This page summarizes the process and regulations for PhD in Software, Systems and Computing students, approved by the Programme Committee. On this basis, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (based on Royal Decree 99/2011 (amended by other Royal Decrees) has established PhD Thesis Preparation and Assessment Regulations that address the following points:
- Doctoral student training and supervision commitment agreement
- Student Continuation Policy
- PhD thesis supervisor
- Joint supervision procedure for PhD theses
- Internships at companies
- Research plan
- 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
- International Doctor Distinction
- Industrial Doctor Distinction
- Extraordinary PhD awards
- Calculating deadlines
All PhD-related University rules may be found on the Doctoral Rules web page. This site summarizes the main general aspects and the specific details of the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing.
Doctoral student training and supervision commitment agreement
Upon commencement, along with their tutors and thesis supervisor, students must sign the "Doctoral student training and supervision commitment agreement". Two signed hard copies of this commitment must be delivered to the administrative officer (office 3344). Alternatively, an electronically signed PDF file could be emailed to the Programme.
Student Continuation Policy
This section summarizes the UPM Student Continuation Policy, that is published on the UPM PhD Regulations web page.
The regular period for PhD studies will last 3 years (full-time students) or 5 years (part-time students), spanning the effective studies start date until the thesis deposit, as established by Royal Decree 99/2011.
Students mixing part-time and full-time studies will have an intermediate length of studies.
Having finished this period without depositing the thesis, students may be authorized for an extension of this period, which may exceptionally be extended for one more year. Leave due to illness, pregnancy or on any other grounds set forth by regulations in force shall not be taken into account for the purposes of computing the period above. The time spent taking bridge courses shall not be computed, either.
In general, admission and enrolment in the PhD programme will be full-time. Part-time students may be admitted due to work or personal circumstances if they can justify this and apply prior to enrolment.
After starting PhD studies, students may change their status once. Status changes must be justified and applied for at least 2 months before starting the next academic year (meaning, in May or June). If the application is accepted, the change will be effective starting the next academic year. Status changes cannot be requested during or after the last academic year of the regular period.
To apply to begin part-time PhD studies or to apply for a status change, the Status Change Application form (along with documentary proof of the circumstance) must be emailed to the PhD programme. After examination by the CADSSC and the EID, students will be informed of the decision within 2.5 months.
If the students have not deposited the thesis before the end of the regular period, an ordinary extension may be applied for (providing a justification). If the application is accepted, full-time students will have one more year and part-time students will have two more years to deposit their thesis. If this time is insufficient, students may exceptionally apply for another one-year extraordinary extension providing a detailed justification.
Extensions applications must be sent using the THESIS application to the PhD programme no later than 4.5 months before the deposit deadline.
After the PhD Committee has examined ordinary extensions, the Doctoral Area Committee will communicate the decision within 3 months. After the PhD Committee and the Doctoral Area Committee have examined extraordinary extensions, the Doctoral Committee of the EID will communicate the decision within 4.5 months.
Students may apply for temporary leave from the programme in the following situations:
- Personal leave: due to personal or work circumstances.
- Leave for unforeseen circumstances: unforeseen circumstances are caused by illness, pregnancy or any other reason stated by legal regulations.
Students may apply once for one-year of temporary personal leave rom the programme, for any justified personal or professional reason, which can be extended to a second consecutive year. It is not possible to be on personal leave during the first academic year or during the extraordinary extension.
No activity carried out by the doctoral student during the temporary leave period may be taken into account as part of their doctoral training, nor be incorporated into the student's activities document.
To apply for temporary personal leave, the Temporary personal leave application form must be sent to the programme at least 2 months before the scheduled start date of the personal leave (attaching documentary proof of the circumstance).
After evaluation by the CADSSC, the Doctoral Committee of the EID will communicate the resolution they have adopted within an approximate period of 2.5 months.
To renew temporary personal leave, the Renewal of personal leave form must be sent to the programme (attaching the necessary supporting documentation) at least 2 months before the end of the current personal leave.
After evaluation by the CADSSC, the Doctoral Committee of the EID will communicate the resolution they have adopted within an approximate period of 2.5 months.
If the circumstances justifying the personal leave ends, the student may apply for reinstatement in their studies prior to the date of termination of leave. In this case, the student will not be able to opt for renewal of the personal leave or to request a new leave in the future. For early reinstatement from temporary personal leave, the Early reinstatement of temporary personal Leave form must be sent to the Doctoral Committee (email@example.com) of the EID (attaching supporting documentation) at least 1 month in advance of the requested reinstatement date.
After evaluation, the Doctoral Committee of the EID will communicate the resolution they have adopted within an approximate period of 5 weeks.
