Doctoral theses

What is a doctoral thesis?

A doctoral thesis is an original piece of research in any area of knowledge that is produced by a doctoral candidate under the supervision of a doctoral degree holder with accredited research experience. With the thesis, doctoral candidates must demonstrate their ability to develop an independent work in research, development and innovation.

The doctoral thesis is assessed at a public defence in which the doctoral candidate presents the research to an examination committee of experts on the subject.



In the following figure, you can identify the stages and mechanisms that, in accordance with the prevailing legislation, the UPC establishes to guarantee the quality and publicity of doctoral theses produced on all of its programmes


Stage 1: Quality guarantee

  • When thesis supervisors consider that a thesis is ready for the public defence, they prepare a report justifying its quality and submit it to the academic committee of the programme for their consideration and approval. 

  • To assess the application for the deposit, the academic committee may ask for reports from external experts to endorse the quality of the thesis. 

  • The academic committee may request that amendments and corrections be made to the thesis.

  • The academic committee of the doctoral programme authorises the thesis deposit.



Stage 2: Deposit

  • The Standing Committee of the Doctoral School reviews and authorises the thesis deposit. 

  • The thesis is public for 10 working days. 

  • Once the deposit process is over, the Standing Committee of the Doctoral School authorises the thesis defence.


Stage 3: Defence

  • The academic committee of the programme submits, with the deposit application, a proposal in order of priority of the members of the thesis examination committee.

  • The Standing Committee of the Doctoral School reviews and validates the composition of the examination committee. 

  • The vice-rector for Academic Policy appoints the thesis examination committee. 

  • The secretary of the committee sets the date, time and place of the public defence and informs the Doctoral School. 

  • The Doctoral School announces the details of the defence on its website. 

  • The public defence of the thesis takes place on the agreed date and, when it ends, the examination committee informs the doctoral candidate of the mark awarded. 

  • The secretary of the examination committee keeps the results and the documents of the defence and sends them to the Doctoral School, where the mark is entered in the academic record. 

  • If the mark awarded was Excellent, the Standing Committee of the Doctoral School counts the cum laude votes and communicates the result to the candidate and members of the examination committee. 



Stage 4: Doctoral degree certificate: application and collection

  • The interested party applies for the doctoral degree certificate to the managing unit and pays the corresponding fee. 

  • The managing unit issues the provisional degree certificate. 

  • Once the degree certificate has been issued and is received by the University, the interested party can collect it.

Further information

Doctoral thesis deposit and assessment 


Regulatory framework: