This page summarizes the processes and regulations for PhD Thesis in Software, Systems and Computing students, approved by the Programme Committee:
- Instructions for writing and presenting PhD theses
- PhD thesis confidentiality
- Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission
- Requirements for proceeding to PhD thesis defence
- Enrolling for PhD thesis defence
- Proposing board members
- Depositing PhD theses
- Authorization to proceed to PhD thesis defence
- Appointing the examination board
- Defending and assessing PhD theses
- Other procedures
- Calculating deadlines
Instructions for writing and presenting PhD theses
PhD theses shall be written and preferably defended in Spanish, although they may also be written in English. In any case, they must include an abstract in both Spanish and English (maximum 4000 characters). Additionally, if duly justified and reasoned, the UPM Doctorate International School may authorize, at the request of the PhD candidate and with the consent of the CADSSC, that theses be written and presented in a different language (Application for language other than Spanish or English). PhD theses that are written in neither Spanish nor English must include an additional summary in Spanish or English (minimum 20 pages).
Out of regard for non-Spanish-speaking academic staff sitting on the board, theses may be defended in a language other than Spanish provided that all the board members agree.
The theses must be submitted electronically (PDF) through THESIS.
Although there is certain liberty in the format, it is recommended that chapter titles be typed using capital letters and Arabic numerals, that sections and subsections include decimal ordering following each chapter, that pages be numbered using Arabic numbers placed at the bottom centre, and that references appear sorted by the author's last name and year.
Theses should contain: table of contents, abstract (in Spanish and English), and numbered chapters (introduction, related work, problem statement and objectives, proposed solution, results, conclusions, future lines of research and references).
Theses may also be written as a compendium of publications. A thesis is written as a compendium of publications if it includes the content of some thesis author's publications (as-are, or with few changes). In this case, the theses should contain (more than 18,000 words of new content): table of contents, abstract (in Spanish and English), general introduction (related work, objectives, and hypothesis), methodology, compendium of at least three publications, general discussion (solution description, results analysis, conclusions, and future lines of research) and references. To be allowed to write the thesis as a compendium of publications, the thesis author must be the first author of three published papers (two of them may be merely accepted for publication, with a DOI) in journals listed on JCR listings at Q1 or Q2 positions, affiliated with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. When submitting the documentation for the thesis deposit, the request for thesis as a compendium of publications should also be submitted. The UPM website provides complete regulations for Theses as a compendium of publications.
PhD thesis confidentiality
Under exceptional circumstances, for example, when there are non-disclosure agreements with companies, or when there is a possibility that patents covering the thesis content may be created, the author and the supervisor may request confidentiality for the PhD thesis from the CADSSC before requesting the Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission.
The UPM PhD Committee may request any further reports that it requires and shall decide on the application within two months.
The aforesaid authorization may be withdrawn at a later date if the UPM PhD Committee decides that the aforesaid circumstances no longer apply.
If confidentiality is approved, both the pre-defence panel of experts and the defence board members shall sign a non-disclosure agreement related to the contents of the thesis.
When depositing the thesis, the student must send a complete version of the thesis, along with another version without the confidential parts.
Upon completion of the confidentiality period established by the UPM PhD Committee, the thesis shall be published in the University's open repository. If there is a need to maintain the confidentiality, one-year extensions may be requested.
Complete UPM regulations may be viewed at Thesis confidentiality procedure.
Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission
The CADSSC must ensure the quality of PhD theses before their formal presentation. The CADSSC is responsible for verifying the ongoing improvement of the final PhD dissertation to be submitted by PhD candidates.
PhD candidates shall inform the CADSSC that they wish to proceed to Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission, with authorization from the PhD thesis supervisor or supervisors, and when they have fulfilled the following requirements:
- For students who have been admitted with the proviso of taking Bridge Courses, the student must have passed the required credits.
- All programme competences must have been acquired by attending the Training Activities , or the student must have applied for and obtained recognition for them.
- PhD candidates have completed their research.
- PhD candidates have written a preliminary version of their thesis.
- PhD candidates have received a positive evaluation for the latest research plan.
