PhD in Spain

Know the Best PhD/Doctorate Courses in Spain for Indian Students....

Standyou Team
Standyou Team

Jan 18, 2024 10:57:40

PhD in Spain for Indian Students

Choosing a Ph.D. Program

1. Research Fields: Identify your area of interest and look for universities or research institutions in Spain that specialize in that field.

2. Faculty and Research Opportunities: Research the faculty and their areas of expertise to find a potential supervisor whose interests align with yours.

3. Language: While many Ph.D. programs are offered in English, proficiency in Spanish can be beneficial, especially for living in Spain and if your research involves local subjects.

Admission Requirements

1. Master's Degree: Typically, you should have a relevant master’s degree or equivalent.

2. Academic Transcripts: From your previous university studies.

3. Research Proposal: A well-structured research proposal is crucial for your application.

4. Letters of Recommendation: Usually two or three from academics who are familiar with your work.

5. Language Proficiency: For English programs, TOEFL or IELTS scores are required. For Spanish-taught programs, you might need to prove your Spanish language proficiency.

6. Interviews: Some programs might require interviews (either in person or via video conferencing).

Finding a Supervisor

1. Direct Contact: It's common to contact potential supervisors directly to discuss your research interests and their availability to supervise your work.

2. Approval: Getting a supervisor’s approval beforehand can significantly strengthen your application.

Scholarships and Funding

1. Spanish Government Scholarships: Such as those offered by MAEC-AECID.

2. University Scholarships: Many universities provide scholarships or funding opportunities for Ph.D. students.

3. Research Grants: Available from various Spanish and international organizations.

4. Teaching Assistantships: Some Ph.D. students fund their studies through teaching or research assistant roles.

Application Process

1. Check Deadlines: These vary by university and program.

2. Prepare Documentation: Ensure all your documents, including your research proposal, are ready and tailored to the requirements of each program.

3. Apply Online: Most universities have an online application portal.

Visa and Legal Requirements

1. Student Visa: Indian students need a student visa for long-term studies in Spain.

2. NIE (Foreigner Identity Number): You’ll need to apply for this upon arrival in Spain.

3. Health Insurance: Mandatory for getting a student visa and living in Spain.

Living in Spain

1. Accommodation: Research housing options, considering university dorms, shared apartments, or individual rentals.

2. Cost of Living: Varies by city, with Madrid and Barcelona being more expensive.

3. Cultural Integration: Learning Spanish and engaging with local culture can enhance your experience.

Post-Ph.D. Opportunities

1. Academic Careers: Opportunities to continue in academia in Spain or elsewhere.

2. Work Visas: Options to apply for work visas post-study if you wish to remain in Spain.

3. Networking: Ph.D. studies often provide excellent networking opportunities, which can be beneficial for future career prospects.

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PhD in Spain with a scholarship

1. Identify Potential Ph.D. Programs and Universities

  • Research Fields: Find universities or research institutions in Spain that offer Ph.D. programs in your field of interest.

  • Faculty and Supervisors: Look for potential supervisors whose research interests align with yours.

2. Understand the Requirements

  • Academic Qualifications: Typically, a relevant Master's degree is required.

  • Language Proficiency: Check if the program requires proficiency in Spanish or English (TOEFL/IELTS for English).

  • Research Proposal: A strong research proposal is often necessary.

3. Search for Scholarships

  • Spanish Government Scholarships: For example, MAEC-AECID offers scholarships for international students.

  • University Specific Scholarships: Many Spanish universities offer scholarships for Ph.D. students.

  • EU-Funded Scholarships: Like Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions which fund research in EU countries.

  • Private Foundations: Such as La Caixa Foundation, which offers scholarships for postgraduate studies.

  • Research Projects: Sometimes Ph.D. positions are funded through specific research projects led by professors.

4. Application Process

  • Early Applications: Plan and start your applications early, as scholarships have strict deadlines.

  • Documentation: Prepare all necessary documents, including academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a CV, and a compelling research proposal.

  • Scholarship Applications: Often, you will need to apply for the Ph.D. program and the scholarship separately.

5. Visa and Preparations

  • Student Visa: Secure a student visa after gaining admission and scholarship.

  • Health Insurance: Required for your stay in Spain.

  • Accommodation and Living Arrangements: Plan your living arrangements in advance.

6. Networking and Communication

  • Contact Potential Supervisors: Engaging with potential supervisors before applying can be beneficial.

  • Use University Resources: Many universities have international offices that can help with the application process.

7. During the Ph.D.

  • Networking: Engage with the academic community and participate in conferences and seminars.

  • Publishing: Focus on publishing your research, which is crucial for a successful Ph.D.