Once the period of temporary personal leave has ended, students must enrol in the current academic year within a maximum period of 15 days (if they are not already enrolled).
Leave for unforeseen cause
At any time during the thesis development period, students may request temporary leave for unforeseen circumstances. The application for leave due to unforeseen circumstances must be documented and submitted within a 30-day period after the start date of the leave. In the event that the temporary leave is authorized, its effective duration will be as set forth in the supporting documentation.
Leave for unforeseen circumstances must be applied for with the Doctoral Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the EID, using the Leave for unforeseen circumstance application form and attaching necessary documentary evidence. Leave must be accredited by means of the official doctor’s note for temporary incapacitation or, failing this, by means of the official medical certificate. In the event that the supporting documentation does not indicate the end date of leave, the discharge report must be submitted to the Doctoral Committee of the EID (email@example.com) within 10 days after it is issued.
After evaluation, the Doctoral Committee of the EID will communicate the resolution they have adopted within a period of approximately 45 days, stating, in the event that the leave is granted, the start and end date of the leave.
In the event that the circumstance causing the leave is extended, the student must apply for renewal, providing pertinent documentation and repeating this same procedure and using the Leave for unforeseen circumstance application form. Renewal must be applied for within a maximum period of 30 days after the end of the previously authorized leave period and within a maximum period of 10 days after the date of the medical discharge report, whichever occurs first.
PhD students cannot continue their Software, Systems and Computing PhD studies when:
- The PhD fees are not paid for each academic year by the dates established by the University, or enrolment has been cancelled due to non-payment of all or part of the academic tuition fee.
- The Research Plan for each course is not delivered, or the Plan has been negatively evaluated twice.
- The thesis is not deposited before the student's deadline.
- The thesis was deposited but not defended within a maximum period of six months after the date of application for deposit.
- The student has received a disciplinary report, or the student’s conduct has been sanctioned with expulsion.
- An overall failing score is received for defence of the Thesis.
- The student has requested to not continue studies.
- Any other cause established by current regulations.
PhD students who have been expelled for any of the reasons referred to in sections a, b, c, d, g, and h may not be reinstated in the same PhD programme for five years after definitive withdrawal, but they may request, one time, admission to another PhD programme at the UPM. PhD students who have been expelled for the reasons set forth in sections e and f may not be reinstated in any of the UPM's PhD programmes..
Changing PhD Programmes
Students may apply to change PhD programmes in the following situations:
- During the first year of the thesis: students who consider that their research is better suited to a line of research in another PhD programme may apply to change PhD programmes during the first academic year of their studies and prior to delivery of the Research Plan.
- Starting a new thesis: students who have permanently withdrawn from a PhD programme at the UPM may apply for admission to another PhD programme at the UPM may request admission to another PhD programme at the UPM to carry out a new thesis, as long as the reason for the definitive withdrawal does not prevent doing so.
Details on procedures can be found in the UPM's Student Continuation Policy.
PhD thesis supervisor
No later than three months after enrolment, PhD candidates shall be appointed a thesis supervisor by the CADSSC to advise preparation of their PhD thesis. Thesis supervisors must be programme faculty members holding a PhD and with proven research experience. Non-faculty members shall also be eligible, provided that they comply with the PhD in Software, Systems and Computing and standard UPM PhD programme criteria. A student's tutor and PhD thesis supervisor need not necessarily be the same person.
New students are advised to contact programme faculty and UPM research groups associated with the programme in order to scope out the topic that they intend to research. Students must notify the programme administrative officer when, as a result of such contact, a faculty member agrees to supervise their thesis.
No later than three months after the start of the academic year, all students must have selected a research topic so that the CADSSC can assign thesis supervisors. Otherwise, the CADSSC shall assign a thesis supervisor ex officio to the student.
New researchers as thesis supervisors
In general, for new researchers to join the PhD programme as thesis supervisors, the following criteria will be considered:
- The researcher must have accredited research experience, either through active recognized research merits or equivalent scientific production. A research merit is considered active if it has been obtained within the past six years, or when there are at least five research merits.
- In the case of applications from researchers from another institution, doctors will be allowed to join if, even while not meeting the requirements of the previous point, they demonstrate a long history of research and innovation in the industrial or professional field.
Doctors interested in joining as researchers in a doctoral programme must file the Application for registration as a researcher in the doctorate programme using the THESIS application. Researchers who do not belong to the UPM and do not have access to this application must request access beforehand by sending the Application to access THESIS to be included as a researcher in the PhD Programme. When accessing the “My Requests” section of THESIS to apply to register in the PhD programme (10E2 Doctorado en Software, Sistemas y Computación), the following documents must be provided:
- An application form, complete with a summary of research information.
- An updated curriculum vitae showing scientific production, supervised doctoral theses and projects or contracts management. In addition, the applicant's ORCID record must be up-to-date and include the referenced information.