- PhD candidates must have published the thesis results (the students' affiliation must be "Universidad Politécnica de Madrid") in any of the following:
The CADSSC shall then select (within one week) a panel of two experts with proven research experience.
Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission may be conducted by means of one of the following procedures:
- Pre-defence. No later than 30 days after authorization from the CADSSC, PhD students shall proceed to a public pre-defence of the thesis before the panel of experts in the presence of the thesis supervisors.
- Equivalent procedure. To opt out of the public pre-defence proceedings, PhD candidates must have authored at least two articles (on the research developed in the thesis) in JCR-listed publications and have the approval of their thesis supervisors. The panel of experts shall evaluate the thesis and the quality indicators submitted by PhD candidates.
The CADSSC may establish additional requirements to ensure the quality of the publications.
Application for pre-defence or equivalent procedure
The PhD candidate must apply for the pre-defence or an equivalent procedure by completing the following steps:
- PhD students must use THESIS (section "Requests" / "Assessment prior to submission") to submit:
- A PDF file containing the draft of the PhD thesis referencing the state of the art, scientific methodology, original contributions, conclusions, and references.
- Indicate whether the PhD thesis confidentiality has been approved.
- Provide the personal ID of the researcher profile on UPM's Portal Científico. This ID may be obtained by accessing the Portal Científico, typing the name of the student in the search box and selecting the entry that matches the student. Once selected, a new webpage will be obtained, whose URL will be similar to https://portalcientifico.upm.es/es/ipublic/researcher/999999. The student ID are the last 6 digits of this URL (999999 in the example). In addition, the doctoral candidate must enter all the data on the scientific output of the PhD thesis through the Portal Científico.
- Thesis supervisors should use THESIS (section "Pending reports") to:
- Once the PhD student has submitted the application, thesis supervisors must approve it and provide a brief justified evaluation of the thesis, stating whether the student will opt for pre-defence (by default option) or opt for the equivalent procedure (if the requirements stated in the previous section are fulfilled). If the thesis has two supervisors, both of them must complete this step.
- PhD students must submit by e-mail (email@example.com):
- For students who have been admitted with the proviso of taking Bridge Courses, a copy of the student file showing that courses with the required number of credits have been passed.
- A document listing publication details reporting PhD thesis results
- A PDF dossier with the details of the publications stemming from the PhD thesis. For each article, the dossier must contain:
- The cover of the journal, conference proceedings, etc., in which the article was published.
- The table of contents of the publication (listing the article related to the PhD thesis).
- A copy of the pages of the above publication, including the full text of the article (a downloaded copy of the article, if it is an online publication). The manuscript submitted for publication by the doctoral candidate shall only be acceptable if the paper has been accepted and not yet been published (in this case, the letter of acceptance must also be attached).
- DOI. This may replace the previous elements.
- Additional documents specifying the quality data supplied in the document listing the publication details (impact factor, paper acceptance rate, type of review, etc.). A screenshot of the quality index webpage is required.
- A list of web addresses against which the submitted documents can be verified.
- If applying for an International Doctor Distinction, all required documentation (International Doctor Distinction application, certification of stay, expert reports, experts' CVs...).
- If applying for an Industrial Doctor Distinction, all required documentation (Industrial Doctor Distinction application, report on the relationship between the thesis and the industry, the employment contract...)
- If the thesis was completed under the Joint supervision procedure, all required documentation from the procedure.
After document submission and receiving the CADSSC's authorization, the PhD thesis draft and the dossier of publications will be submitted to the panel of experts, who shall conduct the assessment. The supervisors will be informed of the identities of the members of the panel of experts.
The supervisors must contact the experts and the PhD candidate to arrange the date and time for the public pre-defence procedure, if any. The PhD administrative officer shall be notified of this date and time in order to book the venue and announce the pre-defence.
Reports on pre-defence or equivalent procedure
All members of the panel of experts responsible for evaluating the pre-defence or equivalent procedure shall issue a report to this end (Pre-defence or equivalent procedure report). The reports by the panel of experts must be submitted to the PhD programme administration office on the date of the pre-defence, or, for equivalent procedure, no later than two weeks after the appointment of the panel of experts.