8. After Completing the Ph.D.

  • Career Opportunities: Explore academic or industry opportunities in Spain or internationally.

  • Post-Doctoral Grants: Some scholarships offer post-doctoral funding.

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PhD in Madrid

Choosing the Right University and Program

Madrid is home to several prestigious universities, including:

1. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM): One of the largest and oldest universities in Spain, known for a wide range of disciplines.

2. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM): Highly regarded, especially in research and science fields.

3. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM): Specializes in engineering and technology programs.

4. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M): Known for its economics, business, and law programs.

5. IE University: Offers innovative programs, especially in business and management.

Admission Requirements

  • Academic Qualifications: A relevant Master's degree is usually required.

  • Research Proposal: A detailed proposal outlining your intended research.

  • Language Proficiency: Depending on the program, proficiency in English or Spanish may be required.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Usually from academic references.

  • CV/Resume: Detailing academic and research experience.

Finding a Supervisor

  • It's important to identify and contact potential supervisors in your field of interest. Their support can be crucial for your admission.

Funding and Scholarships

  • University Scholarships: Many Madrid universities offer their own scholarships or funding opportunities.

  • Government Scholarships: Such as those offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education or regional governments.

  • Research Grants: Look for research projects in your field that offer funding for Ph.D. candidates.

  • Teaching Assistantships: Some programs may offer positions that provide a stipend and tuition waiver.

Application Process

  • Prepare Your Documents: Ensure all your required documents are in order.

  • Application: Usually done online through the university’s website.

  • Deadlines: These vary between universities and departments, so check them well in advance.

Visa and Legal Requirements

  • Student Visa: Non-EU students will need to apply for a student visa.

  • NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero): This is a foreigner identification number required for your stay in Spain.

Life in Madrid

  • Accommodation: Explore options like university residences, shared apartments, or private rentals.

  • Cost of Living: Madrid is relatively affordable compared to other major European capitals, but costs can vary.

  • Culture and Language: Embrace the vibrant Spanish culture and consider learning or improving your Spanish.

Career Opportunities Post-Ph.D.

  • Madrid's dynamic environment offers numerous opportunities in academia, research institutions, and industry.

Networking and Academic Life

  • Madrid hosts many conferences, seminars, and workshops, providing ample opportunities for networking and collaboration.

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Intakes & Application Deadlines for PhD in Spain


  1. Main Intakes:

    • The primary intake for Ph.D. programs in Spain usually occurs in the Fall (September/October).

    • Some universities also offer a Spring intake (January/February), but this is less common for Ph.D. programs.

  2. Rolling Admissions: Some institutions or specific programs may have rolling admissions, where applications are considered as they are received throughout the year.

Application Deadlines

  1. General Timeline:

    • For the Fall intake, application deadlines typically range from January to May of the same year.

    • For a Spring intake, if available, deadlines might fall around September to November of the previous year.

  2. Specific Deadlines: Each university and program can have its own specific deadlines. It’s crucial to check the exact dates on the university’s website or contact the admissions office directly.

  3. Early Applications: Some programs encourage or require early applications, especially if you are also applying for scholarships or funding.

Scholarship Deadlines

  • Scholarship deadlines can be different from the program application deadlines. Often, they are earlier, so if you plan to apply for funding, prepare to submit your applications well in advance.

Admission Process Overview

1. Research and Contact Potential Supervisors: This should be done before applying, as having a potential supervisor can be a key part of the application.

2. Prepare Your Application: This includes your research proposal, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, CV, and any required language test results.

3. Submit Application: Follow the specific instructions provided by the university, including how and where to submit your documents.

4. Interviews: Some programs may require interviews as part of the admissions process.

5. Notification of Decision: The timeline for receiving a decision can vary, but universities usually notify applicants a few months after the application deadline.

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PhD Course Duration in Spain

Standard Duration

  1. Full-Time Ph.D.:

    • The usual duration for a full-time Ph.D. program in Spain is three to four years.

    • This period is dedicated to conducting research, completing a dissertation or thesis, and often includes taking part in additional academic activities like teaching, workshops, or seminars.

  2. Part-Time Ph.D.:

    • For part-time students, the duration can extend to up to six or even eight years.

    • Part-time options are suitable for those who are working or have other commitments alongside their doctoral studies.

Factors Influencing Duration

1. Research Field: Some fields, especially those involving extensive laboratory work or field research, might require more time.

2. Dissertation/Thesis Work: The time it takes to complete your dissertation can vary widely. Some students may complete their research faster, while others might need additional time for data collection, experimentation, or writing.

3. Program Structure: Certain programs might have specific coursework, teaching requirements, or internship components that can influence the overall duration.

