- PhD type
- UAB PhD
- Number of places available
- aprox. €540 per year View detail of the PhD's fees
- Languages in which the thesis may be written
- English, Catalan and Spanish.
- Organising universities and institutions
- Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- Associated departments or institutes
- Departament de Geography
- Collaborating institutions
Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (UAB)
- Areas of knowledge
- Social Sciences and Law
Why do this PhD?
Do you want to carry out critical spatial and environmental research?
This PhD in Geography allows you to do just that.
- It offers you the chance to learn alongside highly qualified teaching staff, who between them are involved in twelve lines of specialised research in geography from a critical spatial and environmental standpoint.
- It connects you with internationally renowned consolidated research groups, leaders in Spain, which in turn opens the door to networks of international expertise and offers you a collective learning experience with doctoral students involved in related research.
- Because of the high number of international students. The programme selects talented candidates from diverse geographical and academic backgrounds who will help create a diverse forum for intellectual debate and an interdisciplinary environment for innovation.
- To gain expertise in a specific field of knowledge and advanced research techniques that will enable you to position the impact of your research in a wider context.
- Because it provides you with transferable skills in project design and management, in writing for academic audiences and in effective communication of knowledge beyond academia.
- Because of the highly personalised training offered by the programme’s supervisors, tutors, coordination teams and the academic committee.
Why choose the UAB?
- Because this PhD in Geography has been awarded the Excellent Accreditation seal (AQU, Ministry of Universities, 2019).
- Because the UAB Department of Geography holds leading positions in international rankings: First quartile of the Global Ranking by academic subjects (ARWU): position 34 (in quartile 1 to 50 Universities) and number one in Spain.
- Because of the extensive training offered by the UAB Doctoral School and the PhD in Geography, which also collaborates with other related programmes.
- To be able to study on a university campus surrounded by nature and with access to research and student welfare services, such as physical exercise, healthcare, and cultural activities.
- Because of the UAB's commitment to the ethical standards of education, knowledge generation and social transfer promoted by international codes, as well as the values of freedom, democracy, justice, equality and solidarity.
This PhD programme provides the following principal career options:
- Training of researchers and lecturers in research centres and universities.
- Specialist staff and advisers in study centres operated by the public administration, companies, international organisations, foundations, NGOs, associations, etc.
(Professor, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro)
(Researcher, National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT))
(Postdoctoral researcher Ramón y Cajal, Department of Geography. Universitat Rovira i Virgili)
PhD presentation video
Maria Antònia Casellas Puigdemasa
Composition of the academic tribunal for the PhD programme
Anna Badia Perpinyà
Mireia Baylina Ferré
Gemma Cànoves Valiente
Maria Antònia Casellas Puigdemasa (coordinator)
Maria Dolors García Ramon
Carme Miralles Guasch
Oriol Nel·lo Colom
David Saurí Pujol
Alba Palma (secretary of the Department)
Department of Geography
Building B, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra
Phone: 93 581 1527
Lines of research and thesis supervision
Thesis supervisor/s and academic tutor/s
Thesis supervision and thesis tutoring
PhD thesis supervisor
At the time of making the admission proposal, the academic tribunal of the PhD programme assigns the PhD candidate a thesis supervisor, and this figure will be responsible for the coherence and appropriateness of the activities, impact and innovation in the subject field of the thesis and will guide the planning and adequacy of the research to other projects and activities.
The designation of a thesis supervisor may fall on any Spanish or Foreign PhD with accredited research experience independently of the university, centre or institution in which they work. At the same time, each PhD programme may establish additional criteria as necessary for the PhD thesis supervisor.
The supervisor's responsibilities are the following:
- Try to ensure that the project is original, innovative and viable, under the terms of the rules, and also that it is coherent with the group or line of the research to which it is linked.
- Agree to the plan for the supervision of research work and plan regular meetings. The supervisor informs what documents are required for each meeting (written reports, messages, minutes, handwritten papers etc) to be able to accredit the frequency of the meetings.
- Advise the PhD candidate on the research in general and the preparation of the thesis in particular.
- Indicate to the PhD candidate the most appropriate activities for their research when the PhD programme has been identified and sign the activities document.
- Facilitate the candidate's participation in the specific and transferrable training activities for the PhD programme in accordance with that established in the commitment document.
- Sign the commitment and activities document for the PhD candidate.
- Assist the PhD candidate in the definition of the PhD research project and the research that will eventually culminate in the PhD thesis.
- Revise and sign the research plan for the thesis.
- Undertake to regularly supervise in accordance with the commitment document, the research plan for the PhD candidate, and help them to focus the project while it is being carried out.
- Try to ensure that the PhD student takes the initiative and achieves increasing autonomy throughout the project.
- Assist the PhD candidate to find solutions for different aspects related to their research and establish the specific details and the means required and, where necessary, the experimental design.
- Let the PhD candidate know about all the means available to them at the University that are important for their research and help them to access them.
- Write the forms required for the annual review.
- Read, correct and comment on the draft thesis before it is deposited, on the conditions that the candidate has provided a copy a reasonable time beforehand.
- Ensure that the candidate understands the administrative and academic requirements for the assessment and defence of the thesis as well as the corresponding deadlines throughout the process.
- Communicate health and safety rules to the PhD candidate where necessary.
