Doctoral School - UAH - Doctoral Thesis - Writing and Examination

The doctoral thesis

The Doctoral Thesis will consist of an original piece of research work carried out by the PhD student in any field of knowledge and is the main nucleus of the Research Plan (WORD). This work must qualify the PhD student for autonomous work in the field of R+D+i.

To ensure that the thesis complies with the ethical principles of research, several procedures have been established:

  • As a compulsory requirement, all theses must undergo an originality or coincidence analysis, using the Turnitin, -see procedure-.  The programme is available in the University's virtual classroom and must be activated by the student's tutor. This report will be submitted for approval to the Academic Committee on a standardised form.
  • Students admitted from academic year 2020-21 onwards must apply for evaluation of the research project by a Research Ethics Committee if their research phase involves: i) the participation of human subjects, ii) the use of biological or biographical material from human subjects (such as data collection from a register, or the carrying out of surveys), iii) the use of animals (animal experimentation) or iv) the use of biological agents or genetically modified organisms (see procedure).

In addition to the traditional format, there is the possibility of presenting the doctoral thesis as a compendium of articles by the PhD student in publications of recognised prestige. This category includes publications recognised for obtaining research complements (sexenios) in the field in which the research is carried out. The specific requirements (number of articles, type of journals, number and order of authors, etc.) for this type of presentation must be consulted in each of the programmes. The thesis must include, in addition to the articles, a comprehensive summary showing the line of argument of the thesis, giving coherence to the research as a whole.

The Thesis may be written and, where appropriate, defended, in addition to in Spanish, in one of the usual languages for scientific communication in the field of knowledge. In this case, it will include a summary of the thesis in Spanish, containing at least the background, methodology and conclusions of the work carried out.

Thesis format

The name of the University of Alcalá and the Doctoral Programme to which it belongs must appear on the cover (model).

The University’s logotype Will be in keeping with the stipulations of the Basic Rules for using the University of Alcalá’s corporate image.

The title page of the thesis, which shall not be numbered, will include the logo of the University, the name of the Doctoral Programme followed, the title of the thesis, the name of the author, the name of the thesis supervisor(s) and the year of the thesis (model).

Requirements for presenting the doctoral thesis

  1. Once the doctoral thesis has been completed and a certificate of approval has been obtained from the thesis supervisor(s), which includes an analysis of originality, the student must submit it to the Academic Committee of the Programme for approval.
  2. The doctoral student must be matriculated in the doctoral programme in the academic year in which the thesis is to be submitted.
  3. The supervisor(s) of the thesis must coincide with those appearing on the PhD student's file. If this does not coincide, a change of supervisor must be requested on this form.
  4. The title of the thesis must also coincide with the title on the student's file (latest research plan registered with the Academic Committee); if this does not coincide, a new, updated Research Plan must be submitted.
  5. If necessary, a favourable report from the Research Ethics Committee (REC) must have been obtained. This requirement will be compulsory for students admitted after academic year 2020-2021 (inclusive).
  6. At least 12 months must have elapsed since admission to the doctoral programme.
  7. The latest evaluation must be positive.
  8. The student must not have exceeded the established periods of permanence in the doctoral programme.

The details of the academic transcript can be checked by entering the DATRES platform when the thesis is to be submitted and checking whether it meets the aforementioned prerequisites.

The interested party may also report any incident related to the thesis submission process through the available "user service" tab or by email to

It is recommended to start the deposit process 2 months before the scheduled date for the defence.

Submisison of the doctoral thesis

On the DATRES platform, the thesis will be submitted for approval by the supervisor/s and subsequently by the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Programme, by means of the Application Form generated by the PhD student when completing the required documentation:

  • Thesis in pdf.
  • Pdf document generated by the Turnitin application. If the thesis has been compiled from a collection of articles and all the articles have already been published, the report on the analysis of coincidences is not required. If any of the articles have not been published, the analysis must be carried out on those parts of the work that have not been published.
  • Abstract of the thesis in Word (approximately half a page) with the UNESCO codes assigned to the thesis.
  • Complete activity document including all the activities carried out during the PhD in a single pdf file, signed by the Academic Committee, by the PhD student and by the supervisor(s) and tutor if different from the supervisor(s).
  • Report from the Research Ethics Committee (REC), if required, the opinion issued by the Research Ethics Committee (REC) must be uploaded to the platform. This requirement will be compulsory for students admitted from the academic year 2020-2021 (inclusive).

Once the above has been done, if the thesis is presented with any of the modalities foreseen, a drop-down menu will open to upload the specific documentation required for these cases.

If the thesis is applied for with an  Mención Internacional, in addition to the documents indicated above, the following specific documentation must be provided:

  • Endorsement and authorisation of the stay by the Academic Committee.
  • Original certificate/s signed by the person in charge of your stay at the institution (original signature required). This document/s must clearly state that you have stayed for at least 3 months.
  • Two positive reports on the thesis by 2 international experts, duly signed, clearly stating the name, the institution to which they belong and the country (original signature required).
  • Accreditation of a B2 level in the language in which the thesis will be defended, as long as it is not your mother tongue. This rule will be compulsory for doctoral students admitted from the academic year 2015-16. The official certificates accepted by the University of Alcalá can be consulted in the CRUE link for language level accreditation certificates.