The PhD thesis supervisor or supervisors and the PhD candidate shall be notified by the CADSSC of the result of the pre-defence or equivalent procedure no later than two weeks after receiving the pre-defence or equivalent procedure reports.
In the event of a duly reasoned and justified negative report, PhD candidates must modify or rewrite the research and resubmit the thesis for pre-defence or equivalent procedure. If the report contains suggestions for improvement, the CADSSC shall decide whether to make the suggested changes to the final dissertation mandatory, or to leave them at the discretion of the PhD candidate or PhD thesis supervisor or supervisors.
Requirements for proceeding to PhD thesis defence
The CADSSC may authorize the PhD thesis to proceed to defence once the student and the thesis have met a series of requirements. These requirements have been established by the UPM's EID.
- The Research Plan from the last academic year has been presented and approved.
- The student has positive reports from the panel of experts from the Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission, and it has been verified that all compulsory changes have been made, if applicable.
- The PhD candidate must have published the thesis results (the student's affiliation must be "Universidad Politécnica de Madrid") in any of the following:
- All the information concerning PhD thesis results have been recorded via the UPM's Portal Científico.
- The student must have registered with Teseo and completed most of the Thesis information on Teseo Record (the "Departamento" field should include "E.T.S. de Ingenieros Informáticos").
- All academic tuition fees have been paid.
- The PhD thesis defence enrolment fee has been paid.
The CADSSC will not be able to authorize presentation of the PhD thesis if any of these requirements are not fulfilled.
With regards to the PhD candidate publications, the affiliation of the student must be "Universidad Politécnica de Madrid" (in Spanish, with no abbreviations). In addition, one publication cannot be used by several PhD candidates to fulfil the publication requirement.
Enrolling for PhD thesis defence
To obtain authorization from the CADSSC to proceed to the defence of their thesis, PhD candidates must enrol with the Postgraduate Office for Doctoral Thesis defence (Tesis Doctoral); the students should sent a screenshot of THESIS showing the approval of the Assessment Prior to PhD Thesis submission. To complete the enrolment, they must pay the enrolment fee and any outstanding annual academic supervision fees, including charges for the current academic year.
Enrolment must be paid to apply for the deposit. To speed up the process, credit card payments are recommended.
Proposing board members
A proposal must be made with seven doctors who hold accredited research experience and are specialized in the subject matter to which the thesis refers, or a related area (Board members proposal form).
The proposal must be delivered at the same time as the thesis deposit, with an attached reasoned report on the qualifications of each and every one of the members proposed to sit on the PhD thesis examination board. The acceptance of the members proposed to sit on the board must be certified (Board member acceptance form). The secretary of the board should be an UPM's faculty member.
In the event that PhD theses are subject to confidentiality clauses, all proposed board members must sign a statement binding them to non-disclosure of the content.
No more than two members from the same higher education institution or organization shall be eligible to sit on a thesis examination board (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Instituto IMDEA Software, CSIC and Inria Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée are considered as the same institution). Student's supervisors or tutor cannot belong to the examination board. A member that meets any of the criteria for abstention established in article 28 of Act 30/1992 shall not be eligible to sit on a board.
Higher education academic staff shall be eligible to sit on PhD thesis boards even if they are on leave, retired, or on special services or secondment, in which case they are considered to be members of the higher education institution where they are serving at the time. Retired faculty members shall be considered as members of the higher education institution at which they were serving before retirement.
The UPM will cover the travel expenses of the board members who are resident in Spain. Therefore, it will not cover the travel expenses from abroad of any of the board members, except if the PhD student opts for the International Doctor distinction, in which case it will cover the travel expenses from abroad of only one member of the board.
If the information submitted is considered incomplete, the UPM PhD Committee may request further particulars to assess the qualifications of the proposed candidates.
Depositing PhD theses
Application for the PhD thesis deposit, including the correct completion of all required documentation and meeting all required formalities for thesis defence, must be filed at least 15 days in advance with regard to the student's PhD programme deadline.
