Doctoral Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology




Introduction

This PhD program arises from the former "Official Program of postgraduate studies on Biochemistry and Molecular an Cell Biology".

The verification report of Master in Molecular and Cell Biology was submitted to ANECA for its evaluation in February 2008, and was approved according to RD 1393/2007,  Resolución del Consejo de Universidades of March 3, 2009. This University Master consist of 60 ECTS credits and was teached in the Universidad de Zaragoza, according to RD 56/2005, from school year 2006-07 under the name: "Master Universitario en Biología Molecular y Celular", and was approved by the Board of Trustees of Universidad de Zaragoza by 17 January 2006 and published in BOE of 03/07/2006. Moreover, it was integrated in the frame of "Programa Oficial de Posgrado de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular y Celular" and the Board of Trustees of Universidad de Zaragoza approved the PhD program, by  17 January 2006, according to RD 56/2005 (BOE of 3 March 2006).



Program Objectives


Contact

Secretary Office:
Secretaría del Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular y Celular
Facultad de Ciencias
Ciudad Universitaria. 50009 Zaragoza

Academic requests:
Teléfono: 976761280 - Ext.: 841280
Email: jnaval@unizar.es

Administrative requests:
Teléfono: 976761287 - Ext.: 841287
Email: sed1002@unizar.es

Students with specific needs:
An special advisor, appointed by the Comisión Academica, for disabled students with special educational needs would be available to help in the admission processs.
The Comisión Académica will analyze the particular cases of students with special educational needs in order to adapt eventually the Syllabus, This would guaranteee the doctoral formation program and the competence acquisition.


 


Basic Skills

The students of the program acquire the basic competences indicated in article 5 of Royal Decree 99/2011 on doctorate. They are the following:

  1. Systematic understanding of their field of study and mastery of research skills and methods related to that field.
  2. Ability to conceive, design or create, implement and adopt a substantial process of research or creation.
  3. Ability to contribute to the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge through original research.
  4. Ability to perform a critical analysis and evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas.
  5. Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific community and with society in general about their fields of knowledge in the modes and languages commonly used in their international scientific community.
  6. Ability to promote, in academic and professional contexts, scientific, technological, social, artistic or cultural advancement within a society based on knowledge.

Personal Abilities and Skills

The RD 99/2011 highlights the high professional training of doctors in various fields, especially those that require creativity and innovation. Therefore, the doctors of the program will have acquired, at least, personal skills and abilities to:

  1. Develop in contexts in which there is little specific information.
  2. Find the key questions that must be answered to solve a complex problem.
  3. Design, create, develop and undertake innovative and innovative projects in their field of knowledge.
  4. Work both as a team and independently in an international or multidisciplinary context.
  5. Integrate knowledge, face complexity and formulate judgements with limited information.
  6. The criticism and intellectual defence of solutions.

General Information

ACCESS

The requirements for access to doctorate studies are set in RD 99/2011 and can be consulted in the corresponding Instruction of the Doctorate School (pdf). In general, an official Spanish Bachelor's and Master's degrees or equivalent are required, with a minimum global extension of 300 ECTS credits.

Candidates with university degrees issued by a country of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) may request admission directly (info). If the degree is issued by a country outside the EHEA, the application for access with a non-homologated foreign degree must be submitted (info).

Those interested can expand their information in the administrative section of the Doctoral School (web) or the administration of the program (see contact data in the program general information section).


ADMISSION

The Doctoral School will establish in the academic calendar of the year the period of application for admission in its programs. The application for admission will include a motivation letter indicating the research line(s) of interest. It may also include the proposal of a researcher for thesis director. In the resolution of admission, if this is favorable, the Academic Committee will appoint the tutor and the director of the thesis and assign the research line, or lines (up to two), of the thesis. It will also establish the type of dedication of the doctoral student (full or partial time) and, if appropriate, the training complements that must be completed. Exceptionally, the director's appointment may be postponed until three months after the date of the doctorate's enrollment in the program. The Academic Committee may declare a candidate as unsuitable for the program, based on the information contained in the candidate's motivation letter.

If the admitted applicant does not enroll in the doctoral program, the admission will expire one month after its concession date. In this case, individuals interested in starting doctoral studies must apply again for admission to the program. Open vacancies will be covered by the Academic Committee according to the corresponding waiting list.

Programs with available places will accept subsequent admission applications, until completion of the number of places offered by the program.