- Communicate any rule or ethical aspect that may be related to their research.
The designation of the thesis supervisor may be modified at any time during the PhD programme: whenever there are justified reasons the supervisor may reject supervision of the thesis (in which case the academic tribunal for the programme will suggest a replacement); on petition of the PhD candidate where there are justifications for doing so the academic tribunal of the PhD programme may change the designation of the PhD supervisor.
Thesis supervisors outside the PhD programme
Thesis supervisors who are not lecturers at the UAB or who have not been appointed as a thesis director must accredit their own PhD qualification and research experience, i.e. specific details of publications, research projects they have worked on and any other information relevant to the lines of research proposed on the PhD programme. Once the above supervisor has been approved, the academic tribunal for the PhD programme may authorise their incorporation into the programme as a possible thesis supervisor (or assign them to a single doctoral thesis).
Each PhD programme must establish which other lecturers, whatever their category as long as they are not included in the programme, are able to supervise the thesis.
Joint supervision of the PhD thesis
The PhD thesis may be supervised by other PhD holders where there are academic arguments for doing so (such as interdiscplinarity of the subject or national or international programmes) with the prior authorisation of the academic tribunal of the PhD programme. This authorisation may be withdrawn at a later date if, in the opinion of the academic tribunal, the joint supervision is not beneficial to the progress of the thesis.
A PhD thesis may be jointly supervised by up to three PhD holders.
Maximum number of theses per supervisor
Each supervisor may supervise a maximum of five PhD theses simultaneously. The supervision of the PhD thesis concludes at the time the thesis is presented and defended or if the PhD candidate withdraws. In terms of recognition of the teaching and research dedication in situations of joint supervision these should be divided equally.
Recognition of thesis supervision
One essential way to encourage thesis supervision is by ensuring that this task is recognised and valued: something that the UAB regulations achieve. The approval of the Academic Workload Model for UAB Teaching Staff by the Governing Council on 13 December 2017, significantly improved the system used to calculate and take account of supervision tasks. Article 10.3 stipulates that the supervisor of a doctoral thesis is to have 100 hours recognised per thesis supervised. If supervision is carried out by more than one person, this recognition is shared equally between them.
At the time of application the academic tribunal of the programme will assign the candidate an academic tutor. The academic tutor must be a doctor with accredited research experience, linked to the programme in which has been admitted the doctoral student..
The academic tutor has the following responsibilities:
- Ensure coherence in the tasks of the PhD candidate and supervisor and the research group.
- Provide communication between the PhD student and the academic tribunal of the PhD programme.
- Ensure the appropriateness of the PhD training and research activity to the programme and the norms of the School for Doctoral Studies.
- Sign the commitment and activities document for the PhD candidate.
- Check and sign the PhD research plan.
- Write the reports required for the annual review.
The academic tribunal of the programme can establish, where possible, that the academic tutor can also be the thesis supervisor.
The designation of the academic tutor may be changed at any time during the PhD course: on the part of the PhD candidate, where there are justified reasons; on the part of the thesis supervisor, where there are justified reasons. In these cases the academic tribunal of the PhD programme has to propose a new tutor.
The UAB PhD programs are onsite.
Candidates who wish to access a PhD programme must apply to the academic committee for admissions using the online application form and follow the procedure established by the coordinators or administrative managers responsible for the PhD programme for the proposal of a tutor and thesis supervisor.
You can find more information about the academic tutor and supervisor of the thesis in the section "Lines and supervision".
Before beginning your application make sure you satisfy the admission requirements, have all the necessary documents which you will need to scan and have seen the admissions calendar.
If you want to apply for a place on a PhD programme, please note the sections that you must fill in on the application form.
The applicant must also propose if he wants to do the thesis full-time or part-time. You will find more information on this page.
We recommend that you check this video before starting the application (video in Spanish; click on the CC button to display the English subtitles):
Summary fo the steps to follow in your application
- To acces the application form, you will need a university identificacion number (NIU) and a password. To obtain these:
- Select the PhD programme that interests you.
- Enter your personal and academic details (and, if applicable, the line of research in which you want to work) in the appropriate parts of the application form. Your name and surname must be those that appear on your DNI, passport, NIE or identity card of your country.
- Scan the necessary personal and academic documents and attach them to your application. Documentos should be in .pdf, .jpg or .doc format (maximum 4 MB).
- Beforehand, consult the file for the PhD programme you have chosen. In the 'Admission' tab you will find the Documentation section.
- Prepare the documents. Check how the documentation of the studies completed and personal should be, to attach it.
If it is a program requirement, you must also include, filled out and signed, a document stating the approval of your thesis supervisor / academic tutor (if the director is external to the UAB, you will first have to check , when you do the pre-registration, if you already appear as an internal director -you have to search for the director by last name and if you find him/her with a code, you have to select him/her since already registered-). Check the documentation section of your program that you will find in the 'Admission' tab to see if the program has a specific document model.
Failure to include the requested documents in each of the specific sections of the application may lead to the denial of your application.
- Connect to sia.uab.cat, make the request and attach the necessary documentation.
- Remember that you must present this same access documentation to register. Check this link for more information.
