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Study PhD in Spain

Being a PhD student in Spain is a wonderful experience with countless opportunities to grow, learn, and advance professionally. There is a wide range of exceptional PhD programs in Spain in any area of research. Studying PhD in Spain will place you in a multicultural environment where the climate is warm, the academic quality is exceptional, and the opportunities to succeed in your professional life are endless.

Here’s everything you need to know about Doctoral/PhD degrees in Spain:

PhD Programs in Spain

PhD programs in Spain are plentiful, comprehensive, and efficient when it comes to development and training. Since Spain is a popular destination to pursue studies, many international students choose Spain as their PhD destination. 

Spanish universities feature extensive PhD programs, and they are esteemed for their teaching, innovation, and research. Spanish universities’ doctoral colleges or research institutes offer PhD programs for interested PhD candidates. Whether you are interested in the sciences, arts and humanities, health sciences, social sciences and law, or technological sciences, you will find anything of your preference in Spain. 

Universities in Spain for PhD

Here are the top universities in Spain offering PhD programs include: 

  • Autonomous University of Barcelona (65 PhD degree programs)
  • Pompeu Fabra University (9 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Barcelona (50 PhD degree programs)
  • Complutense University of Madrid (55 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Navarra (23 PhD degree programs)
  • Autonomous University of Madrid (42 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Valencia (61 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Deusto (8 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Salamanca (40 PhD degree programs)
  • University Carlos III of Madrid (21 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Granada (28 PhD degree programs)
  • University of Zaragoza (47 PhD degree programs)

Can I Get an Online PhD Degree in Spain?

Although PhD candidates are usually more in favor of undertaking their doctoral studies on campus, some universities offer online PhD in Spain. Usually, online PhD degrees in Spain are offered by private or international higher education institutions. Public universities in Spain generally only offer in-person doctoral degrees. It will be easier for you to find an in-person accredited PhD program in Spain than an online PhD program. 

How Much Does a PhD Program Cost in Spain?

Tuition fees in Spain are set on a pay-per-credit basis, which means the number of ECTS credits a program has is multiplied by the cost of one credit. The cost per credit for PhD programs can go up to €55 (or lower). 

PhD programs in Spain are divided into two stages, and it is only during the first phase (first year) that students have to undertake credit courses (60 ECTS). The second phase (the subsequent years of the PhD program) focuses on research and writing the thesis. 

This means the cost of PhD in Spain, for the first year only, can go up to €3,300 (or lower). The other academic years students spend researching and writing their thesis are way cheaper because you only have to pay for supervision, continual assessment, and additional administrative costs. The Autonomous University of Barcelona, for example, only charges around €550 per year for supervision, assessment, administrative fees, and other specific services.

Generally, the cost of PhD in Spain depends on factors like university, research discipline, and the student’s country of residence. Usually, non-EU/EEA students pay higher fees compared to national or EU/EEA students. 

PhD Scholarships in Spain for International Students

It is possible to undertake a funded PhD in Spain. Many prospective PhD candidates apply for PhD scholarships in Spain, and there are even options for international students. PhD scholarships in Spain are offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Professional Training. Individual Spanish universities also offer grants and financial aid for doctoral programs. Universities usually list the funding options on their websites. 

Can I Get a PhD in Spain in English?

Obtaining an English PhD in Spain is possible but not as common as Spanish-taught PhD programs. Although there are universities that offer English-taught PhD programs in Spain, the majority of them are in Spanish, which means finding the perfect English PhD program in Spain will not be easy, but not impossible either. 

Some universities offer programs that are bilingual or even multilingual. For example, the PhD programs in Communication, Law, and History (to name a few) at Pompeu Fabra University use Catalan, Spanish, and English as the medium of instruction during training activities. On the other hand, the PhD program in Information and Communication Technologies at the same university is taught entirely in English. 

How Long is a PhD Program in Spain?

The duration of a PhD program in Spain is approximately three years of full-time study. Some may extend their PhD studies in Spain for two more years if initially approved by the Academic Commission of the university. Part-time PhD programs usually take around five years to complete. 

PhD Structure in Spain

A PhD program in Spain is divided into the first cycle, which comprises training courses, and the second cycle, which focuses on research and writing towards a dissertation. During a PhD program, candidates must attend training sessions, seminars, and a wide range of other academic activities. 


PhD candidates have two mentors that help them throughout the doctoral program: 

  • Mentor: A PhD holder responsible for monitoring the interaction between the candidate and the Academic Commission. 
  • Thesis Director: A PhD holder (may or may not be the same person as the mentor) who must have accredited research experience. The thesis director is responsible for planning training activities for the candidate and overseeing thesis matters.
  • Thesis Co-Director (When Applicable) : When the thesis has a multidisciplinary nature. 

