Frequently asked questions about the program Note: most of the information provided below comes from a document that regulates all PhD programs at the University of Barcelona (Normativa reguladora del doctorat a la Universitat de Barcelona last updated in 15/10/2013). References to the different sections in that document are made in most of the answers.
How long should I take to complete my PhD thesis?
According to the UB regulations, full-time PhD students (a minimum of 20 hours/w) should take three years to complete their thesis and part-time students should take up to 5 years. This is very important to take into account when writing your thesis proposal to make sure your plans are doable within this time frame. If these deadlines are not covered, it is advisable that full time-and part-time students take no more than 5 and 8 years respectively to finish. For more details see ‘articles 25 & 26’.
What is the ‘menció internacional’?
The ‘menció internacional’ is a supplementary qualification to the PhD degree. Students applying for this qualification need to fulfill the following requirements:
- A three-month long academic stay at a well-known university abroad. The three months must be consecutive. Upon return you must have a letter that certifies the stay.
- Upon thesis completion, you must obtain two positive reports by two international experts. The reports need to be issued before the thesis defense.
- An international lecturer (different from the two experts above) taking part in the evaluation committee of the thesis.
Application to this international qualification needs to be submitted within three months after the thesis defense and before requesting the PhD degree. For more information see ‘article 49’.
What is the option of producing a thesis out of a number of published articles about?
Traditionally PhD theses are unpublished work. Most of the theses that have been written in our program are of this type. However, there is also the option of compiling a number of published articles as your thesis (co-authored publications are possible too). These articles should be refereed publications in journals or publishing houses that have some reputation in the field. The different articles should have a common thread. There is no indication in the regulations as to how many articles should be included. If you are considering this option, please discuss the pros and cons thoroughly with your supervisor and read ‘article 37’.
At some point, I would like to pay an academic visit to another university. Is there something I should do in advance?
You need to let the coordinator of the program know about your plans (dates and institution) so that the doctoral commission can issue a form that you will need later on to get the ‘menció internacional’.
Are there any guidelines for the writing of the thesis?
The following information should appear on the first/title page: the doctoral programme, thesis title, PhD student’s name and surname, Supervisor(s) (and tutor, if applicable).
According to the general regulations, the thesis should include at least the following sections: summary (in English and Spanish or Catalan), general introduction, objectives, methodology, results and conclusions. For more specific guidelines about how to structure your thesis, follow your supervisor’s advice. Also, look at recent theses by other students in the programme.
There are no guidelines as to the formatting of the thesis but double-sided printing is highly recommended. It is also a good idea to follow the APA Publication manual or any other convention, provided you are consistent. Further information in ‘article 35.3)
What are the key dates in the program?
Registration: from mid-September to mid-October. First year students can also register in February-March.
Year 1: PhD proposal (oral presentation 20 minutes + written report 4000 words)
Subsequent years: Progress report (usually towards the end of every academic year)
For personal reasons, I won’t be able to be active in the program next year. Can I ask for a temporal leave?
Yes, that is possible. You need to write a letter to the Academic Committee of the program asking for a temporal leave. The temporal leave can cover up to one year and it can be extendable to two years. For more details see ‘article 27’.