- You can download the proof of receipt of your application. Decisions on applications will be sent by e-mail to the address indicated in the pre-registration application. If you need an early admission motivated by a scholarship, you must indicate it in the field of observations as well as indicate for which scholarship. The coordination of the program, depending on the situation, will resolve your early admission, if applicable.
Consult some indications that may be useful for you to pre-register online:
Remember that you must indicate on the previous studies screen of the application, in the section 'data of the study of origin', the highest level qualification (if, for example, you are admitted to a master's degree, you must indicate this information, not that of the bachelor). In the event that you indicathe other information, this admission will be wrongly recorded and no subsequant changes can be made.
- What to do if you have taken a master's degree in Spain and you do not find it in the list of masters that are listed in the university where you studied it?
If you have a master's degree (official) in a Spanish university and when you indicate the university does not appear in the list of masters, you can indicate as follow:
Remember that you will have to indicate if you have finished it or not and, once informed this field, click the 'Next' button to continue the online application.
- Choose the option "Master obtained outside Spain".
- In the country selection popup screen, enter "Spain" and search for the university (you can use * to facilitate the search, for example: * Rioja *).
- In the field of studies indicate the name of the studies you have taken (for example: "Master in Information Technology").
- Considerations for filling in personal information
- In the institutional email field, if you do not have it indicated, you must add your personal email address.
- As for the addresses, you have to incorporate both the usual and the during the course. If the latter does not yet know, you must indicate the same address that you indicated in the usual address.
- Regarding the birth zip code, if you were born in a Spanish population that has more than one code, you can indicate any of them.
- If you apply for more than one doctorate at the UAB, the application will retrieve the information of the mandatory documentation that you indicated in the first application for doctoral access. If the second request asks for other documentation, you can indicate it in the optional documents.
- If you do not find your university registered in the system, you must select any other university in your country and in the field of observations of the same application indicate the name of the university where you got the degree.
CHECK THE DOCUMENTATION SECTION BELOW IN CASE YOUR PHD PROGRAMME REQUIRES YOU TO DO ANY OTHER MANAGEMENT BEFORE STARTING THE PRE-REGISTRATION AND YOU WILL ALREADY BE ABLE TO ACCESS THE PRE-REGISTRATION APPLICATION
Once your application has been saved, you will enter the selection process. You will receive the result of the resolution in a personalized way in the email that you indicated in the application for admission, according to the schedule of the doctoral program. Check the spam tray to verify that it has not been treated as junk mail.
In this PhD programme, you must indicate in the computer application the research line in which you want to develop the thesis. On the other hand, the academic tutor and the thesis supervisor will be assigned by the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, so that there is no need to indicate any proposal of tutor and director in the computer application.
This PhD programme has, for the 2022-2023 academic year, the following pre-registration periods:
- From February, 15 to March, 31
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: April, 20
- From April, 1 to May, 29
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: June, 27
- From June, 20 to July, 29
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: October, 3
- From September, 1 to September, 14
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: October, 14
- From October, 3 to October, 14
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: October, 31
- From October, 17 to October, 31
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: November, 17
- From November, 2 to November, 16
- RESOLUTION maximum by the School of Doctorate: December, 14
Documentation necessary for admission
Applicants must be able to accredit before the coordinators or academic managers of the PhD programme that their previous studies are sufficient for access to a PhD programme in accordance with prevailing legislation and must provide this obligatory documents relatet to previous studies (degree and academic certificates) on registering (see the required documents in the 'Documents to be submitted for registration' point on the 'Enrolment' section in this website).
In the 'Admission' section you can also see all the possible paths for access to PhD programmes that are permitted under the current regulations.
The required documents may be presented in Catalan, Spanish or English. Any documents issued in French, Italian or Portuguese can be presented as translations carried out by the UAB Language Service. Applicants must organise their own translations and pay for them. For documents issued in any other language, they must be presented as translation into Catalan, Spanish or English by a sworn translator, working for any diplomatic or consular service of Spain abroad or the Spanish consular or diplomatic representation of the applicant’s national country.
To legalise the documentation accrediting studies carried out abroad, follow the procedure set out in the 'Legalisation' section on this website. Non-legalised documents may be presented for admission to the PhD programme even though legalisation will be required for the registration stage.
If, at the time of application, you still do not have the corresponding certificate or provisional certificate, because you have not yet completed your studies you must indicate this on the application form and admission proposal in the 'Academic details' section, by marking the option "Pending completion'.
Admission will be conditioned on obtaining the degree. Once you have submitted a copy of the Substitute Certificate of the title to the Doctoral School, the final admission will be generated and from this date the term of one month will be counted for enrollment.