The documentation must be original, either with electronic signature or, failing that, with the original handwritten signature.

Once the supervisor(s) and the Academic Committee have reviewed the documentation submitted and authorised the submission of the thesis for deposit on the DATRES platform, the PhD student must submit the application for the deposit of the thesis to the Vice-Rector with responsibility for doctoral matters at the UAH Sede Electrónica, addressed to the Vice-Rector with responsibility for doctoral matters.

Once the thesis has been deposited, the Doctoral School will communicate the period of public information of the deposited thesis to all the departments and university research institutes of the University, indicating that during a period of 10 working days, the thesis may be examined by any doctor at the Doctoral School upon request, and any observations that he/she deems appropriate on the content of the thesis may be sent to the Vice-Rector with responsibility for doctoral matters.

For the purposes of submitting applications, all Saturdays of the year, the month of August, as well as the Christmas and Easter school holidays, will not be considered as working days.

The defence of the Doctoral Thesis must take place within a maximum of four months and a minimum of one and a half months from the date of deposit.

Examination and evaluation of the doctoral thesis

The examining board that assesses the doctoral thesis will be made up of three full members and three substitutes, all holding the degree of Doctor and with accredited research experience. The majority of its members must also be external to the University and to the institutions collaborating in the School or programme.

The thesis supervisor or co-supervisors and tutor, if applicable, may not form part of the examining board, except in the case of theses presented within the framework of bilateral co-supervision agreements with foreign universities, which so provide.

Once the defence of the Doctoral Thesis has been approved by the Academic Committee of the doctoral programme, the Committee will send the Doctoral School the  proposal for the board of examiners, according to the aforementioned characteristics. It is not necessary to wait for the end of the public information period.

Proposal for the board of examiners

At the end of the submission period, the Vice-rector with responsibility for doctoral studies will assess and approve, if appropriate, the proposal for the examining board sent by the Academic Committee. The Doctoral School will notify the appointment to the members of the examining board, who will have one month to send their report on the thesis; the defence date will not be set until all the reports have been received at the Doctoral School. This report is not required in the case of theses consisting of a compendium of articles.

Once the above procedure has been completed, and once the board has agreed on a date, the Secretary will communicate by email to  the day, place and time scheduled for the defence, at least 10 days before the defence (holiday periods will not be taken into account).

The defence of the thesis must be carried out at the University of Alcalá and will take place during the school term of the academic calendar, excluding all Saturdays of the year, the month of August, the Christmas and Easter school holidays, as well as the feast of the patron saint of the faculty or school where the event is held.


The Thesis Panel MEmbers will be composed of three full members and three substitutes, with the degree of Doctor, and the following requirements must be respected in its composition (both full members and substitutes):

  1. The Chair of the panel must have been granted two positive six-year research assessments in the last 16 years (the dates of award will be indicated) or accredit research experience equivalent to that required to obtain the two such assessments. In this case, a summary of the curriculum vitae must be provided in a separate document, indicating, among others, direction and participation in research projects, thesis direction and publications. It may be provided on paper or in a computerised document. In any case, the Department or, where appropriate, the Academic Committee, will ensure compliance with one or other requirement.
  2. If there is a lecturer from the University of Alcalá among the members of the examining board, he/she must act as President or Secretary of the examining board.
  3. The following requirements will be respected in the composition of the panel
    • a) The proposal will be composed of three full members and three substitutes, with the degree of Doctor and accredited research experience. The presence of the three members of the examining board will be required for the valid constitution of the examining board for the defence, discussion, assessment and grading of the thesis.
    • b) Only one member from the university or universities responsible for the Programme, as well as from the collaborating institutions of the Doctoral School in which the Programme is included, may be a member of the examining board (this limit is not established for other universities or organisations).
    • c) The thesis supervisor or co-supervisors and tutor, where applicable, may not form part of the examining board, except in the case of theses presented within the framework of bilateral co-supervision agreements with foreign universities, where this is provided for.

The examining board evaluating the thesis will be provided with the student's activities document detailing the training activities carried out by the student. This document will not be susceptible of a quantitative mark, but will constitute a qualitative assessment instrument that will complement the evaluation of the doctoral thesis.

Once the defence and discussion of the thesis has been completed, the examining board will issue a collegiate report and the overall grade awarded to the thesis according to the following scale: "Not suitable", "Pass", "Good" and "Outstanding".

The examining board may award the mention of "cum laude" if the overall grade is "Outstanding" and a unanimous positive secret ballot is cast in that sense. These votes will be scrutinised at a public session of the Delegate Committee of the Official Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies Committee, which will meet monthly.

Likewise, each member of the examining board may indicate, anonymously, whether they consider that the thesis is worthy of an Extraordinary Doctoral Prize.

Once the doctoral thesis has been approved, the Doctoral School will take charge of archiving it in open electronic format in a repository of the University Library and will send, in electronic format, a copy of it, and all complementary information that may be necessary, to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for inclusion in the TESEO database.