- Proof of award of the last research merit, if applicable.
- Authorization to participate in the PhD programme issued by the responsible authority of the applicant's body of origin (only in the event that the applicant does not belong to the UPM or to the collaborating entities of the PhD).
The CADSSC will assess the application and issue a report within a maximum period of two months, and then forward the application to the Doctoral Area Committee of the EID of the UPM. The Doctoral Area Committee may request all additional reports that it may require and shall decide on the application in no more than two months.
In addition, a researcher who is not supervising any student's thesis may request to leave the PhD programme using the Form to leave the PhD programme.
PhD thesis co-supervision
On academic grounds, a PhD thesis may be co-supervised by a second thesis supervisor holding a PhD degree and with proven research experience, when any of the following occurs:
- The thesis topic is interdisciplinary o inter-sectoral, requiring the contribution of both supervisors in different knowledge areas. The student should justify the contribution of both supervisors.
- Joint supervision is requested, or supervisors are from different institutions. The student should justify the institution of each supervisor and provide the corresponding inter-institutional or international collaboration framework.
- The thesis seeks an industrial doctor distinction.
- The thesis would provide a new supervisor (with no previous experience in thesis supervision) with training in thesis supervision. This training will be led by an experienced supervisor that must have supervised more than two theses. The student should justify the experience of the first supervisor.
Co-supervision should preferably be applied for during the first year or, in general, no later than the end of the second year. Exceptionally, co-supervision may be requested in the third year, providing a very clear justification based on joint productivity (papers, projects, or patents). Co-supervision cannot be applied for if the student is in the extension period.
One thesis cannot have more than two supervisors, although other professionals could collaborate with the students.
The thesis may not be deposited within in the 6 months immediately following co-supervision approval.
The PhD candidate must apply to the CADSSC for co-supervision using THESIS, providing justification of both supervisor contributions to the thesis, and both supervisors must validate this (if the new supervisor does not belong to this PhD, the new researcher should apply to be a PhD member beforehand, as explained in the previous section).
The CADSSC will assess the application and issue a report within a maximum period of two months, and then forward the application to the Doctoral Area Committee of the EID of the UPM. The Doctoral Area Committee may request any additional reports that it may require and shall decide on the application within no more than two months.
The aforesaid authorization may be withdrawn at a later date if the Doctoral Area Committee resolves that co-supervision is of no benefit to thesis development.
PhD thesis supervisor replacement
Any PhD candidate who wishes to replace their PhD thesis supervisor must apply to the CADSSC using the Thesis supervisor replacement application form. Thesis supervisors may be replaced at any time up until the PhD thesis is deposited.
The UPM PhD Committee may request any additional reports that it requires and shall decide on the application within two months.
Joint supervision procedure for doctoral theses
One of the objectives of the UPM is to promote and develop scientific cooperation with other international institutions. This may be encouraged through the joint international supervision of PhD theses. Such joint supervision favors PhD candidate mobility and contributes to strengthening ties between UPM groups and groups from other universities with regard to cooperation.
The joint supervision of each doctoral thesis shall be carried out under the framework of cooperation between the UPM and another university, according to a joint supervision agreement between both universities.
The application for joint supervision must be submitted to the CADSSC, signed by the student and the supervisor, with attached documents supporting the collaboration. When it was approved, it will be sent to the UPM PhD International School.
The doctoral programme admission requirements shall be as required at each university. The doctoral candidate shall enrol at both universities, although he or she shall only be liable for tuition fees at one of the institutions and shall be exempt at the other. The agreement shall state which university charges, and which waives, the tuition fees.
The doctoral candidate shall perform his or her research activities at both the universities that have entered into the joint supervision agreement and shall spend one or more periods totalling at least six months at each. The stays and activities shall be specified in the agreement signed by the two parties.
The doctoral thesis shall be defended at one of the two universities. This point shall be agreed upon by the participating universities and specified in the agreement.
The doctoral thesis examination board shall be appointed by mutual agreement between the two universities, and its composition shall, whenever possible, comply with the regulatory criteria of both institutions. The board should include at most one doctoral degree holder from each signatory university.
Pursuant to the agreement, each institution shall recognize the validity of the doctoral thesis. The thesis shall be graded according to the grading system established in the country in which the thesis is defended. Furthermore, the examination board shall also enter the grade awarded under the system applicable in the other university's country.
Both institutions shall file and disseminate the thesis according to their own specific procedures.
The complete joint supervision procedure, agreement and forms are available at UPM's website.
The PhD programme encourages student mobility by promoting sojourns at other national or international institutions of higher education or research centers of excellence where students may opt to complete part of their research for their thesis.
