Doctoral Program in Physical Chemistry 2021–2022


The Doctoral Program in Physical Chemistry is linked to the Degree in Chemistry and Masters: Master Degree in Nanostructured Materials for Nanotechnology Applications and Master Degree in Industrial Chemistry currently taught at the University of Zaragoza. The doctoral program allows specializing its training to graduates interested in developing research topics in Physical Chemistry or related for its incorporation into the market in the field of R+D+i.

Although Physical Chemistry is a classical discipline, the subject matter, orientation and interdisciplinarity of the research work carried out can be very different since they depend on the departments and research groups that carry them out. The Department of Physical Chemistry of the University of Zaragoza has a long history in teaching and research with 20 professors and researchers trained and specialized in this field, which guarantee the quality of the doctoral program.

The number and quality of the research groups involved in the doctoral program has generated excellent results in leading lines of both basic and applied research, recognized by the publication of works in international journals with a high impact index.

Several researchers of the doctoral program in Physical Chemistry develop also their work in research institutes such as the Aragón Institute for Engineering Research (I3A), the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA), the AgriFood Institute of Aragon (IA2) and the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI), as well as in the Carboquímica Institute, beloging to the Spanish Research Council (CSIC).

Program Objectives

Outgoing Student Profile


Administrative support:

Secretary of the Physical Chemistry Department

Faculty of Sciences

Pedro Cerbuna, 12. 50009 Zaragoza


Academic Consultations:

Phone: 976761201 - Ext.: 841201



Administrative Consultations:

Phone: 976761203 - Ext.: 841203


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.

Other Specific Program Competences

CE01 - Know the main lines of research in the field of Physical Chemistry and related areas, recognizing their multidisciplinarity.

CE02 - Acquire a systematic, rationalized and updated knowledge of the scientific-technological concepts of Physical Chemistry.

CE03 - Understand the main methodologies applied in the investigation of the chemical-physical characterization of compounds and systems

CE04 - Be able to assess the degree of risk, toxicity and the environmental and legal implications of the chemical products used in the laboratory to manage them safely and responsibly.

CE05 - Manage scientific information search tools, bibliographic collections, specific chemistry databases, patents, etc. with the ability to select the most appropriate information.















General Information

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).

Program Specific Information

Oferta de plazas: 10

Preferred profiles:

Without the need to take complementary courses.

Selection criteria:

1.- Applicant´s academic background

1-factor – Bachelor´s Degree in Chemistry, Official Master´s Degrees which give access to the PhD Programme in Physical Chemistry.

0.9-factor –  Bachelor´s Degree in Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Physics and similar areas considered by the Academic Commission. Official Master´s Degrees considered similar by the Academic Commission to those giving access to the PhD Programme in Physical Chemistry.

0.1 to 0.8-factor – Other Higher Education studies.

2.- Applicant´s academic records:

Undergraduate Degree – Up to 40 points

Master´s Degree – Up to 10 points

3.- Fellowships and/or study grants: up to 8 points

4.- Previous research experience: up to 10 points

5.- Suitability of candidate´s curriculum to the research lines of the receiving research groups: up to 4 points

6.- Previous work experience: up to 20 points

7.- Other research accomplishments: up to 4 points

8.- Other academic accomplishments: up to 4 points


Specific Training Activities

Profile: Chemical Engineering

Complementary courses: Theoretical and Computational Chemistry; Fundamental properties of nanostructured materials; Preparation of nanostructured materials; Characterization I: Physical-chemical techniques; Characterization II: Advanced microscopies; Nanodevice fabrication and applications; Synthesis and processing of nanostructured materials.

Profile: Physics

Complementary courses: Electrochemistry; Renewable resources; Non-conventional solvents and reaction mechanisms; Characterization I: Physical-chemical techniques; Characterization II: Advanced microscopies; Nanodevice fabrication and applications.

Profile: Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Others

Complementary courses: Toolbox of skills for research; Electrochemistry; Theoretical and Computational Chemistry; Renewable resources; Non-conventional solvents and reaction mechanisms; Fundamental properties of nanostructured materials; Preparation of nanostructured materials; Characterization I: Physical-chemical techniques; Characterization II: Advanced microscopies; Nanodevice fabrication and applications; Synthesis and processing of nanostructured materials.















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 and the rules about Thesis (Reglamento sobre Tesis Doctorales de la Universidad de Zaragoza)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 and its procedure (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: Preparation and presentation of the Research Plan. Compulsory

Duration: 1

Control procedures: Evaluation of the Academic Committee. The positive evaluation will be mandatory to continue in the program.


Title: Anual follow-up of research plan. Compulsory

Duration: 1

Control procedures: The Academic Commission will evaluate the presentation, the Research Plan and the document of activities, as well as the reports that for this purpose must be issued by the tutor and the director. The positive evaluation will be an essential requirement to continue in the program.


Title: Seminars. Compulsory

Duration: 12

Control procedures: Proof of attendance signed by the organizer of the activity and presentation to the CAD of a report describing the applicability of the knowledge acquired.


Title: Continuing education courses. Compulsory

Duration: 3

Control procedures: Proof of attendance signed by the organizer of the activity and presentation to the CAD of a report describing the applicability of the knowledge acquired.


Title: Assistance to congresses. Compulsory

Duration: 5

Control procedures: Proof of attendance, presentation of the work and presentation to the CAD of a report that includes the research related to the work of the most relevant doctoral candidate presented at the congress.


