5.PhD Programme Organisation

General explanation of the syllabus



The training activities of the PhD programme, through its courses and seminars, will be multidisciplinary and flexible so that each student, supervised by their directors, may choose the courses to take from range of training activities from the PhD Programme and the Doctoral School.

The activities will be optional, except for the defence of the activities carried out, which shall be annual, the submission of papers to international scientific conferences and to international journals. 

The Academic Committee of the PhD Programme will coordinate the programme and approve the plan of activities of each academic year.

5.1. Thesis supervision

PhD Programme Teaching Staff 

All of the members of the Teaching Staff of the PhD Programme must hold a PhD, without prejudice to the potential collaboration in certain specific activities of other persons or professionals by virtue of their relevant scientific or professional qualification in the corresponding field of knowledge. 

It will be feasible to incorporate external teaching and research staff to the PhD Programme. In this case, the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme will accredit this condition and will guarantee the resources needed to these incorporations, and must inform the University in this regard. 

PhD Programme Tutors 

The final admission of a PhD student entails the assignment of a Tutor, appointed by the relevant Academic Committee of the PhD Programme. It will be a tenured lecturer from the university and/or the collaborating entity of the PhD Programme. 

In general, the Tutor will have the following functions: (i) ensure the interaction of the student with the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, and together with the Director of the thesis; (ii) ensure the adequacy of the training and research activity of the PhD students to the lines of the programme, and (iii) guide the student in the teaching and research activities of the programme.

The Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, after consulting the PhD student, may amend the appointment of the Tutor at any time within the doctorate period, provided that the reasons are justified. 

The task of Tutoring will be recognised as part of the teaching and research commitment of the teaching staff, according to the rules and procedures approved by the University

PhD Thesis Directors 

Within three months after the enrolment, the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme will assign a Thesis Director to each student. The Thesis Director will be the person in charge of the coherence and suitability of the training activities, the impact and innovation in its field, the topic of the thesis and of the guidance in its planning and adequacy, if any, to other projects and activities carried out by the PhD student. 

Thesis Director can be any Spanish or foreign doctor, with proven research experience, regardless of the university, centre or institution where they provide their services. For the purposes of this regulation, proven research experience means compliance with any of the following requirements:

  • To accredit at least six years of research activity.
  • Having been, in the last six years, researcher or principal investigator of a research project funded through public calls (excluding calls of the university itself)
  • To accredit authorship or co-authorship, in the last six years, of at least 3 papers in scientific journals included in the Journal Citation Reports. In those areas where this criterion does not apply, because of their tradition, it will be replaced by a comparable requirement as established by the  CNEAI -"Comisión Nacional Evaluadora de la Actividad Investigadora" (National Committee for the Evaluation of Research Activities), in these scientific fields.
  • To accredit the authorship or co-authorship of a patent being exploited.
  • To have directed a doctoral thesis in the last five years, with a qualification of "Summa Cum Laude" or "Cum Laude" that would have led to the publication of a paper in one of the journals indexed in the ISI-JCR, or any relevant contribution in its scientific field according to the criteria of the CNEAI.

In the event that a professor of the programme meets the requirements to be Director and Tutor, he/she will assume both functions, if appropriate

In the case that a Director is not a tenured lecture at the university or the collaborating entity, or he/she is not a professor of the programme, the programme will appoint a Tutor who meets the requirements established in the Regulation of Doctoral Studies of the University.

The Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, upon written request of the PhD student after being consulted, may amend the appointment of the Director at any time within the doctorate period, provided that the reasons are justified. 

