The minimum duration of doctoral studies is two years. Therefore, to initiate proceedings for the defence of the thesis, you must have been enrolled in at least two academic years and have been favourably evaluated at least twice.
Exceptionally, in the case of doctoral students governed by previous regulations, of doctoral students who have started another doctoral programme regulated by 99/2011 or of students registered in the URV under a cotutelle agreement (with a signed cotutelle agreement), subject to authorisation by the vice-rector, earlier enrolments will be taken into account and only a favourable assessment of the doctoral activity document and the research plan will be required.
Article 3 of Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, states that the maximum duration of doctoral studies is three years full-time from the date of the first enrolment to the programme to submission of the doctoral thesis. If the student fails to apply to submit the thesis within this period of three years, the academic committee responsible for the programme may authorise an extension for a further year and, exceptionally, for an additional year.
With the permission of the academic committee responsible for the programme, students may pursue doctoral studies part time. In this case the studies may have a maximum duration of five years from the date of the first enrolment to the programme to submission of the thesis. For part-time studies an extension may be authorised for a further two years and, exceptionally, for an additional year.
For the purposes of calculating the minimum academic progress requirements, leave of absence due to illness, pregnancy or any other reason prescribed by the regulations is not taken into account.
Doctoral students may also apply for voluntary leave of absence from the programme for a maximum period of one year, extendable to an additional year. At the time when the student decides to return to the programme, they must initiate the process to resume the doctoral studies.
If a doctoral student does not work on the thesis for a period of time, he/she will have to apply for a temporary leave of absence from the doctoral programme. The causes can be:
a) Temporary leave due to illness or pregnancy. The student may remain in this situation for the duration of his/her medical leave.
b) Temporary leave due to maternity or paternity. The student may remain in this situation for the duration of the maternity or paternity leave, in accordance with the applicable legislation.
c) Voluntary temporary leave for personal reasons. The initial duration may be for up to one year, which may be extended for one additional year.
The administrative procedure establishes how the application form has to be presented as well as the deadline for applying for the temporary leave, or an extension to temporary leave, if applicable.
During the period that the doctoral student is in this situation:
- The deadline for depositing the doctoral thesis is postponed.
- The student must be registered, if not, it will be assumed that he/she is withdrawing from the programme permanently.
- If the application for a voluntary leave of absence for personal reasons is submitted before the end of the registration period and lasts one year, the doctoral student does not need to complete the registration process. This leave of absence can be extended up to a maximum of 12 more months. The doctoral student must apply for this extension before the first period of leave has expired. Again in this situation, the doctoral student does not need to complete the registration process. If the student does not request to extend the leave of absence before the end of the first leave period, he/she must complete the registration process. At the end of the temporary leave of absence, the doctoral student must apply to resume his/her studies in accordance with the established procedure.
In the event that during one academic year a doctoral student has not formalized his/her registration, he/she can request to resume his/her studies in the immediately following academic year. If authorized by the academic committee of the doctoral programme, once the doctoral student has registered, the Campus Secretariat for Academic Management (SGAC) must mark that academic year as a voluntary leave for not having formalized the registration. This type of temporary leave also extends the calculation of time for the completion of the thesis.
The sum of the period of voluntary leave for personal reasons and of voluntary leave for not having formalized registration cannot, under no circumstances, exceed two years, considering, in addition, the requirements applicable in each of these cases.
Students will be permanently removed from the doctoral programme if they:
a) Do not complete the registration process for two consecutive academic years. However:
- Doctoral students who have only failed to register for one academic year may still apply to resume their studies on the same programme during the academic year immediately after.
- Doctoral students who have for and been granted temporary leave from the programme for personal reasons do not need to complete the registration process.
b) Do not present their PLAINV and DAD within the specified period or if they receive a negative evaluation or are graded as absent after the second examination session.
c) Do not deposit their theses within the established periods, including any extensions.
Permanent withdrawal means that:
- The doctoral student will not be allowed to continue on the doctoral programme for which they originally registered.
- The doctoral student's academic record will be archived.
However, the doctoral student will still have the right to apply for a different doctoral programme.
Doctoral students may apply to resume their studies on the same doctoral programme in accordance with the established procedure and provided that they:
- Have not registered for only one academic year and they want to continue on the doctoral programme during the academic year immediately after.
- Have applied for temporary leave for personal reasons before the end of the registration period and the temporary leave lasts for one year. In this case, doctoral students do not need to complete the registration process for the academic year in which they voluntarily leave the programme. Once the period of temporary leave has finished, they may apply to resume their studies and register for the same doctoral programme during the academic year immediately after.
- Have completed a one-year period of temporary leave for personal reasons and have applied for a one-year extension to the period of leave. During the following academic year, they may apply to resume their studies and register for the same doctoral programme.
- Have had their second or successive registrations annulled and they want to continue their doctoral studies during the academic year immediately after.
- Have been graded as absent due to temporary leave from studies during the second examination session of the second or subsequent years and they want to continue their doctoral studies during the academic year immediately after.
In all other cases, doctoral students who wish to continue on a doctoral programme must apply for a different programme in accordance with the established procedure.