Title: Preparation of communications, publications or articles. Compulsory

Duration: 40

Control procedures: Reference of the contribution(s) and report of the thesis director that indicates the contribution of the doctoral student.


Title: Collaboration in divulgative activities. Compulsory

Duration: 5

Control procedures: Verifier signed by the organizer of the activity. Presentation to the CAD of the material used in the collaboration.


Title: Mobility. Optional

Duration: 160

Control procedures: Document signed by the receptor researcher or reception center. Presentation to the CAD of a summary of the work carried out and the achievements.



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

    For the doctoral thesis realization, the University of Zaragoza, the Department of Physical Chemistry and teachers involved in the Doctoral Programme provide the following resources and services.

    The University of Zaragoza is strongly committed with aspects related with opportunities equality. As a result, architectural barriers elimination and subsequent universal accessibility to all university buildings and their surroundings is an issue of priority importance. Both, present and future university infrastructures are regulated by Law 51/2003.

    Among the available resources, the following present remarkable importance:

    Laboratories specialized in the study of fluid thermophysical properties.

    These laboratories are provided with necessary equipment for the determination of a variety of fluid thermophysical properties, in a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Both pure compounds and mixtures can be studied; with the properties under determination being: critical points, isothermal and isobaric liquid-gas equilibrium, densities and sound propagation velocities, as well as mixture enthalpies, calorific capacities, surface tensions, refraction indices, viscosities, conductivities and permittivities.

    Laboratories specialized in surface chemistry.

    Different techniques for the preparation of nanostructured materials through “bottom-up approach” are available: i) Synthesis of ultra-thin films (Langmuir films, Langmuir-Blodgett, Self-Assembly, Spin-coatig, etc.), ii) Film characterisation (quartz microbalances, UV-vis spectroscopy, fluorescence, FTIR, Raman, PM-IRRAS, SERS, XPS, XRR, SEM, TEM, AFM, STM, etc.).

    Laboratories specialized in electrochemistry.

    Available techniques allow the determination of different electrical and electrochemical properties: single molecule conductivity (STM), ultra-thin films conductivity, electrochemical studies (cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical microscopy, etc.). There are also specific equipment for the determination of corrosion velocity in metals and electrosynthesis of organic molecules.

    Laboratories specialized in supercritical fluids.

    Available resources allow the study and optimization of separation (extraction, concentration) of natural resources through supercritical CO2.

    It is also noteworthy the linkage of some program teachers with different university institutes, as IUI de Ingeniería de Aragón (I3A) (, IUI de Biocomputación y Física de Sistemas Complejos (BIFI) ( and IUI en Nanociencia de Aragón (INA) ( Doctoral students will have free access to the modern scientific equipment of these institutes.

    Library and documentation services.

    The University of Zaragoza has a number of libraries with broad schedules and easy access. A range of services are provided by university libraries, as books loan in paper and electronic formats, rooms with computers and for individual and group work.

    The following libraries facilitate the access to documental resources, bibliographic databases and scientific publications related with the doctoral programme:

    -       Faculty of Science Library

    -       Hypatia de Alejandria Library.

    Third Cycle section

    This is the unity that provides technical and administrative support to university community related with doctoral studies.

    Their main services are:

    -       Information and attention to university community, paying special attention to web information.

    -       Support to govern bodies and academic commissions.

    -       Registration and records managements.

    -       Support in the process of verifications and excellence mention.

    -       Support in Erasmus Mundus calls.

    International relations section

    This service promotes doctoral students mobility, welcomes international doctoral students and facilitates their integration in the university. International doctoral students are provided with help and information about the city, available housing, Spanish (and other languages) courses, medical insurance, fellowships, etc.

    Other support sources: mobility centre for students (EURAXESS).

    EURAXESS in Aragón depends on the “Vicerrectorado de Política Científica de la Universidad de Zaragoza” and is part of the European Red EURAXESS, being an important information source that provides personalized assistance to both, foreign researchers that move to Aragón and researchers from Aragón that are interested in going abroad. Provided assistance focuses on visa applications, residence cards, homologation of university degrees, employ offers, Social Security and sanitary attention, schooling and other relevant information for the integration of the researcher in the foreign country.

    Help in the application for external resources and travel bourses for conference assistance and abroad stays that are useful for predoctoral formation:

    These activities will be paid by different public programs. All fellowships are subjected to annual renovation of its respective call.

    1.     Short stays call for FPU/FPI beneficiaries.

    2.     Calls from autonomous communities and other institutions for the realisation of short stays.

    3.     Travel bourses provided by the University of Zaragoza.

    4.     Mobility resources provided by doctoral programmes with “mención hacia la excelencia”.

    The Doctoral program foments the application to these calls, as well as the development of agreements with high education institutions that favour the internationalization of doctoral students.

    Likewise, the Doctoral Program will count with its own funds (research projects and contracts) of the different department research groups.

    Doctoral Program graduates have at their disposal the professional guidance service of the University of Zaragoza (, composed of professional counsellors with expertise in Human Resources. Universa provides personalized information on job search, company selection tests and curriculum development. Training courses on professional competences and mono graphic seminars (international mobility, job search, professional skills development, presentations and reviews, etc.) are organized periodically. These activities are very useful for guiding and facilitating labor insertion of the graduates.