Regarding certifications and titles, you must attach the corresponding documentation according to the previous official studies.
|Compulsory Documents||How to attach in the computer application|
|- Certification* or academic record of the Degree or the Spanish or foreign degree
- Certification* or academic record of the Master's Degree / Doctoral Program
- Certification* or academic record of the DEA or the Research Proficiency
*Certifications that include the period in academic years of the degree, the subjects taken, credits obtained and grades obtained.
|Certification Degree / Bachelor / Master's Degree / DEA / cert. 2 years of Specialist / PhD Programme
|- Spanish or foreign degree
- Master's Degree
- PhD Degree
- DEA Degree (RD 778/1998)
|Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree or DEA / T.Specialist in Health Sciences / Spanish PhD's Degree
|- Motivation letter (contact the programme coordinator first)
|- Curriculum vitae with justification of merit that includes: research experience, publications, professional experience, stays abroad and scholarships and research grants obtained
|- DNI / Passport
||Copy of DNI or Passport
|- Application form for part-time PhD studies (document in Spanish)
|- Picture of the face with a white background (.jpg format, maximum 15 Kb)||Picture|
|Opcional Documents||How to attach in the computer application|
|- Language level accreditation
||Foreign language certification
|- Reference letters
In addition to the documentation that each programme indicates, two documents (Other documents1 and Other documents2) that serve as a wildcard are attached for each programme so that the interested person can attach other documents that he or she considers appropriate or that the PhD programme indicates.
Admissions before the established period and pre-admissions
The Doctoral School, following the indications of the coordination of the PhD programme, can issue before the start of the term of admission of an academic course, or before the end of the term of resolution, letters of admission so that you can request a scholarship or to do the visa procedures in your country. It is only necessary that you enter your application in the computer application and that you indicate it in the Observations field, where you must indicate that you need a letter of admission and the scholarship to which you are opting. If the computer application is closed, you can contact the coordination of the programme.
If you need a preadmission, the coordination of the programme can issue it if it considers it appropriate. You must contact the coordination of the programme to inform you of the procedure.
On the International Support Service website you can see more information about future foreign students related to residencies in Catalonia, legal procedures and the UAB campus.
Monitoring your application
You can monitor your application using the same page as you made it. Below are the explanations of the different stages:
- Application made by student: your pre-registration has been saved.
- Incomplete application: there are documents missing from the application.
- Validated by the administrative office: the application and attached documents have been checked.
- Admitted: the coordinator has considered the pre-registration and proposed an offer or admission.
- Offer of admission: the Doctoral School has considered the proposals for admission made by the coordinator and has made a definitive offer. The PhD student will also receive an e-mail informing them of this decision. The PhD student must wait to register.
- Waiting list: the coordinator has considered the pre-registration and has agreed on admission but there are no places on the PhD course.
- Application rejected: the coordinator or the Doctoral School have considered the application but do not agree to admission as not all the requirements have been fulfilled.
If you need it, here you will find a complementary information document on PhD studies.
Requirements and selection criteria
General access requirements
In general, to gain access to an official PhD programme the candidate must hold a Spanish degree or equivalent and a Master's degree.
Access may be granted where the following cases apply:
- Hold an official Spanish university degrees or equivalent Spanish degrees provided that at least 300 ECTS credits have been passed in all of these courses and accredit level 3 of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education.
- Hold a title obtained in accordance with foreign educational systems belonging to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), without the need for its homologation, which accredits a level 7 of the European Qualifications Framework provided that said title authorizes access to studies of PhD in the issuing country. This admission will not imply, in any case, the homologation of the previous degree held by the interested party or its recognition for purposes other than access to PhD studies.
- Hold a degree obtained in accordance with foreign educational systems outside the EHEA, without the need for its homologation, after verification by the university that it accredits a level of training equivalent to that of the official Spanish university Master's degree and that it authorizes in the country of issuance of the title for access to PhD studies. This admission will not imply, in any case, the homologation of the previous degree held by the interested party or its recognition for purposes other than access to doctoral studies.
- Holder of of another title of Doctor.
- Likewise, university graduates who, after obtaining a place in training in the corresponding entrance test to specialized health training places, have passed with a positive evaluation of at least two years of training in a program to obtain the Official title of one of the specialties in Health Sciences.
Admission to the PhD programme is decided by the Rector and depends on having passed the bridging courses, where they exist.
Specific access requirements
In addition to the general criteria used in the selection process, the PhD programme in Geography has established the following requirements and assessment criteria.
- Academic transcript and affinity of previous studies with Geography
Preference is given to applicants with the highest grades on their academic transcript. An average grade of B (notable) is a minimum requirement. The previous degree subject is taken into account, and special priority is given to applicants who have taken the master's degree Regional and Population Studies (Specialisation in Local and Regional Planning, of the UAB. In the remaining cases, it is important for the bachelor's and master's degrees to be in a related area, especially the master's dissertation. (20%).
- Suitable research topic
Importance is given to the applicant's willingness to work on a project within one of this programme's own lines of research. Applicants may consider modifying the topic during the admission process, on the recommendation of the programme's academic committee. Admission can only be granted on acceptance by the thesis supervisor proposed by the doctoral programme’s academic committee (40%).
- Statement of interest and personal interview.
Applicants must submit a complete academic transcript, a detailed Curriculum Vitae and a statement of interest. They can opt to include their master's dissertation or other publications in digital format. Having submitted these documents, applicants must attend an interview, held either in person or, if necessary, online. (15%).
- Research funding
It is highly recommended that applicants have sufficient funding for a minimum of three years. They should have a grant or other support, or be in a good position to obtain one. This funding could be from public or private sources, including grants allocated by the national or regional government, by the university itself, or by ongoing research projects, including international grants. (15%)
- Language competence
Applicants must prove they have a good level of English and of any other language they might need to work on their research. If they cannot fulfil this requirement, they must commit to reaching the required level quickly, and will be tested at the end of the first academic year, to ensure they have the necessary communication skills to disseminate their research results. (10%)
Registration and fees
Each academic year the PhD candidate must register for the annual review as part of the administrative process to form a contract between the PhD student and the university.
First year Registration
Registration in the first year should be done once the decision is made and no longer than one month after the date of admission. Check the information about procedure, calendar, documents and prices on this page.
Prior to registration, please check the additional information and indications on the registration procedure.
Here is a video to show you how to self-register:
Calendar and Registration documents
Calendar and registration documents
When the PhD applicant is accepted onto a PhD programme they must formalise the PhD review registration document in a period of not more than one month after being accepted. The following courses must be registered for within the established registration period:
PhD applicants should bring the following obligatory documentation when registering at the School for Doctoral Studies. Check the documentation on this link.
The documents may be presented in Catalan, Spanish or English. For documentation in French, Italian or Portuguese, you can send it to the Language Service at the UAB. The applicant is responsible for the getting the documents translated and paying for the service. For other languages you need to provide a translation in to Catalan by a sworn translator, any diplomatic or consular service of Spain abroad or the Spanish consular or diplomatic representation of the applicant’s national country.
To legalise the documentation that accredits the courses taken abroad, please check the 'Legalisation' section (in Spanish). Nevertheless, at the time of pre-admission or admission the doctoral student may submit the non-legalised documentation although it must be legalised by the time the students registers.
After the registration
When PhD students have registered they need to use the UAB Intranet self-enrolment system or follow the instructions of the programme coordinator or administrator to produce the statement of commitment, the activities document and the research plan. This section describes the nature of these documents and the way in which they should be prepared.
There is also other information that should be taken into account when carrying out doctoral research, such as the annual review, part or full time study and cases of withdrawal from the programme.
- Statement of commitment
The statement of commitment is a written agreement that establishes the relationship between the PhD candidate, the supervisor, the academic tutor and the UAB, and the rights and responsibilities of each.
Within a maximum period of three months from the date of admission to the PhD programme, and when the coordinator has assigned the PhD student a supervisor, the conditions are negotiated between the student, the supervisor and the academic tutor, agreeing the conditions of collaboration between the student and the thesis supervisor, their obligations, the corresponding dedication of the student, supervisor and tutor, and systems of resolving conflicts etc. , through a statement of commitment which must be signed by the PhD student, the thesis supervisor and the academic tutor and programme coordinator.
As far as the signing and custody of the document is concerned the indications established by the programme coordinator or administrator should be followed but, in any case, when the document is signed, the PhD student must digitize it into Sigma, in the "Research Plan" tab. In the tutorial for the UAB self-enrolment system you will find instructions on how to attach it.
Where the statement of commitment cannot be completed as a result the circumstances of the PhD student, the registration will be cancelled and there is no right to a refund of the fee.
- Activities document
During the preparation of the doctoral thesis the student must carry out a series of activities that will help their academic development, and which have been previously identified by the academic committee of the PhD programme. There are two kinds of activity: Compulsory and optional.
The activities document is the individual register for controlling the PhD activities.
Within three months from the date of admission to the PhD programme, the PhD students must agree with the programme coordinator the activities they will undertake during the preparation of the thesis. The compulsory activities are already included in the activities document; however, the optional activities must be registered for according to the procedure indicated by the programme coordinator or administrator.
The type and number of activities may be modified later using the same procedure, but they must be approved by the thesis supervisor and the academic tutor and also have the approval of the PhD programme coordinator, and recorded in the activities document.
To justify that the activities have been successfully completed the PhD student must hand over a certificate to the supervisor and, where necessary, follow the indication of the coordinator or administrative staff to include the certificates in the activities document.
Since in order to deposit the PhD thesis, the academic tribunal requires the PhD candidate, among other things, to have done all the activities included in the activities document, it is a good idea for the PhD student to ensure that they are duly recorded and marked as having been completed in the activities document.
If you did not find in these pages the information you need, you can contact the Doctoral School at email@example.com.
- Research plan
The PhD academic coordinator establishes the content of the research plan for the PhD programme, including at least the methodology and objectives to be achieved by the PhD candidate and the means and timescale planning for the research.
Once it has been written it must be attached to the PhD transcript through the UAB Intranet system for approval by the thesis supervisor and the academic tutor. In the tutorial for the UAB self-enrolment system you will find instructions on how to attach it.
Finally it must be presented jointly with the research plan approval request form (you will find the document model at the bottom of this page), filled in and signed, to the academic tribunal of the programme which will undertake to evaluate and, where appropriate, approve it.
The research plan may be improved, have details added or be corrected during the PhD programme. Where this is the case the same procedure must be followed but using the research plan modification request form
- Annual monitoring
Every academic year, the academic tribunal of the programme organises a review in which s panel of three PhD lecturers evaluates the progress of the PhD candidate in their research plan, the activities document and a report by the supervisor of the PhD thesis and the academic tutor.
Information about the annual review for this PhD programme is available in the "Review" section of this programme website.
The tutorial for the UAB self-enrolment system explains how to access the system and manage your PhD transcript.
- Other aspects to be taken into account:
Full or part time
The PhD programme is a minimum of two years full time and a maximum of three years full time counted from the date of admission to the programme to the deposit of the thesis in the School for Doctoral Studies.
However, the academic tribunal for the PhD programme may authorise the student to undertake the PhD on a part-time basis, which means a maximum duration of five years from the date of admission to the deposit of the PhD thesis.
During the first two years of the PhD, counted from the date of admission, the PhD student may request a modification of the dedication to the programme from the academic tribunal, as long as this can be justified. If authorisation is granted, the academic committee will inform the School for Doctoral Studies of this change.
However, in exceptional and documented cases the Doctoral Committee may approve a change outside that time period.
Whether the PhD candidate participates in the programme on a full time or part time basis is approved and recorded when registering, in the statement of commitment and in the research plan, and any variation thereof must be made in accordance with the procedure established in the research plan.
Code of good practice
The UAB is committed to the objective of achieving excellence in teaching, research and knowledge transfer, and supports the development and use of learning methodologies adapted to each stage.
The School for Doctoral Studies, as an integral part of the UAB, subscribes to that commitment and sets it out in the code of good practice, which is understood as a code of values and principles that inspire its activities and adhered to by all those taking part in them. It should therefore be understood that the School for Doctoral Studies has an internal set of rules including the rights and responsibilities of the supervisors, academic tutors and PhD candidates.
Download here the signature form of the code of good practice.
Non-continuation and withdrawals
Regardless of whether the PhD programme is followed on a full or part-time basis, the calculation of research activity does not include sick leave, maternity leave or any other cause contemplated in the current rules for doctoral studies. Where PhD students find themselves in any of these situations they must communicate this to the academic tribunal of the PhD programme, which will inform the School for Doctoral Studies so that the total time spent on the programme may be calculated.
Additionally, the PhD student may request temporary leave for a maximum period of one year, extendable to two years. The request must be justified and sent to the academic tribunal of the PhD programme which will decide whether or not to grant the leave. Each PhD programme has its own conditions regarding the reincorporation of the student to the programme.
Tutorial for the UAB self-enrolment system
The tutorial for the UAB self-enrolment system explains how to access the system and manage your PhD transcript
Activities and internationalization
Transversal training activities
The PhD programmes include research training that is both transferrable and specific to the area of each programme and consists of both compulsory and optional activities.
All the activities that the PhD student must complete are recorded in an activities document, but in any case there are compulsory activities that must be completed in the first academic years. It may also include transferrable activities offered by the same university.
Other professional who are not PhD holders may participate in these activities as long as they hold a relevant qualification in the corresponding area.
To include these activities in your academic record, please check this video (click on the subtitle icon at the bottom right corner).
Mandatory and optional specific activities
For this PhD programme the following training activities are scheduled.
- Attendance at a congress in the subject area
This activity is essential to put students in contact with top-level researchers in the geographical area. The meeting can promote synergies between the PhD student and the different experts that favor the extension of the student's research field (10 hours).
- Oral presentations or posters at national or international conferences of the field of knowledge of the thesis
Oral or poster presentation to advance the results of the thesis, in a national or international congress, on the specific subject of the doctoral thesis. Presentation of the original results of the research itself (100 hours).
- Research paper sent to a high-impact scientific journal
This activity is fundamental in learning how to organise, structure and present an impactful scientific work on a geographical topic. The activity involves a learning of synthesis and specification of the results of the thesis in a scientific article (500 hours).
- Research stays in public or private centres, at home or abroad
Highly recommended activity, since the doctoral student is in contact with researchers and other program teachers. It also helps to forge links between departments, which can generate future exchanges with visiting lecturers (500 hours).
- Giving a seminar on the research project
The doctoral student is expected to learn to synthesize and present the research in public, and at the same time to discuss with other participants the common aspects of the research. It is an activity that prepares the students for the defense of the thesis (110 hours).
- Participation in the scientific meetings of the research groups
The Department of Geography favors the transfer of knowledge between the different research groups of the department. The groups periodically organize scientific meetings where ideas, theories and research methods are presented and discussed. These meetings are open to all research, junior and senior staff, and constitute fundamental research exchange spaces for the teaching of pre-doctoral students (160 hours).
- Involvement in research project preparation
This activity runs in parallel to the writing of the thesis in the case of students who belong to a research group. It requires precisely-defined research objectives, hypotheses, work plans and scheduling of tasks. (50 hours).
- Training activity for the improvement of the understanding of the field of study
According to the director of the thesis it will be assessed the need for training to acquire new skills and abilities in the field of study of the thesis, in order to make an original and quality contribution. PhD students may take specialized courses or workshops on methodological techniques related to geography, and also courses in statistical techniques in order to improve performance and results (100 hours).
- Professional training activities for PhD students
This activity, organised by the university itself, together with the Doctoral Conference held annually by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), offers guidance on the research scene at national and international levels, so as to assist students in joining the labour market. Students can thus familiarise themselves with the supply and demand for PhD graduates in their field in businesses, public administration, research centres, etc. (30 hours).
Typologies and Research Ethics
The aim of this set of good research practices is to get an idea of the regulatory framework for activities linked to research and which follow the directives set out in the Statutes of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, based on principles of freedom, democracy, justice, equality and solidarity. This commitment therefore involves orientating the teaching, research and other university activities towards a culture of peace, respect for human rights, social progress, respect for the environment and sustainable development, and the explicit renouncement of research for military ends.
• Good Research Practices: this is a set of points for action, recommendation and commitments when carrying out research.
• Good PhD Practices: is a set of recommendations and commitments that should serve a guide for PhD candidates in their dual role of students and trainee researchers.
• Institutional Biosafety Committee: technical committee made up of experts in evaluating the safety of facilities and activities conducted with biological agents, in identifying any type of potential risk and in ensuring that all regulations relevant to biosafety are met.
• Ethics Committee on Animal and Human Experimentation (CEEAH), establishes mechanisms and procedures to ensure experimentation is complies with prevailing legislation.
• Good Open Acces Practices, good practices of Catalan universities to meet the Open Acces's mandates about publications, as specified on the 'Ley de la ciencia española' and the European Union's Horizon Europe.
• is a European initiative providing access to a complete range of information and support services to researchers wishing to pursue their research careers in Europe or remain connected to research activities in Europe.
PhD students can progress further in their area of research through stays abroad, which may, when appropriate, come within the framework of bilateral joint-supervision agreements with a foreign university (thesis under joint international supervision) and within the International Doctoral Research Component. Stays abroad can also be made under Erasmus agreements.
Stays with Erasmus
You can make stays abroad (mainly in Europe) with both Erasmus Studies and Erasmus Internships. In the following links you will find the call and the calendars to request them:
PhD thesis under joint international supervision
On the proposal of the academic tribunal for a PhD programme, the UAB may make agreements with foreign universities or centres of higher education that are authorised to award PhD qualifications for the purpose of preparing the PhD thesis.
In that case the PhD student will carry out research under the control and responsibility of a thesis supervisor in each of the institutions in the agreement, and these in turn will each award the PhD qualification on the basis of a single thesis.
Joint supervision agreements may only be signed during the first year of the research work, counted from the day the student is accepted on the PhD programme.
The period for working on the thesis will be split between the two centres and the minimum stay at the UAB must ne a total of nine months, which may be divided into shorter periods.
See the detailed application procedure for joint international supervision (in Spanish).
International Doctoral Research Component
The PhD qualification may also include the International Doctoral Research Component, as long as the following conditions are fulfilled:
- During the training period necessary to obtain the qualification of PhD, the candidate must have been outside Spain for a minimum of three months in a higher education institution or research centre of prestige, and have carried out research or study there. The period and the activities must be assessed by the supervisor and approved by the academic tribunal, and must be included in the students' PhD activities report. The period may be divided as long and the total is not less than three months but must be spent at a single institution.
- Part of the PhD thesis, at least the abstract and conclusions, must be written in one of the usual languages for scientific communication in that field of knowledge, different from any of the official languages in Spain. This regulation does not apply when the periods abroad, the reports and the experts involve a Spanish-speaking country.
- That at least two PhD holding experts from a non-Spanish higher education institution or research centre have submitted their reports on the PhD thesis.
- That at least one of the experts belongs to a non-Spanish higher education institution or research centre, holds a PhD, and is different from the person responsible for the period abroad, formed part of the PhD examination panel.
- The defence of the PhD thesis must take place at the Spanish university where the candidate is registered or, in the case of joint doctoral programmes, in any of the participating universities or under the terms stated in the collaboration agreements.
See the detailed application procedure for the International Doctoral Research Component (in Spanish).
Review and Thesis
Evaluation and annual review
Annual PhD review
Once the PhD student is accepted on the programme, they must register every academic year (including the year when the thesis is deposited) in order to confirm their status. The subject registered for is called review, and it is an evaluation of the training received during the year and progress on the writing of the PhD thesis.
Each academic year the academic committee arranges a review, in which three PhD holding lecturers assess the progress made by the candidate in their research plan and activities document and the report by the thesis supervisor and academic tutor. In the report, the director and the academic tutor state, at least, that the candidate has fulfilled the number of meetings arranged between themselves and the thesis supervisor and has carried out the activities planned for that academic year.
In exceptional cases (research stays or work camps), and with a previous report from the thesis supervisor and from the academic tutor, the Academic Committee of the PhD programme may authorise substitute the oral and face-to-face presentation of the annual review by another format.
In accordance with current PhD regulations, the positive evaluation during the review is an essential requirement for continuing on the programme and registering for the following year. Failure to present an annual review with no justification will lead to the PhD candidates definitive withdrawal from the programme. If the annual review is negative the candidate may re-register for the same review within the registration calendar, make a new research plan and present for a new review in a maximum period of six months. However, if the new review is negative the candidate must withdraw from the PhD programme.
In this section you will find the indications and the specific documentation of the programme, if applicable, that you must incorporate in your online deposit application. Check in advance what is the procedure to make the deposit online.
Once your application has been recorded and validated by the coordination of the PhD programme, you will be able to monitorise the deposited theses and the theses for which the examining board has been approved, as well as the agenda where the theses defenses are published.
If you want to deposit the doctoral thesis in this PhD programme, remember that you must confirm the complete application (status DI) 15 dies before the maximum thesis completion date that appears in your file.
Look out! If you want to deposit before the end of this academic year and thus not have to pay the fees for the next course, you must confirm your deposit request before 15 September 2023.