Admission Requirements

In order to gain admission in PhD programs in Spain, prospective students must have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree relevant to the PhD field of research (300 ECTS credits in total). Universities also accept students with equivalent degrees for as long as they correspond to a total of 300 ECTS credits. Individual universities have the right to add additional selection/admission criteria for specific doctoral programs in Spain. 

How to Apply 

The application for PhD in Spain should be made directly to the university, doctoral college, or university institute of your choice. Prospective PhD candidates in Spain must usually submit a research proposal, CV, reference, etc. As part of the admission process, students must also attend an interview.

You may have to submit the following documents. 

  • Certified copy of your valid passport. 
  • Passport-sized recent photographs.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Attested photocopies of academic degree certificates.
  • Attested photocopies of academic records, such as subjects and qualifications.
  • Proof of language proficiency (depending on the medium of instruction).

Since starting dates and application deadlines vary depending on the university, all information regarding application deadlines and university-specific application documents can be found on the respective university’s website. 

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  • Multiple (9) Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Brussels, Geneva, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo, Zurich,
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Doctor of Business Administration

Doctor of business administration (dba).

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Online / Distance
  • Madrid, Spain

Doctorate in Business Economics

  • León, Spain

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Doctorate in Environmental Science and Technology

Doctorate in bio-systems engineering, doctorate in molecular biology and biotechnology, doctorate in biomedicine and health sciences, doctorate in production engineering and computing, doctorate in functional and applied ecology, doctorate in applied research in health sciences, doctorate in educational psychology and educational studies, doctorate in physical activity and sports studies, doctorate in health, disabilities, dependence and welfare, doctorate in law: legal protections and social cohesion, doctorate in legal liability. a multidisciplinary approach, doctorate in the hispanic world: roots, development and impact, doctorate in contrastive and comparative studies: english / french / spanish, eit manufacturing doctoral school program.

  • Multiple (6) Darmstadt, Gothenburg, Milan, Paris, San Sebastián, Vienna,


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Contact Schools Directly - Compare 61 Doctors of Philosophy  (PhD) Programs in Spain 2023

61 PhD Programs in Spain 2023

Spain offers high quality education and cutting edge academic institutions. Spain is a choice for many international students not only for the top-notch education offered, but also for the attractive and healthy lifestyle, mild climate, diverse culture, and modern cities. For a PhD Spain, candidates must hold a master’s degree in a related field of study. Curriculum for a PhD Spain will include coursework and seminars in addition to the candidate’s original research that is to be conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. The last two years of a PhD Spain program is dedicated to research that leads to the candidates doctoral dissertation that must be defended in front of a panel of experts in the field. Common areas of study for a PhD Spain are in the sciences, health sciences, law, engineering, architecture, and various social sciences. To learn more about options for a PhD Spain, take a look below and find the program that will help you reach your goals!

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Doctoral Program in Tourism

Universidad rey juan carlos.

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

  • Madrid, Spain
  • Alcorcón, Spain

Full time, Part time

Spanish, English

The proposed Interuniversity Doctorate in Tourism program arises from the coordination and cooperation between research teams with experience in scientific-social knowledge of tourism and in accredited training programs, including doctoral programs currently existing in some of the twelve participating universities.

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Doctorate Innovation in Food Safety and Technologies

Universidade santiago de compostela.

Universidade Santiago de Compostela

  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Spanish, Galician

The globalization of the economy and the food market make technology and Food Safety an issue of general interest influenced by numerous factors. The effective protection of the right to food security requires a comprehensive approach that considers the risks associated with food from farm to table, and that considers all possible perspectives. It also takes into account in a very particular way the growing importance of nutritional risks, given the worrying prevalence of obesity today and mainly in children and adolescents.

Doctorate in Basic and Applied Research in Veterinary Sciences

  • Lugo, Spain

The Doctoral Program in Basic and Applied Research in Veterinary Sciences, proposes advanced and specialized training in the body of conceptual, procedural and technical knowledge that allows adequate development in the field of biomedical sciences. This Program is characterized by its interdisciplinarity, covering basic, applied and clinical areas. It has the participation of different research groups that develop their activity in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Doctorate in Clinical Research in Medicine

One of the primary functions of university professors in Faculties of Medicine is teaching the Doctorate or Third Cycle of university studies since the doctorate plays a fundamental role of intersection between the EHEA and the EEI, and the doctors must lead the transfer from knowledge to the welfare of society.