For all purposes, a candidate does not acquire the status of doctoral student at the University of Zaragoza until he/she formalizes his or her enrollment in the corresponding program. PhD students must register annually for academic tutelage.


Program Specific Information

Oferta de plazas: 30


General requirements:

In accordance with Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28, which regulates the official doctorate education, to have access to doctoral studies, you must have the official Spanish degree (or equivalent) and the master's degree.

However, those who are in any of these other scenarios may also access the doctoral studies:

a) Those who are in possession of an official university degree in Spain or another country that is part of the European Higher Education Area that enables access to master studies, in accordance with the provisions of article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, which establishes the organization of official university education, and have passed a minimum of 300 ECTS credits in the set of official university studies, of which at least 60 will have to be master's studies.

b) Those who are in possession of an official Spanish diploma of graduate (licenciado), whose duration, according to the rules of community law, is at least 300 ECTS credits. These graduates must take compulsory training complements, unless the curriculum of the corresponding degree title include credits for training in research, equivalent in terms of training value to research credits from master studies.

c) Those who have a university degree and, after gain access to places of specialized medical training and have a positive evaluation of at least two years of the training a program to obtain the official title of some of the specialties in health sciences.

d) Those who are in possession of a degree obtained in foreign education systems, equivalent to that of the official Spanish master's degree, and that grants the access to doctoral studies
in the country issuing the title. This admission does not imply, in any case, the homologation of the foreign previous degree nor its recognition for other purposes than that of access to doctorate studies.

e) Those who are in possession of another Spanish title of doctor obtained according to previous university reglamentations.

f) Graduates, Architects or Engineers who were in possession of the Diploma of Advanced Studies obtained in accordance with the RD 778/98 of April 30 or who have attained the research proficiency regulated in RD 185/1985, of January 23.

Under no circumstances students with a diploma of studies equivalent to a duration of less than 240 ECTS will be admitted to doctorate. In these cases, the student will have to apply for admission to Master in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Zaragoza prior to their admission to the doctorate or to the Master's Degree in Introduction to Veterinary Science Research.


Preferred profiles:
In order to enter to doctoral program, it is essential that the Academic Committee will admit the doctoral student or doctoral student.
To obtain such admission, the student must contact the Academic Committee of the program and request it within the period of time established in the academic calendar and according to the procedure established in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

After evaluating the documentation submitted, the Academic Committee of the program will determine if necessary to meet additional requirements including the pass of specific tests.

Pre-registration information:

The orientation and reception of the future doctoral students is carried out through a series of contacts (personal and / or via email, if applicable). It begins with contacts between the coordinator and the eventual doctoral student to facilitate their incorporation into the doctoral program. The coordinator will inform the student of administrative and academic processes, such as duration of the doctoral thesis, tutor functions, director functions, training plan, etc.

After apply for admission, and once the student and the professor who endorses the application have been heard, the Academic Committee of the Doctorate will assign a tutor to the student within a period of 15 days after the aceptance of student. International students of non-Spanish language born will be assigned to a English-speaking tutor.


Main degrees of access:

Official Master's Degree, preferably in the Master's Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Zaragoza and the Master's Degree in Introduction to Research in Veterinary Sciences, in which the period of training of the Doctoral Program in Biochemistry and Biology resides Molecular or other of the same level and scope, of any higher education institution of the European Higher Education Area or of third countries if they grant access to doctoral studies to the country of issue.


Selection criteria:
To be admitted to the Doctorate program, candidate students must submit an application that the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will assess. Among the criteria for admission and selection of doctoral students will be taken into account, specifically:

01. The previous training of the applicant, specially the competences acquired during the postgraduate training period. (up to 30 points).
02. The Curriculum vitae. Knowledge level of accredited languages, experience in the area, publications and letters of reference of professors and researchers specialized in the subject that endorse the request (up to 20 points) will be worthwhile merits.
03. The research interests declared by the applicant (up to 5 points).
04. Commitment to the Program (up to 5 points).
05. Feasibility and scientific interest of the submitted thesis project, if applicable (up to 30 points).
06. Result of a personal interview, if applicable (up to 10 points).



Specific Training Activities

Profile: Students who have deficiencies of essential knowledge in their previous training (Degree and Master's studies) in relation to the research line in which they intend to carry out their research work.

Complements to be studied: The completion of specific and prsonalized training complements (content of Bachelor's or Master's topics) may be proposed, depending on the student's previous training and the subject of his / her doctoral thesis.