At the time of making your online deposit, you must attach these documents to your application, in the section "Attach documentation":
All PhD students
- 01 - Examining board proposal (the signature is not necessary)
International Doctoral Research Component: Mandatory documentation if requested
- 09 - International Doctoral Research Component: 1 report of the external member
- 10 - International Doctoral Research Component: 2 report of the external member
Compendium of publications: Mandatory documentation if requested
- 05 - Compendium: Application for the presentation of the thesis as a compendium of publications
Writing a thesis in a language other than Catalan, Spanish and English: Mandatory documentation if requested
- 11 - Resolution if the thesis is written in other language than Catalan, Spanish or English
Information related to the thesis
Information related to the thesis
In this section you can find indications and / or regulatory aspects of your PhD programme, if applicable.
There are PhD programmes that have regulated the presentation of the thesis as a compendium of publications, how the constitution of the examining board should be, etc.
Internal Quality Assurance System of the centers
Internal Quality Assurance System of the centers
The process-based management system used by the UAB faculties and schools stems from a commitment to offering degrees with their own policy on quality and measures in place to evaluate and improve performance continuously, according to the European quality standards. These elements together make up this university's Internal Quality Assurance System (SGIQ).
This system involves all the following:
- Establishing and monitoring the faculty's policy and objectives regarding teaching standards, in accordance with the university’s strategic lines
- Establishing and renewing the offer of PhD programmes.
- Processes directly linked to teaching activity: tutoring, assessment, mobility, etc.
- Processes to gauge the level of satisfaction of the different groups.
- Processes linked to the people and resources needed: lecturers, administrative and service staff (PAS), infrastructure and services, course scheduling, academic organisation, etc.
- Processes linked to the life cycles of degrees: verification (evaluation before implementation), regular monitoring, modification (continuous improvement) and accreditation (evaluation of performance and renewal of the authorisation to continue offering the programme), which seek to organise, renew and improve the offer of PhD programmes.
Evaluation process previous to the implementation of the degree: presentation of a proposal for a new PhD programme for AQU-Catalunya (Agency for the Quality of the University System of Catalonia) to issue the binding evaluation for the Council of Universities (Ministry of Universities), which is the responsible agent for verification.
- Report on the PhD programme
- Resolution on verification by the Spanish Universities Council
- Registry of Universities, Centres and Degrees (RUCT)
Periodic monitoring process of the development and results of the PhD programme: self-evaluation carried out, every 3 years, by themselves.
Internal Quality Assurance System of the faculty
Set of processes to manage and monitor the different aspects of degrees, with the strategic objective of ensuring continuous improvement
A channel for suggestions, complaints and praise regarding the functioning of the UAB
- Satisfaction surveys of Doctors
- Satisfaction surveys of thesis supervisors
- Check here the results of the doctor's job placement survey
- The PhD figures
Recognition and awards
Special Prize Awards
The Special Prize Awards are awarded for each PhD programme among all the theses defended in an academic year, at the rate of one prize for every five theses or fraction thereof, without the need for the doctor to request it. The winners are entitled to a refund of the fee they paid for the application for the degree certificate and to an accrediting certificate..
The procedure is as follows:
- A pannel appointed by the Academic Commission of each PhD programme makes the proposal of candidates for the Special Prize Award, following the criteria previously established by the same commission. You can do it up to three courses after the defenses.
- The PhD Commission awards the prizes according to the proposals made by the PhD programmes.
- The Doctoral School contacts the winners to refund the fee.
- The certificates of the Special Prizes awarded in the previous PhD Commission are delivered in the PhD special prize award ceremony.
Check the prizes that have already awarded by the PhD Comission, ordered by defense course.
In this link you will find the doctors who have obtained the Special Prize Award in this PhD programme.
The following prizes and honours have been awarded in relation to this PhD programme.
- In the QS World University Ranking (The WUR 2018) the UAB appears as the only Spanish university located among the top 100 in the world in relation to Geography studies.
- Maria Dolors Garcia Ramon received the Narcís Monturiol Prize, from the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), November 2003.
- Martí Boada received the National Prize for the Environment, from the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, in 2004.
- Antoni F. Tulla i Pujol received the Prize for the Environment, from the Institute of Catalan Studies, 2004.
- Martí Boada received the Prize for the Environment, from the Institute of Catalan Studies, in 2005.
- Xavier Pons received the Prize for the Environment, from the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), 2007.
- David Saurí i Pujol received the Prize for the Environment from the Institute of Catalan Studies and the Caixa Sabadell Foundation, 2007.
- Xavier Pons received the Excellence in Research Prize, from the UAB, 2008.
- Maria Dolors Garcia Ramon received the International Geocritical Prize, 2011.
- Maria Dolors Garcia Ramon received the Vautrin Lud Award, 2016.
- Maria Dolors Garcia Ramon received the Laréat d'Honneur Award, International Geographical Union (UGI), 2016.
- Xavier Pons received the ICREA-Academia 2016-2020 recognition.
- Françoise Breton received the Narcís Monturiol Award, Generalitat de Catalunya, 2016.
- Antoni F. Tulla received the Fundació Món Rural Award, 2017.
- The Social Agriculture Research Team received the Món Rural Prize of Essay, Fundació Món Rural, 2018.
- Martí Boada received the Water Prize, 2018.