List of existing mechanisms that promote and acknowledge the direction of doctoral theses:

  • Acknowledgement from the University of Vigo of the thesis direction as part of the teaching and research commitment as provided in the "Normativa de dedicación e de recoñemento en POD de actividades do PDI" (Regulations for commitment and acknoledgement of the activities of the research staff in the plan for teaching organization) . Currently this acknowledgement means a deduction of 10 hours/academic course of the basic teaching activity per each thesis directed and defended in the University of Vigo in the last three academic courses, having into account the number of directors, up to a maximum of 60 hours.
  • Acknowledgement from the University of Vigo of the thesis direction in the assessment of scientific production.
  • Acknowledgement from the "Xunta de Galicia" (Regional Government of Galicia) through grants to consolidate research groups, as the thesis supervision is one of the required merits for the granting of Reference Group by the regional government. Some of the research groups included in this PhD Programme already have this acknowledgement and other are on track to achieve it, what brings them to foster the thesis direction.
  • Acknowledgement from the "Xunta de Galicia" for granting the additional salary elements of curricular excellence.


The Academic Committee will draw up a guide to good practice on thesis direction before the ending of the first year of implementation of the PhD Programme. 

The thesis could be co-directed in the case that there exist academic reasons or when the thematic interdisciplinarity or the programmes developed in national or international collaboration so warrant. The thesis co-directors must meet the same requirements as those for the Directors as provided in this regulation and they will have the same competences. In any case, the number of directors of a doctoral thesis may not exceed two. In any case, the co-direction should be previously authorized by the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme. Such authorisation may be revoked subsequently only if in the opinion of the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme the co-direction does not benefit the thesis development.

In the case of new directors, it will be encouraged the co-direction together with an experienced director. In the event that a new director requests the assistance of a co-director to the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, the Committee is committed to seeking an experienced researcher who can assume this role. To that end, the PhD Programme will annually indicate those research topics in which an experienced researcher would be willing to accept the co-direction of a thesis together with a new director. In any event, the new directors shall present to the experienced directors the topic(s) of the thesis to be directed. Once they get the approval from the Academic Committee, at least one experienced director must act as counsellor for the first thesis direction, holding regular meetings with the new director and/or the PhD student. This tutoring could  reach co-direction in the event that it will be substantiated in the participation of the experienced director in one or more of the publications. 

On the other hand, the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, will advise and guide the directors, makingrecommendations after the annual assessment of the Research Plan, as such activity is twofold: assessment of the performance of both the PhD student as well as the thesis director. This will be especially important in the case of theses direction by new directors. 

5.2. PhD student's monitoring 

Document of Activities of the PhD Student.

Once enrolled in the Programme, it will be materialized for each PhD student the personalized document of activities for the purpose of the individualized registration. In this document, all of the interest activities for the development of the PhD students will be recorded as established by the unit in charge of the doctoral studies at the university, and it will be assessed yearly by the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme.

This document must follow the format established, it must be registered in the computer application and it must be documentary evidence attesting the completion of the activities by the PhD student. 

The students will have access to the Document of Activities of the PhD Student in order to record and update activities carried out in the context of the programme. Their records will be validated by the relevant academic body after asdessment by the Tutor and Director, after verification by the administration of the authenticity/veracity of the alleged merits, if any.

The Document of Activities of the PhD Students, may be accessed, for the relevant functions in each case, by the PhD Student, the thesis tutor or director, the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, the unit in charge of the doctoral studies at the university and the administrative staff in charge.


Research Plan

Within six months from the date of enrolment, the PhD Student will develop a Research Plan including the methodology to be used and the objectives to be achieved, as well as the means and scheduling for achieving them. The Plan must be submitted and endorsed with the Report from the Director/s and from the Tutor, and it will approved by the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme, taking into account the guarantees offered by the plan for compliance, within the corresponding period, with the requirements for defending the thesis, established in this report. This plan can be improved and detailed in the annual assessment process relying on the endorsement of the Tutor and the Director. 

The Academic Committee of the PhD Programme will annually assess the Research Plan and the Document of Activities and they will have available the reports that should be issued by the Tutor and Director, in order to conduct the assessment. The positive evaluation will be an essential requirement to continue in the Programme. In the event of a negative evaluation, which shall be duly substantiated, the PhD student should be assessed again within six months, developing a new Research Plan. In the case of a new negative evaluation, the PhD Student will be permanently removed from the Programme. 