Doctorate in Cultural Studies: Memory, Identity, Territory and Language

The aim of this program is to address in an interdisciplinary way, on the one hand basic research on cultural theory, and on the other, sociocultural research applied to contemporary globality, among which the relationships between memories, landscapes, migrations, identities, rights stand out. human, cultural creations and movements, these issues being approached from interdisciplinary perspectives that bring together researchers from the fields: Social and Cultural Anthropology, Political Science, Literary Studies, Philosophy, Human Geography, History, History of the Arts, Linguistics and Sociology.

Doctorate in Engineering for Rural and Civil Development

This doctoral program aims to provide the society of specialist professionals in rural areas and civil engineering with an adequate ability to diagnose existing problems and with knowledge to solve them from applied research typical of the field of Engineering, with special emphasis on in research, development and transfer of results. This degree provides a response to a growing demand from applied professionals and researchers, since it is intended to provide students with advanced and quality scientific and technological training, thus contributing to rural and civil development.

Doctorate in Environment and Natural Resources

The teachings of the Doctorate of Environment and Natural Resources at USC has a long history with more than 30 years of experience in postgraduate courses and doctoral program.

Doctorate in Equity and Innovation in Education

The main objective of this doctoral program is research and innovation on the socio-educational programs, actions, resources and policies necessary to achieve equity in education.

Doctorate in History, Geography and History of Art

The Doctoral Program in History, Geography and History of Art, aims to complete the training needs of doctoral students, their methodological updating and initiation to research through the completion of the Doctoral Thesis. Doctoral students are offered training that enables them to carry out basic and applied research.

Doctorate in Information Technology Research

The main strengths of this doctoral program proposal are focused on specialization in content that ranges from knowledge of current computing architectures and their use, to artificial intelligence and robotics, through distributed information systems, or analysis. and synthesis of visual information or electronic design.

Doctorate in Labor Relations and Human Resources

Spanish, Galician, English

The Interuniversity Doctorate Program in Labor Relations and Human Resources, taught jointly with the Universities of A Coruña, Oviedo and Zaragoza, is a pioneer in Spanish universities. The general objective of the program is to provide excellence in training in all areas related to labor relations and human resources in public and private organizations. The doctoral program will allow the development of high-quality doctoral theses, which represent progress and a contribution to scientific knowledge and which promote, at the same time, the transfer of knowledge to society and the incorporation of technical research of the highest level. in public and private organizations.

Doctorate in Materials Science

The Doctoral Program in Materials Sciences arises with the aim of providing the industrial and R & D & I sector with highly qualified professionals in this emerging and interdisciplinary area capable of solving the problems that are formulated in the new and increasingly economically important fields of electronic materials, functional materials, biomaterials and nanomaterials.

Doctorate in Medieval Studies

The Doctorate in Medieval Studies is a unique offer at SUG and constitutes a novel alternative in the field of Humanities. Its main objective is to provide students with interdisciplinary and transversal training, so that they acquire the highest level of professional and research training.

Doctorate in Projects

Fundación universitaria iberoamericana (funiber).

Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER)

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Distance Learning

The doctoral program in projects allows subjects to be studied and do the doctoral research work within one of the lines of research offered following a program of studies tailored to the distance modality.

Doctorate in Protection of Cultural Heritage

It is an interuniversity Doctorate Program at the universities of Vigo, a Coruña and Santiago de Compostela with which it is intended to generate an interprofessional space between the different agents that participate in the protection of Heritage in their different perspectives: documentation and valuation of the asset culture, characterization of the materials of the property and the environment in which it is found, mechanisms of deterioration and diagnosis and, finally, direct or indirect intervention on the Heritage.

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PhD Handbook

PhD in Spain: A...

PhD in Spain: A Guide on PhD in Spain for International Students


Spain is perhaps the most interesting country in the world to get a PhD. It's also a great place to become a researcher, with world-class universities offering a wide variety of PhD programs in almost every field. If you, too, are planning to study PhD in Spain, there are many perks to expect in near future.

The first on the list is the quality of the education, some of the best universities in Europe, beautiful historic buildings, job opportunities, etc. In this article, we'll talk about some of the reasons why looking for PhD programs in Spain can be a career-shifting decision.

Let’s begin!

Why Study Phd in Spain?

Three of Spain’s cities have made it to the QS Best Student City Ranking 2023. This clearly, signifies the enthusiasm of international students to pursue their education in Spain. However, enthusiasm alone is not sufficient to choose this country, let’s explore the other features of this country.

