The third cycle, lasting a minimum of three years, results in a Doctoral Degree in Philosophy. Under the guidance of a faculty member, the student will write a doctoral dissertation, which must make an effective contribution to philosophical research. He/she is also required to participate in other activities planned for doctoral candidates.

Among the faculty's main areas of research are: Classical Metaphysics and Ethics, particularly Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas; Anthropology and Psychology; Culture and Society; Ethics of Organizations and Business; Cognitive and Mind Philosophy; Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge; Science, Reason, and Faith.

The title of doctor is conferred after publication of the doctoral dissertation or, at least, its main part. In writing the final text, the student must take into account the comments made by the examination committee and submit two copies of the text to obtain imprimi potest from the faculty for publication.

Conditions for Admission to the Doctoral Program

To be admitted to the doctorate program, students must hold the degree of Licentiate in Philosophy with the minimum standing of magna cum laude (9.0) and receive the favorable opinion of the Doctoral Program Committee, which will examine each student’s curriculum and heavily consider the research skills demonstrated during the licentiate.

Admission to the doctoral program is subject to the possibility of conducting scientific work within the faculty's areas of research. Therefore:

1. The candidate must submit—in addition to the written admission application and the appropriate documentation—a summary proposal of the topic he/she intends to research, also declaring which professor he/she intends to work with. The chosen professor having already accepted the proposed collaboration will have a favorable influence on their admission to the doctoral program. It is therefore advisable to be in contact with the lecturer with whom you wish to work.

2. The Doctoral Program Committee might set conditions to be fulfilled prior to admission, or determine a personal schedule to be followed during the first year of the doctoral program, including taking certain courses. Therefore, the candidate will have a personal interview with the commission before the start of the program.

Project Application, Approval, and Development

Within six months of the start of the program, the student must submit and request the approval of his/her Doctoral Dissertation Research Project:

1. The student will submit a special application, addressed to the dean of the faculty and to the secretary, requesting approval of his/her doctoral dissertation topic. He/she will indicate his/her preferred dissertation advisor and include a specific form for the research project, which can be obtained from the faculty secretary or downloaded [here]. At this point, the candidate should give a detailed explanation of and content to be included in his/her research, justifying its validity, and should provide an annotated bibliography, containing the main studies on the topic. The research project requires the endorsement of the adviser.

2. Upon submission of the application for approval of the research project, the student must appear for an interview with the Doctoral Program Committee, during which he/she will be asked to explain the content and plan of his/her research. The committee will evaluate both the topic and the research plan. It will also consider the candidate's curriculum vitae and the adviser’s opinion of him/her, and it may set additional conditions necessary for the approval of the project, such as participation in some course or conference.

3. Once approved, the research project is valid for five years, beginning with the academic year of enrollment in the third cycle, after which it will be necessary to apply for renewal each year by paying the corresponding fee.

4. Each individual chapter of the dissertation must also be reviewed by the co-adviser, who is appointed by the dean at the time of approval of the topic. The co-adviser has fifteen working days to communicate to the candidate, through his/her dissertation adviser, his/her comments on the chapter.

5. Once the entire dissertation has been completed, and before its final printing and binding, the student must deliver an unbound copy to the faculty secretary so that he/she may receive clearance from the co-adviser for the dissertation defense, according to current practice.

6. Upon obtaining clearance, the student will deliver five bound copies of the dissertation to the faculty secretary, each with the adviser’s signature on the first page, and pay the appropriate academic fee. The secretary will stamp the university seal on the first page of each copy and return one to the student.

7. The doctoral dissertation defense will take place in a public forum before a committee of faculty members between October and June. The date (no earlier than fifteen working days after the dissertation is submitted) and time will be communicated by the Academic Secretary.

Doctoral Program Activities

During the doctoral program, in addition to writing a dissertation, students are expected to complete their formation in the following activities:

(a) Methodology Seminar: Each doctoral student is expected to participate in the methodology seminar during the first year.

b) Research Seminar: This will involve the student’s participation in faculty seminars, annual study conferences, and other scientific activities organized by the faculty. In addition, it may include specialized sessions, at random times, designed specifically for doctoral students.

(c) Language courses: Each doctoral student is expected to study any classical and modern languages that, in the adviser’s opinion, are necessary for doing research in the particular chosen field.

Doctoral Program Committee

  • Dr. Antonio Malo (Director)
  • Dr. Francisco Fernández Labastida
  • Dr. Maria Ángeles Vitoria


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