Ph.D. in Software, Systems and Computing


Quality Assurance System

The UPM's Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos, which is responsible for the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Program, participated in the first ANECA AUDIT call and submitted a design of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos Internal Quality Assurance System (IQAS-UPMFI). IQAS-UPMFI covers all the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs that are taught at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos. It received the ANECA Certification Commission’s final positive report for the submitted IQAS-UPMFI design in 2009.

Article 93 of the UPM statutes states that there should be a UPM PhD Committee to deal with all matters related to PhD degree programs. In addition, the IQAS-UPMFI specifies that there should be an Academic Committee for each PhD program taught at any school, whose main competences were defined at the School Board meeting held on May 6, 2009.

The competences assigned to the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Academic Committee (CADSSC) include the regulation and the organization of the system for supervising students’ academic and research activities, as well as the revision of the students’ annual reports. For this purpose, the student is assigned an advisor at the time of admission. The advisor will be a PhD program faculty member holding a PhD in charge of supervising the students’ studies. The CADSSC also annually gathers and analyzes student research results outlined in the annual report that they are required to submit and which is supervised by their thesis advisor. The CADSSC may make, where appropriate, suggestions about how to improve the research process followed by the student.

The IQAS-UPMFI PR/CL/2.3/001 "Mobility Process for Students Studying at other Higher Education Institutions" and PR/CL/2.3/002 "Mobility Process for Students from other Higher Educations Studying at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos" guidelines are responsible for the student mobility process. Both the Office of the Vice Rector for International Relations and the Office of the Vice Rector for Students also encourage the dissemination of and participation in international mobility programs providing the entire UPM student community with information and additional strategic and financial assistance. The UPM is also a Columbus Platform partner. Otherwise, the Associate Dean for International Affairs is responsible for the organization, direction and management of student internationalization and mobility at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos.

One of the measures to promote student mobility is language training through the UPM’s Language Program for Internationalization (PROLINTER).

Complaints and claims system

Complaints, suggestions and congratulations that any person need to state can be made through different ways.

Master programs: Any remark about the MSS operation can be delivered directly to the Master Coordinator.

Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos: The aim of this official process is to record complaints, suggestions and congratulations that users would like to submit in accordance with the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the service provided by the administrative units of the center.

The complaints and suggestions management is a fundamental system to enhance the users’ participation, both internal and external, so the center has launched it in order to improve the quality of the services provided.

The center services’ users may submit complaints, suggestions and congratulations using these two ways:

The incidents cannot be anonymous, so it is very important to complete all data required in the form. The incidence description should be as concrete and comprehensive as possible.

Submitted incidents will be centralized in the school Technical Quality Unit so that they can be treated and followed up in an appropriate way. Once registered, they will be sent to the unit or units responsible for resolving them and finally the user will be informed of the resolution or the possible measures to adopt in a period not exceeding 15 days from its presentation.

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: Users of the UPM electronic site can submit suggestions and complaints that they deem appropriate and are related to the electronic processing of administrative procedures.

All queries that arise on the access by electronic means to the services of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid will be answered within a maximum of ten days. Inquiries related to different matters will be forwarded to the bodies or corresponding units of the UPM, being the consultants informed of this circumstance.

Users who wish to make a complaint or suggestion in this regard may do so electronically through the UPM’s complaints and suggestions mailbox.

Students’ Guild: Likewise, the informative report about the teaching activity is the specific report where student are able to reflect in writing complaints and congratulations referring to the teaching received. This procedure, approved by the Students’ Guild representatives board, is the informative instrument by means of which the Students’ Guild is able to know the teaching situation of their classmates, and start those initiatives that will lead to the solution of the problems detected.

PhD graduate monitoring

This new PhD program is expected to continue to establish cooperative relationships with other academic institutions, administrations and companies, as other programs have done in the past. Over half of the students admitted to preceding PhD programs came from other, national or international universities.

