Management Service within one week.
10.9.5. The board will issue the overall grade finally awarded to the thesis according to the following scale: fail, pass, good and excellent. The board may award the distinction "cum laude" if the overall grade is excellent and there is a unanimous vote to that effect.
10.10. The doctorate
After the defence of the thesis has been passed, the student may apply for a doctorate from Pompeu Fabra University.
10.11. Extraordinary prizes for doctoral theses
The body responsible for the postgraduate programme may submit a proposal for an Extraordinary Doctoral Thesis Prize to the University committee responsible for official postgraduate studies. Each body responsible for the postgraduate programme may request the granting of one extraordinary prize for every ten doctoral theses read, with a maximum of one every academic year.