Once the student has met all the requirements for proceeding to PhD thesis defence, the application can be filed by following the steps below:
- The PhD student must submit the following documentation to the PhD programme (firstname.lastname@example.org) by email:
- An updated document listing publication details reporting PhD thesis results and an updated PDF dossier with all the publications concerning PhD thesis results (using the format specified in the Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission section).
- The Board Proposal, along with all board members' letters of acceptance.
- Should the thesis is written as a Compendium of Publications and fulfilling the requirements, the request for submitting the thesis as a compendium of publications.
- Should the defence be on-line and all the board members agree to on-line thesis defence, the Application for defence of the thesis by videoconference.
- The PhD student must apply for deposit by using THESIS (section "Requests" / "Thesis deposit") by completing the following steps:
- Upload the digital version of the PhD thesis (PDF), along with supplementary material (.zip), if applicable.
- In the event that the thesis is subject to confidentiality clauses, upload the digital version of the thesis (in the section “Thesis subject to confidentiality agreement”) along with the version of the thesis that does not include confidential parts (in the section “Sample of the thesis for presentation”).
- Upload a summary of the PhD thesis in both Spanish and English (max. 4000 characters in each language).
- Check if applying for International or Industrial Doctor Distinction, or if the thesis has been conducted under the Joint supervision procedure.
- PhD thesis supervisors must authorize deposit by using THESIS (section "Pending reports"):
- Once the PhD student has submitted the application, thesis supervisors must authorize the deposit and defence and provide a brief justified evaluation of the thesis. If the thesis has two supervisors, both of them must complete this step.
The CADSSC has a 10-day period to allow the deposit of the doctoral thesis after receiving all documentation completely and correctly. In the event that any defects in the documentation are detected, the student shall be notified so they can resolve the issue and begin the deposit process again.
Doctoral theses must be deposited (available to the public) for 15 days starting the day following the University’s acceptance of deposit. The UPM's International Doctorate School shall disseminate the thesis deposited at all times on the UPM's Thesis Deposit Website. The Vice Rector in charge of doctorate studies allows all duly accredited doctors to entirely examine deposited Theses, and if applicable, they may send the observations they deem opportune in writing and in open format to the CADSSC until the last day of deposit.
If observations are made, in light of their content, the programme shall make a written statement to the UPM's International Doctorate School with its opinion regarding whether the process must continue or be stopped. To do so, it has a 7-day period starting when the deposit period ends.
Authorization to proceed to PhD thesis defence
If no comments have been made by the end of the deposit period, or if comments made have been addressed, the next meeting of UPM PhD Committee must decide whether to authorize the thesis to proceed to defence.
The decision shall be reported to the PhD candidate and the thesis supervisors within one week. If the thesis is not authorized to proceed to defence, the grounds and reasons for this decision must be specified.
The UPM PhD Committee's decision shall be considered firm and final and concludes the administrative procedure.
Appointing the examination board
At the same time that the decision authorizing the PhD thesis to proceed to defence is notified, the UPM PhD Committee shall approve the board that is to examine the thesis, considering the proposal submitted by the PhD programme. The board shall be composed of five regular members and two substitute members. The UPM PhD Committee shall appoint two of the board members as chair and secretary of the board.
The PhD programme shall be notified of the appointment of the board so that it may forward notification of appointment and a copy of the thesis to each member. The PhD programme must also notify the PhD candidate and thesis supervisors of the board's appointment within one week.
In the event of resignation, on justified grounds, of a regular member of the board, the chair shall proceed to appoint one of the substitute members. If the examining board chair must be unexpectedly substituted, the PhD programme shall propose one of the members sitting on the board to stand in. In any case, the UPM PhD Committee must be notified of the substitution as soon as possible.
The thesis must be defended no later than three months after the board is appointed. Otherwise, the proposal of board members must be resubmitted to the UPM PhD Committee.
Defending and evaluating PhD theses
PhD thesis defence proceedings
Theses shall be defended at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Notice of the defence proceedings shall be served by the chair and notified by the secretary to the board members with sufficient advance notice (at least 10 in advance). The thesis must be defended no later than three months after the board is appointed.
Once notice of the proceedings has been served, the chair of the board shall establish the proper substitution procedures. If any of the members fail to appear on the date set for the public defence and presentation proceedings, the substitutes shall join the board. If this is not possible, the chair shall, after deliberation with the other members and the chair of the CADSSC, decide whether the defence proceedings should proceed. For the defence to proceed, at least four members must be present. If it is decided to suspend the proceedings, another date shall be set for the defence, agreed upon by the other members of the board and the PhD candidate. Any changes to the board must be notified to the UPM PhD Committee as soon as possible.
If any member is prevented by an act of God from attending the defence proceedings but remote access (audio or video conferencing) is an option, the board's chair has the authority to allow the member to attend remotely under the same conditions as the members present, and to participate in the defence proceedings and subsequent deliberations.
The PhD thesis shall be evaluated at the defence proceedings. These proceedings shall take place in a public hearing and shall consist of the presentation and defence of the research work developed by the PhD candidate before the members of the board.
The board members must express their opinion and shall ask the PhD candidate as many questions as they see fit. Any PhD holders present at the public hearing shall be entitled to ask questions at the time and in the manner stated by the chair of the board.
At the end of the defence and discussion of the PhD thesis, each board member shall write an appraisal of the thesis (Thesis appraisal form).
The examining board shall have an activity document which includes the student’s Training Activities, Seminars, publications... This document is designed for monitoring purposes and shall not provide a quantitative score. It shall, however, serve as a qualitative evaluation mechanism to supplement the examination of PhD theses.
The examining board shall issue a report and the overall grade awarded to the thesis on the following scale: "rejected," "approved," "very good" and "excellent". The examining board may award "cum laude" distinction if the overall grade is "excellent" and the result of the secret ballot is unanimously in favor.
Each board member shall issue a secret vote whether to award the "cum laude" distinction. These votes shall be placed in an envelope that shall be sealed and signed on the top flap by all the board members. The secretary of the board shall deliver the envelope to the School's Regsitry, who shall forward it to the CADSSC.
The envelope containing the secret votes shall be opened at the next CADSSC meeting. The PhD thesis shall be awarded the "cum laude" distinction if the board votes unanimously in favor of doing so.
Archiving PhD theses in digital format
After PhD theses have been approved, the University shall be responsible for digitally archiving and electronically forwarding a copy of the respective thesis and any necessary supplementary information to the ministry responsible for PhD programmes for the record.
Any PhD theses subject to non-disclosure clauses shall be published in the UPM's open repository once the protection or knowledge-transfer process has come to an end, or when the PhD candidate duly informs the UPM.
Applying for PhD degree certificates
Once the public thesis defence and presentation proceedings are complete, the PhD thesis has been approved and the envelope with the "cum laude" secret votes has been opened, PhD candidates shall be eligible to apply to the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos Postgraduate Office for their PhD degree certificate; to this end, they must pay the respective fees.
While waiting for the definitive PhD degree certificate and 30 days after paying the fees, the student may request a substitute certificate from the UPM Rectorate's General Secretary.
International Doctorate Distinction
The "International Doctorate" distinction (International doctorate application form) may be added to the back of the PhD degree certificate, provided all the following circumstances apply:
- During the required PhD research period, the PhD student has completed one or more stays of at least three months studying or conducting research at a prestigious institution of higher education or a research centre outside Spain; in case of several stays, at least one of them will have a minimum duration of one month. The mobility (visit and activities) must be requested in advance and endorsed by the supervisors, and authorized by the CADSSC, and shall be added to the candidate's documented activities (after the stay. An original certificate issued by the institution of higher education or research centre where the stay was completed must be provided. This certification must include the start and end dates of the stay, as well as the name of the director of the research group in which the student collaborated.
- Part of the PhD thesis, at least the summary and conclusions, must be written and defended in any of the common languages for scientific communication in the respective field of knowledge other than the official languages of Spain. This rule shall not apply where the stays, reports and experts come from a Spanish-speaking country.