Supervision Commitment

The functions of supervision, tutelage and monitoring of the PhD students will be reflected in a Supervision Commitment. The aforesaid Commitment will be signed by a specific representation appointed by the university, the Tutor and the PhD student within a month from the enrolment date, including the signature of the Director at the time of his/her appointment. This Supervision Commitment will be incorporated to the Document of Activities of the PhD Student at the time of the signature by all the persons involved. 

It will be specified in the Supervision Commitment the academic relation between the PhD students and the University, their rights and duties, including any intellectual and/or industrial property rights resulting from research, as well as the acceptance of the dispute settlement procedure and its duration. It will also be included the duties of the PhD student's Tutor and the Thesis Director. 

The Supervision Commitment must bear the conditions under which the doctoral thesis will be published.

The allocation of the Tutor can be done in two ways:

  • If the student already has Thesis Director/s and at least one of them meets the requirements to be Tutor, the Academic Committee will select the Tutor among the Director/s
  • Otherwise, the Academic Committee will appoint the Tutor among the professors who meet the conditions to perform this task.
  • The Academic Committee may reconsider the allocation of the Tutor at the request of the student or the Tutor itself. 

The allocation of the Director may take place in two different ways: 

  • Proactive, by the student. To this end, the PhD Programme will make available to the students a database with the research topics of each research group. Within each research topic, the student can consult the data of the researchers working on that topic as well as the specific subject of research through key words. Thus, the student may meet with the DOC_TIC researcher/s and choose Director/s after agreement. The Academic Committee will ratify that allocation, if applicable. 
  • Passive, by the student. Once the students have been admitted in the PhD Programme, and according to their Curriculum Vitae and the subject of research chosen, The Academic Committee will search for the most suitable director/s, whom they will contact sending the CV of the student. After the corresponding study, the researcher may or may not admit the applicant as PhD student, reporting this to the Academic Committee, who will ratify that allocation, if applicable. 
  • The Academic Committee may reconsider the allocation of the Director at the request of the student or the Director itself. 


The PhD students will annually submit to the Academic Committee the certificates of those activities carried out during the academic year. The Committee will assess such activities and will recognise them or not as training activities of the PhD Programme together with the corresponding number of credits. 

The PhD students will annually submit the Annual Research Plan, which shall include both the research and training activities to be carried out, as well as courses, conferences and research stays. This document must be signed by their director/s. 

The PhD student, the Tutor and Directors will be summoned to attend an open session where they will account for the compliance to the Annual Research Plan before the Academic Committee, who will be the one who approves it or not, where appropriate. In this session they will participate renowned national and foreign experts who will assess the performance of the PhD Student and the Director/s

It is intended that all PhD Students undertake at least a research stay during their training, as stated in the list of activities to be carried out by the PhD students. These stays will facilitate the achievement of the established requirements for obtaining the "Mención Internacional de Tesis" (Thesis International Mention) and the co-tutelage by foreign directors. 

The PhD Programme will devote a 70% of the available funds to finance stays and it will submit existing public or private calls for this purpose. 

Additionally, as usual, the research groups involved and AtlantTIC will fund mobility aids, according to their possibilities. It will also turn to the aids for trips and stays from the University of Vigo and the Autonomous Community.

5.3. Thesis Defence Regulations





For the purpose of defending the thesis in the PhD Programme, the students must have the authorization of the Academic Committee, who will verify the compliance with the following requirements: 



 1. Having the Research Plan approved.

 2. Obtaining annual positive evaluation for the Research Plan. 

 3. Getting the nod of the Director and Tutor. 

 4. Verification of the compliance with the compulsory training activities 3 and 4. 

 5. The international publications and other research merits related to the thesis, should achieve at least 50% of the maximum established for the scientific performance of the doctoral thesis at the scale of the mention of excellence in force for the PhD Programmes. 

In the case that the latter criterion is not met, the Academic Committee may establish, exceptionally and upon reasoned and justified request of the student and the Director, alternative criteria for the thesis defence. These criteria must ensure that the results of the Doctoral Thesis are original and with the necessary quality to meet the above requirement within a reasonable period of time.