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Doctoral studies of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) are regulated by Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28, which governs official doctoral studies in Spain.

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AQU Catalunya reviews Catalan university degree courses, faculties and schools and assures the quality and continuous enhancement of degree courses. This Agency  is registered in EQAR, a quality assurance framework for the European Higher Education Area EHEA.

Academic and organizational information

Our PhD programs belong to the “Architecture, Urbanism and Construction” area. You can consult the academic and organizational details, accessing the following links of our Doctoral School::

Doctoral degree in Architectural Design
Doctoral degree in Architectural, Building Construction and Urbanism Technology 
Doctoral degree in Architectural, Civil and Urban Heritage and Refurbishment of Existing Buildings
Doctoral degree in Architecture, Energy and Environment
Doctoral degree in Theory and History of Architecture
Doctoral degree in Urban and Architectural Management and Valuation

Doctoral degree in Urbanism


The Doctorate Degree grants an official university formation, whose purpose is the acquisition of the competences and abilities related to high-level scientific research. The activities and research are carried out under the direction of the assigned thesis’ director. It does not include credits, nor formal education. 

Research plan

During the first academic year a “Research plan” must be submitted, which is evaluated by a jury of three doctors who are experts in the field. Passing this evaluation allows the doctoral student to elaborate the Doctoral Thesis.

PhD thesis

The doctorate program culminates with the completion of the Doctoral thesis, which is an original piece of research carried out by the doctoral student in any of the disciplines of the PhD program. The UPC establishes mechanisms to monitor the thesis work, as well as to ensure the quality and guarantee the commitment of the PhD student. As a final action, the doctoral candidate must defend it publicly to a panel of examiners who are experts on the topic. The panel is composed by three or five members, at the discretion of the Academic Committee of the program. Most of the examiners on this panel must be external to the UPC.

Doctor’s Degree

The passing of the Doctoral Thesis leads to obtain the title of “Doctor by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya”. It has official validity throughout the Spanish’ national territory and the European Higher Education Area. It has full academic effects and qualifies the holder for teaching and research, in accordance with what is established in the legal provisions.


Full time

Duration, full-time, is three  years. After this period, the Academic Committee of the program may or may not authorize one year of extension and another one extraordinary extension, if the Committee deems it appropriate, depending on the evolution of the research and under the conditions established in each program.

The minimum duration of the full-time doctorate is two courses.

Part time

With the permission of the Academic Committee, students may take a part-time course, in which case the maximum duration is five years.  The Academic Committee may or may not authorize a two-year extension and a further one-year extraordinary extension, in accordance with the conditions established in each program.

The minimum duration of the part-time doctorate is four years.

The dedication modality is indicated at the time of the first enrollment, through the document "Document of commitment between the doctoral student and the thesis director, CDDT".  

Students can request the change of dedication only once. It would be possible to change from "full time" to "part time", only in the case that no extension had been requested during the "full time" modality and before the end of the initial duration.

To request a change of dedication, students should present the form "Application for a change of study load [CADE]", signed by the student and his/her supervisors

Important: Academic year and enrollments

Applying for an extension.

After completion of the initial period, students can apply for an extension.  In order to do so, they should submit the “Application for extension of the submission of the doctoral thesis” form to the Doctorate Office.  It should be presented filled and with the signatures of the student and his/her directors.  We will ask for  the authorization of the PhD coordinator.

Temporary withdraw

Doctoral candidates may also temporarily withdraw from the programme for up to one year, and this period may be extended for an additional year. Any candidate who wishes to interrupt his or her studies must submit a justified request (free format) to the academic committee of the doctoral programme, which will decide whether or not to approve the request. This request must have the approval of the thesis director.

Signatures. All the documents indicated above must be completed and signed by the interested party and their thesis directors. From the Secretariat we will request the authorization of the coordinator of the doctorate program.


Grading system

Doctoral grading is descriptive, not numeric and the activities are evaluated annually by the thesis supervisor, with the grading of "Satisfactory" or "Not satisfactory".


The languages of instruction, among others, are Catalan, Spanish or English, after agreement with the assigned director.

Tuition fee

Health insurance

Students aged less than 28 years have school insurance, which covers only school’s accidents during the first year of the enrolment.  Medical assistance and prescriptions are included from the second year on.  Older students do not have any insurance covered by the enrolment fee.