- At least two experts from a non-Spanish higher education institution or research institute must provide their review of the thesis manuscript (Expert thesis report). Those experts may not coincide with the researchers who received the student and carried out tutoring or supervision tasks in the host entity. The experts must each submit an original report, along with their resumes.
- At least one member of the thesis examining board holding a PhD and not responsible for the visits mentioned in section 1 should be from a non-Spanish higher education institution or research centre.
Theses must be defended at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid shall provide a document stating that the PhD thesis has been awarded the "International Doctor" distinction. Moreover, "International Doctor" shall be added to the back side of the PhD degree certificate.
Industrial Doctor Distinction
The "Industrial Doctor" distinction may be added to the back side of the PhD degree certificate, provided all the following circumstances apply:
- That the Thesis has developed a research project of industrial, commercial, social or cultural interest of an entity, public or private company or public administration (hereinafter, Entity), which may not be a university. The direct relationship between the thesis and the work carried out by the student in the entity must be formalized in a scientific-technical report that must be approved by the UPM.
- That an agreement has been signed between the entity and the UPM for the academic development of the thesis, which will establish, as a minimum, the obligations of the parties and the rights of industrial property that may be generated.
- That the student has been hired by the entity where the research project is carried out for at least 3 years in the case of full-time studies and 5 if it is part-time, being necessary that a substantial part of the thesis be developed in the entity.
In addition to student procedures, all the following circumstances apply:
- No later than 3 months after beginning studies, the student must send the CADSSC an application for the Industrial PhD (Industrial PhD Application form). The student must provide the name of the responsible party at the company to the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Academic Committee (this person can also be a Thesis supervisor, but in no case may the responsible person designated by the entity be part of the Thesis evaluation board). This party must be specified during the first 3 months of the PhD studies and shall be the contact person between the company and the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing Academic Committee. This party may be modified, if needed.
- The first Research Plan should clearly specify that it is an industrial thesis. This Research Plan must be approved in order to obtain the "Industrial Doctor" distinction.
- If the thesis is the result of a joint research project between the University and the company, they must both enter into a general contract and a specific contract. These contracts must be sent to the Vice-Rectorate related to PhD studies.
At the end of the thesis, and together with the requeste of the Assessment prior to PhD thesis submission, the student must send the Industrial Doctor Distinction application to the CADSSC. The student must provide:
- A report demonstrating the relationship between the thesis and the industrial research or experimental development project of the company.
- A copy of the employment contract with the company. This contract must cover the entire thesis development period (at least 3 years for full-time students, and at least 5 years for part-time students).
- A copy of the agreement between the University and the company.
Theses must be defended at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Joint supervision distinction
In order to promote and facilitate internationalization, the PhD degree may include the distinction "Thesis under joint supervision", provided that the following circumstances apply:
- That the Thesis is supervised by doctors from two universities, one of which must be the UPM and the other foreign, having formalized a joint supervision agreement.
- That, for the Thesis work, the student obtains two degrees, one for each of the higher education institutions responsible for the development of the Thesis.
- That, during the training period necessary to obtain the PhD degree, the student has completed a minimum stay of six months in each of the institutions with which the joint supervision agreement is established, carrying out research work, either in a single period or several. The stays and activities will be reflected in the joint supervision agreement.
- Theses under joint supervision may also include the International Doctorate distinction in the PhD degree if stays are carried out in institutions other than those of the formalized agreement.
Extraordinary PhD awards
Awards shall be granted to worthy applicants who have defended a thesis in the previous academic year that was graded "cum laude".
Applications must be addressed to the director of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Informáticos and submitted to the UPM general registry by the closing date established by the UPM PhD Committee.
The School shall then formulate reasoned proposals for granting awards, subject to a report from the academic committees of the PhD programmes conducted by the candidates for extraordinary PhD awards. These proposals must be forwarded, along with the applications submitted by applicants, to the UPM PhD Committee by the date established by the aforesaid committee.
Finally, the UPM PhD Committee shall grant the extraordinary PhD awards, all of which shall be of equal rank.
The periods established in these regulations shall be calculated as calendar days, not including the period from 1 to 31 August or holidays.