Enrolment Dates, Deadlines and Procedure

Doctoral students, as researchers in training and students of the University of Zaragoza, have to formalize every year the enrollment with the corresponding rights to the academic tutorship while continuing their doctoral training. The enrollment period will be set  in the academiccalendar approved each year by the Doctoral School. 

As a general rule, enrollment will be done online through the Secretaría Virtual ofthe University of Zaragoza. Previously a personal identification number (NIP) and password will have been obtained in the identity management service. Face-to-face registration will be allowed to those who cannot do it online, by going to the doctoral school during public service hours. PhD students must submit every year in which they enroll, documentation about their previous studies, depending on whether they have been taken in countries of the European Education Area or outside that space.

Full and up-to-date information on the enrollment procedure, including key points, is provided on the website of the Doctoral School, as well as prices, discounts and insurance, legalization and translation of documents and some others practical details.


Thesis Supervision

The procedures for the supervision of doctoral students are set in article 11 of Royal Decree 99/2011, which regulates doctoral studies. The doctoral student admitted to the program has to enrol each academic year in academic tutelage at the University of Zaragoza. The Academic Committee of the program will assign a Thesis Director and a tutor, who may or may not be the same. The Thesis Director will be the person in charge of the overall management of the doctoral student's research tasks, of the coherence and adequacy of the training activities, of the impact and novelty in his/her field of the subject of the doctoral thesis and of the guide in other projects and activities where the doctoral student is involved. The tutor is responsible for the adaptation of the training and the research activity to the principles of the program and the Doctoral School and will ensure the interaction of the doctoral student with the Academic Committee of the program, the body responsible for supervising the progress of the research and training and the authorization of the thesis presentation of each doctoral student of the program.

The supervisory functions of the doctoral students will be documented in the Doctorate Letter which, once the registration is made, will be signed by the doctoral student, its tutor and its director, the program coordinator and the director of the Doctoral School. Those interested can expand the information on the thesis supervision in the administrative headquarters of the program (see contact information in the general information of the program) or by consulting the program coordinator.


Student's Follow-up and Evaluation

The follow-up of the training process leading to the presentation of the doctoral thesis is carried out through the research plan and the doctoral student's document of activities. The research plan is presented before the end of the first year of enrolment and includes, at least, the methodology to be used and the objectives to be achieved, as well as the means and the temporal planning to achieve it. The plan may be improved and detailed later and must be endorsed by the Director and the tutor. The document of activities is the register of all the activities -research stays, courses, attendance to congresses, or others- that the doctorate carries out from his enrolment until the presentation of the doctoral thesis. Annually, the Academic Committee of the program will evaluate the follow-up of the research plan together with the document of activities. The positive evaluation will be an essential requirement to continue in the program. In the case of a negative evaluation, the doctoral student must be evaluated again within a maximum period of six months. Those interested can expand this information in the administrative headquarters of the program (see contact information in the general information of the program) or by consulting the program coordinator.

Once the thesis is concluded, the doctoral student must proceed to deposit and defend it according to the dispositions included in the thesis regulation of the University of Zaragoza (info).


Transversal Training Activities

The Doctoral School offers an annual series of voluntary activities for all doctoral students. This formation has a transversal and interdisciplinary nature. The offer is dynamic and covers the following formative aspects: communication (oral and written), access and information management, and skills for a future social and professional performance.  Information about the activities, admission and enrolment can be found in the website of the Doctoral School  (info).

Additionally, other formative activities of interest for a wide range of our doctoral students are disseminated through our web (info).


Specific Training Activities

Title: Group seminars.
Duration: 2h / week
Control procedures: Seminars will be carried out periodically according to a pre-established rotating schedule. The doctoral students will present the current and ongoing  work topic and the rest of students and teachers (tutors) will discuss the topic. During each academic period, each doctoral student present three seminars on average. Attendance at seminars is mandatory.


Title: Research stays in other laboratories.
Duration: variable
Control procedures: At the end of stay, the research responsible of foreign laboratory will be asked to provide a report on the activity and use of the doctoral student. The Academic Committee will evaluate mobility within the plan of activities of the doctoral student and decide on its approval.


Mobility

Doctoral students enrolled in doctoral programs benefit from mobility aids established in various national and international calls. The calls for the Erasmus + program stand out.

In the Erasmus + Studies mode, doctoral students can choose a wide range of destinations, since most of the agreements signed by the University of Zaragoza with other universities include places for PhD students of all branches.

In the Erasmus + Stays / Practices in companies modality, PhD students access two calls: the one from the University of Zaragoza and the one carried out by the Iberus International Campus of Excellence for the universities that comprise it, the one from Zaragoza among them.