The sojourns must be recorded in the PhD student's Activity Log. To this end, students must submit a Mobility Application to the PhD Programme Committee beforehand. Students are asked to fully cooperate in completion of this application, as the stated information is also necessary for quality agencies to monitor and possibly evaluate the PhD Programme.
Additionally, students are reminded that, in order to be able to opt for the International PhD Mention, the minimum length of a sojourn at a higher education institution or research center of excellence outside Spain is three months, and the PhD Programme Committee must have been previously informed of the aforesaid sojourn.
Internships at companies
Legislation allows students to conduct internships at companies; however, PhD students do not require this kind of training and there are no credits to be recognized. If this collaboration could prove useful, these are the possibilities:
- If the activity at the company is not related to the thesis, the company and the student may reach an agreement independent from the University. In any case, the student must obtain written approval from his or her tutor and supervisor and from the CADSSC.
- If the activity at the company is a research activity directly related to the student’s thesis, the student must ask the CADSSC to be included in the student’s Activities Document. An Educational Cooperation Agreement must be established, managed by the UPM's COIE. Internships must be paid, the student must be included in the Régimen General de la Seguridad Social (Spanish Social Security System) and mobility insurance must be provided. The agreement must specify that the internship is to complete the student’s education. The internship timetable must be compatible with the student’s activities at the University.
- If the company desires a longer collaboration with the University, the company may establish a Cátedra or Aula Agreement (managed by COIE) or an Industrial PhD (managed by PhD Vice-Rectorate) with the UPM.
The duration of the internship, the required timetable and the relationship with the thesis must be established in the internship agreement. The agreement should also establish the distribution of ownership over the results derived from thesis work that may be protected by patents, software registers or other intellectual and industrial property, and they will be determined according to the nature of the works, the percentage of the student's funding by the company and the University, the contracts previously signed and the participation of researchers from both parties in the results.
PhD students must define the PhD thesis title at the end of the first academic year, prior to the Research Plan. To define the PhD thesis title or to modify an existing one, it should be requested at THESIS application and it should be approved by the thesis supervisors.
PhD candidates must draft a research plan every year. This research plan must state at least the research methodology and goals, as well as the research resources and time chart. Students must draft their first research plan at the end of their first year of the programme. This research plan shall be improved and specified further in successive years.
The PhD candidate and the thesis supervisor or supervisors shall be responsible for submitting the annual research plan to the CADSSC, detailing the progress and the most significant interim results of the PhD thesis research. Only students who have paid the academic supervision fees shall be entitled to submit this report. The UPM PhD Committee shall establish the format and submission date for this report. The research plan shall be completed at THESIS.
The CADSSC shall annually assess each PhD candidate's research plan, in addition to the reports from thesis supervisors. Students shall not be allowed to continue in the programme unless they receive a positive evaluation.
In the event of a negative evaluation, whose circumstances must be duly proven, PhD candidates must prepare another research plan for reevaluation within six months. If the reevaluation is negative again, or if the Research Plan has not been sent, the PhD students shall be expelled from the programme.
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. A template of the title page is provided (the first page should also include the same information, adding the names and academic degrees of supervisors).
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).
A Word template and a PDF template is provided, so students can use them (first pages must strictly match the templates).
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: 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. 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:
- 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:
- Highly reputed, specialized journals listed in JCR (Journal Citation Reports Q1, Q2 or Q3).
- CORE A or A* Conferences.
- Conferences with SCIE rating A, A+, or A++.
- Own-use patents, evidenced by means of a purchase agreement or licensing contract.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 PhD thesis pre-defence or equivalent procedure, 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:
- Highly reputed, specialized journals listed in JCR (Journal Citation Reports Q1, Q2 or Q3).
- CORE A or A* Conferences.
- Conferences with SCIE rating A, A+, or A++.
- Own-use patents, evidenced by means of a purchase agreement or licensing contract.
- 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 PhD thesis defence. To do so, 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).
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). 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.
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 (email@example.com) by email:
- 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.
- 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 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 Doctor Distinction
The "International Doctor" distinction (International doctor application form) may be added to of the back of the PhD degree certificate, provided all the following circumstances apply:
- During the required PhD research period, the PhD student has completed a stay of at least three months studying or conducting research at a prestigious institution of higher education or a research center outside Spain. The visit and activities must be endorsed by the supervisors and authorized by the CADSSC, and shall be added to the candidate's documented activities. An original certificate issued by the institution of higher education or research center 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 presented 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 manuscript (Expert thesis report). 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 center.
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 the student has participated in an industrial research or experimental development project directly related to the PhD thesis and conducted at a public or private company (not a university). The student must have an employment contract with the company. 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 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.
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. Deadlines that fall on a Saturday shall be extended to the next business day.