4. Individual Progress: The pace at which a student progresses through the Ph.D. largely depends on their individual circumstances, the nature of the research, and the requirements set by their supervisors and departments.

Completion Requirements

  • The culmination of the Ph.D. program is typically the submission and defense of a doctoral thesis or dissertation.

  • This process involves presenting your research findings to a panel of experts and defending your work in a public examination.

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PhD Courses in Spain along with Universities, Eligibility, Intake and Fees


Ph.D. Course



Fees (approx.)

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

Master's in related field, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)

Ph.D. in Physics

Master's in Physics or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)

Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

Master's in Engineering or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universidad de Barcelona (UB)

Ph.D. in Economics and Business

Master's in Economics/Business, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)

Ph.D. in Law

Master's in Law or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct), Spring (Jan/Feb)


IE University

Ph.D. in Business Administration

Master's in related field, GMAT/GRE, English proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universidad de Navarra

Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics

Master's in Mathematics or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)

Ph.D. in Biomedicine

Master's in Biomedicine or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

Ph.D. in Computer Science

Master's in Computer Science or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


University of Salamanca

Ph.D. in Humanities

Master's in Humanities or related, Language proficiency

Fall (Sep/Oct)


How to Apply for Study in Spain

Education System in Spain

Post Study Job Opportunities in Spain for Indian Students

PhD Courses in Spain for Indian and International students

1. Sciences and Engineering

  • Universities: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Universidad de Barcelona (UB)

  • Fields: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Engineering disciplines

  • Characteristics: Strong focus on research, laboratory work, and innovation. Opportunities for collaboration with industries and research centers.

2. Social Sciences and Humanities

  • Universities: Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Universidad de Salamanca, Universidad de Sevilla

  • Fields: History, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science, Linguistics

  • Characteristics: Emphasis on original research, archival work, field studies. Collaboration with cultural institutions and think tanks.

3. Business and Economics

  • Universities: IE Business School, ESADE Business School, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)

  • Fields: Economics, Business Administration, Management, Finance

  • Characteristics: Research combined with practical application, partnerships with global businesses, focus on contemporary business issues.

4. Law

  • Universities: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Universidad de Navarra, Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)

  • Fields: International Law, European Law, Human Rights, Corporate Law

  • Characteristics: Legal research with an international perspective, moot courts, legal clinics, seminars.

5. Health Sciences

  • Universities: University of Barcelona (UB), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), University of Valencia

  • Fields: Medicine, Biomedicine, Public Health, Pharmacy

  • Characteristics: Laboratory research, clinical trials, collaboration with hospitals and medical institutions.

6. Technology and Information Sciences

  • Universities: Technical University of Catalonia, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), University of Granada

  • Fields: Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Telecommunications

  • Characteristics: Cutting-edge research, industry collaboration, focus on emerging technologies.

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s Degree: Relevant degree in a related field.

  • Language Proficiency: Depending on the program, proficiency in English or Spanish. TOEFL or IELTS for English; DELE for Spanish.

  • Research Proposal: A comprehensive proposal outlining your intended research area.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Generally from academic or professional references.

  • Interviews: Some programs may require interviews as part of the admissions process.

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PhD Scholarships in Spain for Indian Students

1. Spanish Government Scholarships

  • MAEC-AECID Scholarships: Offered by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these scholarships are for international students to pursue graduate studies, including Ph.D. programs in Spain. They typically cover tuition, a monthly stipend, and health insurance.

2. University-Specific Scholarships

  • La Caixa Foundation Fellowships: Available for Ph.D. students at Spanish universities. They are highly competitive and cover tuition fees, a generous monthly stipend, and travel costs.

  • "la Caixa" INPhINIT Fellowship Programme: Targets early-stage researchers of any nationality to pursue a Ph.D. in STEM disciplines at Spanish centers of excellence. This includes a competitive salary and family benefits.

3. Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates

  • These are prestigious, integrated international study programs offered by consortiums of universities. Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates often provide scholarships that cover tuition fees, insurance, and a contribution to living and travel expenses.

4. University Scholarships

  • Many Spanish universities offer their own scholarships or research grants for Ph.D. students. These can be either merit-based or need-based and may cover a part of or the entire tuition fee, along with a living stipend. Examples include scholarships from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad de Barcelona, and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

5. Research Project Funding

  • Ph.D. students can also be funded through specific research projects led by professors. These positions are typically advertised on university websites and relevant academic forums.

6. FPI (Formación de Personal Investigador) Program

  • Offered by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities, this program funds Ph.D. candidates who wish to participate in research projects.

7. FPU (Formación de Profesorado Universitario) Program

  • This program is intended to fund the training of university lecturers and includes grants for doctoral studies.

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