Real Decreto 99/2011, de 28 de enero, por el que se regulan las enseñanzas oficiales de doctorado (downloads area) establishes the structure of doctoral studies in Spain.
Pursuant to this Act, individuals are generally eligible to access doctoral studies if they have previously completed five years of university studies, including at least one year at the master’s level (see “Requirements to access doctoral studies”). To be admitted or selected candidates must meet all access requirements, pass a program-specific assessment, submit a research proposal in one of the program’s focus areas and choose a supervisor, who will be charged with monitoring research skills acquisition by the doctoral student throughout the program and fulfillment of the quality criteria prescribed by the program.
From an academic point of view, doctoral programs are managed by an Academic Committee composed of representatives of each research area and chaired by the Program Coordinator. All aspects of the admission, assessment and authorization processes which may have academic implications, are handled by the Committee.
Students enrolled in a doctoral program have three years to write up their theses. This period may be extended in the case of part-time students or students on leave of absence for good cause, or for exceptional causes.
Doctoral students are subject to annual assessment. Assessment is mostly based on the progress achieved on thesis requirements and student performance in any required academic activities.
Approval to defend the doctoral thesis depends on the quality criteria established by the program. If the research carried out by the student fails to meet the expected quality criteria by the end of the time frame set in the legislation, the project will be discarded from the program.