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.

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).

Likewise, a compulsory procedure has been established for the analysis of the originality of doctoral theses, carried out using the Turnitin programme, -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.

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, 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, which gives coherence to the research as a whole, as well as a chapter of conclusions.

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. In the case of foreign students who write their Doctoral Thesis in a language other than their mother tongue, the level of knowledge of languages that has been reflected in the admission requirements of the Doctoral Programme in which they are studying will be applied (agreement of the EDUAH Steering Committee of 13 May 2015).

The relevant regulations concerning writing a thesis are set out in Regulations for writing, authorising and defending the doctoral thesis.

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.

Students are recommended to commence the deposit procedure 2 months before the scheduled date of the defence.

Before submitting the deposit, the interested party may request the School for Doctoral Studies, by e-mail to Before submitting the deposit, the interested party may request the School for Doctoral Studies, by e-mail to , information on their academic record to check whether they meet the requirements for submission, information on their academic record to check whether they meet the requirements for submission

Submisison of the doctoral thesis

The deposit must be made at the Doctoral School, either in person or online. In the latter case, you must send an email to The documents to submit, in either of the two modalities, are as follows:

Once the documents submitted have been inspected and it has been verified that the requirements have been met, the doctoral student must submit the request for the deposit of the thesis to the President of the Official Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies Committee at the University's General Registry, sending an email to attaching the request in pdf format. Once registered, a copy will be sent to the Doctoral School.

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 submission.

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.

At the end of the submission period, the Official Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies Committee will evaluate 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 board, who will have 72 hours to reject it. At the end of this period, in the case of traditional format theses, the members of the examining board have one month to send their report on the thesis; until all the reports have been received by the Doctoral School, the defence date cannot be set. In the case of compendium theses, this report is not required.

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 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.