Other mobility calls are specifically designed for Latin American students and for international stays of students with predoctoral contracts. The mobility of doctoral students of the University of Zaragoza is also encouraged with cotutela agreements signed with foreign universities.


Research Lines


    Research Teams



    Academic Regulations

    The Doctoral School of the University of Zaragoza has rules and procedures to achieve its various goals, which have been written with the agreement of the different levels of the Doctoral School, and are published on its website.

    The regulations section of the Doctoral School website contains other important regulations, both national and of the University of Zaragoza, such as RD 99/2011 por el que se regulan las enseñanzas oficiales de doctorado, el Reglamento de los Estudios de Doctorado (2012) y el Reglamento sobre tesis doctorales (2014).


    PhD Duration and Their Management Rules

    Rules of duration and permanence in the doctorate are established in Instrucción de23 de mayo de 2018 de la Escuela de Doctorado relativa al acceso, admisión,dedicación y permanencia en los estudios de doctorado de la Universidad deZaragoza (R.D. 99/2011).

    Full-time thesis should be complete in three years, from the date of admission to the doctoral program, although the Academic Committee of the program may authorize the extension of this period for one more year. Part-time doctoral students will have five years from their admission to the presentation of the thesis, and the Academic Committee may authorize an extension for two more years. Exceptionally, an additional year of extension can be added.

    PhD candidates may request a change in dedication (full-time / part-time) as well as the temporary withdrawal for justified reasons of the Academic Committee. They can cause a definitive withdrawal and see their file closed in these cases: if the available time to deposit the thesis is exceeded or if they receive two consecutive negative evaluations of the research plan.

    These processes are explained in detail on our website (info) and the doctoral students are told how to proceed in cases of temporary withdrawal (info).


    Academic Calendar

    The academic year is governed by the deadlines established in the specific Doctoral School´s academic calendar.

    This calendar sets the periods of request for entry, admission to the programs, enrollment at the University of Zaragoza, as well as how the students must present every year the research plan and the activities document, deadlines for defending doctoral theses, etc.

    The Doctoral School website publishes the calendar of the current course as well as the two previous courses (info).


    Learning Resources

    Research laboratories
    In the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology, there are nine research groups recognized by the Government of Aragón that develop different topics, as indicated in the corresponding places in this report. Each of group has several specialized research laboratories where they can develop laboratory work in biochemistry, instrumental techniques in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, computer analysis, cell cultures, etc.

    In addition to these research laboratories, which are located in the Science and Veterinary Faculties, several research groups of the department are also part of the University Research Institutes (BIFI, INA, Environmental Sciences) or the Biomedical Research Center of Aragón (CIBA), with which access is also available to their own laboratories and to the research support services offered by these centers.


    Library and Documentation Service
    The University has university libraries with extensive and easily accessible schedules. The libraries offer the University Community a wide range of services such as the loan of books, access to collections in paper and electronic format, spaces with computers and individual work spaces and group work.

    In particular, the following libraries will facilitate access to the documentary collections, bibliographic databases and scientific publications related to the doctoral program:

    Library of the Faculty of Sciences, Library Hypatia of Alexandria, Library Medicine UZ.


    Section of the Doctoral School
    It is the unit of the University of Zaragoza responsible for providing technical and administrative support to the university community linked to doctoral studies.

    Its main services are:
    • Information and attention to the university community with special attention to the information that appears on the Web page.
    • Support to government bodies and academic commissions
    • Enrollment and records management
    • Support in the process of verification and mention of excellence
    • Support in the calls for Erasmus Mundus programs


    International Relations Department
    Through the offices of reception of international students, the International Relations Service promotes mobility, welcomes international students of Doctorate and facilitates their integration in the University.

    International Doctorate students are provided with support and information about the city, accommodation, Spanish and other language courses, medical assistance, grants and scholarships, etc.

    Other supports: research mobility center (EURAXESS)
    The University of Zaragoza, through the Vice-Rectorate of Scientific Policy, is part of the EURAXESS European Network of Aragon and is an information point that provides personalized assistance to both foreign researchers who travel to Aragon to develop their research work, as well as researchers Aragonese who are interested in traveling abroad temporarily. This support deals with topics such as procedures for obtaining visas, residence cards and their renewals, homologation of university degrees, job offers, Social Security and health care, schooling and other useful information to facilitate the movement and integration of the researcher in the country of destination.



    Regulation

    Documents

    Commissions

    Forms