  • For centuries, Spain has been a country synonymous with sunshine, sangria, and siestas. But today, Spain is also known for being one of the best countries in the world to study in. It is a cheap place to relocate/learn and has world-class universities offering a wide variety of programs. It is very feasible and affordable for Indian students who want to study in Spain. The approximate cost of living for international students in Spain is 900-1,100 EUR.
  • Getting a Spanish PhD, especially in the fields of arts, is a very prestigious achievement. Besides, Spain has had a substantial historical impact on this field. The country offers more than 76 courses in Spain. Some popular PhD courses are literature, philosophy, cultural studies, geography, history, and linguistics.
  • The research environment in Spain is unique for pursuing PhD in Spain for international students. It provides you with access to the top universities and the most prestigious research centres and institutes in the world. The country offers more than 76 universities. They provide you with a unique chance to work with some of the world's leading experts and scholars.
  • The country offers a range of benefits, from access to the best universities to access to the best teaching to a cheap cost of living. Additionally, you can enjoy a unique cultural experience while you study PhD in Spain.

Best Courses in Spain for International Students

With this information, next, let’s check out the top PhD programs in Spain.

Popular PhD Programs in Spain

The Spanish education system is one of the best in the world and is certainly one of the most affordable. The country offers a great variety of PhD programs in a wide range of academic fields. Whether you want to study at a university, a private college, or even a language school, you'll be able to find a PhD program that suits your needs at a price you can afford.

A full-time PhD program in Spain lasts for a maximum of three years, while you can do a part-time program for a maximum of five years. The academic commission of a university organises the PhD programs.

To study PhD in Spain program, a student will follow these two cycles/stages:

  • The First Stage - It is for 60 credits and is concentrated on training the student.
  • The Second Stage - It concentrates on the student writing and researching for the thesis.

Besides, the students can register for PhD programs in Spain in two ways:

  • University Student - A standard university student like any other.
  • University Student and research trainee - This category of student has additional rights.

Further, let’s check the PhD in Spain for international students specialisation options.

Specialisations for PhD in Spain for international students

With over 76 PhD specialisations, Spain is home to some of the world's best PhD programs. PhD in Spain for international students is also renowned for its quality, with many Spanish PhD graduates securing prestigious academic positions around the world. Here is a list of some of the top PhD specialisations in Spain, which are sure to get your curiosity piqued.

  • Economics and Business
  • Art History
  • Environments Science and Technology
  • Health Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Cultural Studies

Top Universities in Spain for Masters

Next, let’s explore the universities in Spain for PhD.

Top 5 Universities for PhD in Spain

Some of the most prestigious universities if you want to get a PhD in Spain for international students:

  • Pompeu Fabra University
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • University of Navarra
  • University of Barcelona

1.  Pompeu Fabra University

Spain is a country that has a lot to offer to the students, not only in terms of culture but also in terms of education. One of the best universities in Spain for PhD is Pompeu Fabra University, which is located in Barcelona.

This university offers an expansive variety of interesting programs in a number of fields, ranging from philosophy to political science and from mathematics to linguistics. The university has a long history, having been originally founded in Barcelona in 1857.

2.  Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

The main advantage of studying at the Autonomous University of Madrid is that you'll be living in of the most exciting cities in Europe. Madrid is a sprawling metropolis with great food, culture, and nightlife. Some of the very best universities in Spain for PhD can be seen, which means you'll have access to the brightest and sharpest minds in the world. It's a great place to get your education and make lifelong friends.

3.  Autonomous University of Barcelona

The Autonomous University of Barcelona, better known as UAB, is a public university located in the Spanish city of Barcelona. One of the largest universities in Spain, UAB offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate programs and serves over 45,000 students. UAB is also one of the most academically diverse universities in the world, with students and faculty representing over 130 countries. UAB was founded in 1450, making it one of the oldest universities globally.

4.  University of Navarra         

The University of Navarra is one of Spain's most prestigious and historic universities, and it was founded in 1254 and has been a central part of the academic landscape ever since.

The university's location in Pamplona, Spain's ancient capital city, means that it is ideally situated to study the country's history, culture, and language. It also offers a wealth of student life opportunities, including a student association, sports teams, and a language centre.

5.  University of Barcelona      

The University of Barcelona is among the most prestigious institutions in Spain and the best place to pursue a PhD in the country. With a world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, the university offers a first-class education in a beautiful, Mediterranean setting.

The city of Barcelona is one of the most vibrant and lively cities in Europe, and the University of Barcelona is located right in the centre of the city and close to beaches, world-class museums, and exciting nightlife. The university also has campuses in Madrid, Valencia, and Zaragoza, so you can choose the location that is best for you.