Also, a high percentage of graduates of our programs have subsequently pursued their professional and research activity at other national and international research and teaching institutions. Collaboration with a number of Latin American institutions (for example, Uruguay’s Universidad ORT, Chile’s Universidad Católica del Norte and Universidad Central, Peru’s Pontificia Universidad Católica or UNEG-Venezuela Luz), with which joint PhD programs have been operating for several years, has been specially close. These partnerships were intended to contribute through our PhD program to the training of researchers beyond the possibilities offered through face-to-face training in Spain. Thanks to these partnerships many graduates from these institutions have been able to find jobs at those or nearby institutions.

The general procedure for assessing student progress and learning outcomes is recorded in the IQAS-UPMFI "Outcome measurement and program improvement process" (PR/ES/2/003). The main objective of this process is to describe the mechanisms that will allow the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos to guarantee the quality of each of the designed training program components, including the program objectives and developed competences, to maintain and adequately remodel its training offering, as well as to approve, control, and review these programs and their outcomes.

This process starts with the enactment of the "Studies and satisfaction surveys process" (PR/OS/5/002), whereby the Office of the Associate Dean for Strategic Planning measures and analyzes student learning outcomes, the impact of teaching methodologies, job placements and other sectorial studies, as well as the satisfaction of different interest groups throughout the year.

Additionally, there are plans to launch a system of annual graduate student surveys in order to monitor the evolution of job placements over time and supplement the information provided by the IQAS-UPMFI. These annual surveys are also designed to find out how satisfied graduates are with the training they received and how useful it was with regard to their future employment. The survey data will be studied and analyzed in order to draw the necessary corrective conclusions to improve the quality of the PhD training. These findings will be used to update and remodel research lines and research topics in order to meet the needs of modern society, as well as to improve or modify the design of PhD student training activities.

We are not currently aware of any graduate students who have not found a job in the three years following upon their PhD thesis defense. The available information on PhD in Software and Systems and PhD in Advanced Computing for Sciences and Engineering graduates shows that most graduates found a job at different, national and international universities, as well as at companies or public agencies in both Spain and in other countries.

The approximate distribution of jobs by type of institution is (some graduates have more than one job, so the total amounts to more than 100%):

Of the graduates that have a university position, more than half have professor status, whereas the rest are employed as post-doctoral researchers. These data indicate that the proportion of PhD students who receive funding through post-doctoral contracts over the total number of students is approximately 40%.

Looking at the results so far, it is estimated that close to 100% of students graduating from this new PhD program will find full employment at public sector universities or other agencies, private companies or through post-doctoral contracts.

Previous outcomes

A total of 73 PhD theses have been presented over the past 5 years within all the programs from which this PhD program derives directly or indirectly, that is, an average of over 14 theses per academic year. Confined to just the PhD in Software and Systems and PhD in Advanced Computing for Sciences and Engineering (from which the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Program derives directly), more than 25 PhD theses have been presented since they were set up (in the 2010/11 academic year).

The quality of the theses presented under both programs is appreciable by analyzing the scientific contributions derived from the theses, as well as student participation in funded research projects during the development of their PhD research. The table below summarizes the average data for each PhD thesis, specifying publications in journals, funded research projects in which students participated, papers presented at congresses, books or book chapters and patents awarded based on PhD student activities prior to the defense of their theses.

More information:

The table below summarizes the average PhD thesis data based on doctoral candidate activities prior to the defence of their thesis. It specifies publications in journals, related research project funding, papers presented a congresses, authored books or book chapters and patent applications.

Journals Projects Congresses Book Chapters Patents
2.8 4.0 7.4 0.8 0.2

The scientific contributions of these theses are clearly significant, as highlighted by an average of about three articles published in journals and more than seven articles in congresses per thesis, as well as active participation in about four research projects per student.

Another indication of the quality of the submitted theses is that 67% of all extraordinary PhD awards awarded to UPM Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos students during 2009/10 to 2011/12 academic years went to graduates of either of the two PhD programs from which the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Program derived.

Additionally, the quality of the defended theses will be guaranteed since the UPM Thesis Preparation and Assessment Regulations published in December 2011 state that for a PhD thesis to be admitted for defense proceedings results must have been published in journals of recognized prestige in the respective speciality and listed in Journal Citation Reports or equivalent or have use patents proven by a contract of sale or license agreement.