Top 5 Cheap Universities in Spain

Application Process for PhD in Spain for International Students

To study PhD in Spain the application process can seem daunting and complicated at first, but there really is nothing to worry about. The process is quite simple and straightforward. All you need to do is get your CV and other relevant documents together, and then you’re ready to start the application process. The first thing you’ll need to do is to find a PhD program that matches your requirements and preferences. Then curate the following documents:

  • Academic documents, such as certificates (for which you have your due credits), transcripts, and a CV/resume.
  • Academic references like letters of recommendation are encouraged from one or two academics or relevant persons who have worked with you.
  • A study visa is one of the most important documents without which you will not be granted admission.
  • Every student that wants to study in Spain must have residence registration and be registered under Registro Central de Extranjeros within three months of their stay.
  • Research proposal may be needed when applying to your college.
  • Language certificate showcase the knowledge of the Spanish language as a 'professional skill.'

Cost of Studying in Spain

Now you know the document requirements to study PhD in Spain for international students. Next, let’s check the eligibility.

Eligibility to Study PhD in Spain

Following is the eligibility criteria to study PhD in Spain.

  • You must hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree
  • Your degree must be equivalent to 300 ECTS
  • All registered qualifications must be recognized by the National Recognition Information Centre (NRIC) or the Spanish Embassy
  • You must fulfil the basic Spanish Language requirements

Next, let’s check the duration of PhD programs in Spain.

Duration of PhD Programs in Spain

When studying for a PhD in Spain, each year is divided into two cycles: the first is a training phase, and the second is a research phase. Applications begin as early as January and can go on to July. Full-time courses go on for about three years, while part-time courses may go up to five years.

Structure of PhD in Spain

Doctoral programs can vary between universities and courses. Usually, pursuing a doctorate in Spain consists mainly of original research work, with some courses taught during the first year. You may also be expected or even invited to tutoring and teaching sessions during your PhD, which are limited to 40 hours per week. At the end of the course, you should have written a doctoral thesis that matches the requirements of the faculty.

Cost to Study PhD in Spain

Here is the cost of PhD in Spain. Let’s go through it and plan a budget accordingly:

What is the Cost of Living in Spain?

Next, let’s explore the scholarships to reduce the financial burden while pursuing PhD in Spain.

Scholarships for Phd in Spain for International Students

Spain is a country with an extensive history and culture. It is also a country with a lot of opportunities for education. You can get a PhD in Spain with scholarship options. Through scholarships in Spain, students can obtain an education at a reduced cost. This allows students to afford an education in a foreign country while still maintaining the budget.

Top Public Universities in Spain

Career Scope after PhD in Spain

If you want to find a career in Spain, a PhD could help you do just that. Studying for a PhD can help you learn a lot and open up a range of new career opportunities. You could become a teacher-researcher or chase your own research interests. Or you could use your PhD to help others, perhaps through a job in the education sector or as a career adviser.

Part-time Jobs in Spain for International Students

All this information can be intimidating for a student who is planning to study abroad for the first time. Therefore, if you need end-to-end guidance from our expert counsellors, choose Yocket Premium . This step will surely make your study abroad dream a success!

Frequently Asked Questions on PhD Programs In Spain

Are PhD students paid in Spain?

PhD students in Spain are not typically paid a salary for the time spent in school. Instead, students receive a stipend for each month of school, needed to complete their degree. Stipends are not very high but can amount to around 900 EUR per month. This can still be a large sum of money for a student living in Spain.

Is a PhD in Spain free?

PhDs in Spain are not inherently free, though there are many scholarships and grants that are offered to international students to study at a reduced price. You may even be able to get a fully funded PhD in Spain.

Can PhD students work in Spain?

International students may ask for a work permit that allows them to work up to 20 hours per week.

How should I prepare a cover letter after PhD in Spain?

When applying for a job, the most important thing you can do is prepare a compelling cover letter that highlights your skills, experiences, and why you're a good fit for the position. A good cover letter can increase your chances of getting an interview and can even help you get offers. Your cover letter must not be longer than a single page and should include a short introduction about yourself and why you're interested in this position, a clear statement about why you're the right fit for the position and the skills you bring to the job, and a short section at the end where you can share any additional information about yourself, such as additional experience or education.

What are the options to finance my education in Spain?

Spain poses a variety of options that can allow you to study there. These options ensure that you get a funded PhD in Spain. Some options to look at are: 1) Apprenticeships 2) Fellowships 3) Scholarships 4) Grants 5) Part-time jobs

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