Doctoral Program in Sociology of Public and Social Policies 2023–2024


The Doctoral Program in Sociology of Public and Social Policies (SPPS) seeks to encourage critical reflection and academic research on the construction of a better society and a better democracy in which public space is seen as a non-transferable responsibility of citizens.

This program is linked to the Master in Sociology of Public and Social Policies and is the result of the collaboration among the departments of Psychology and Sociology, Economic Analysis, Accounting and Finance, Criminal Law, Public Economics and Business Organization.

Program Objectives

The program activities, research groups and teachers involved intend to help students develop their research work and complete their thesis in the following fields:

Democracy: public and social policies

Design, management and evaluation of public and social policies

Outgoing Student Profile

Expected learning outcomes are as follows:

- Advanced knowledge and a deep, detailed and grounded understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects, and of the scientific methodology of the field of public and social policies.

- Contribute in an original and significant way to scientific research in the field of public and social policies,

- Ability to design a research project in the field of public and social policies.

- Autonomy to initiate, manage and lead innovative research projects and scientific collaborations, national or international, within their thematic scope, in multidisciplinary contexts.

- Capacity to develop their research activity with social responsibility and scientific integrity

- Participate in scientific discussions in their field of knowledge and disseminate the results of their research activity.


Administrative support:

Ana Machín Andreu


Phone: (+34) 976 762936 

Academic support: 

Pablo García Ruiz


Phone: (+34) 976 761999

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

At the completion of the Program student should

- Be able to analyze the different dimensions of public and social policies from a multidisciplinary and systemic perspective, both in theoretical and applied levels

- Be able to design responses and models to manage emerging challenges in the public space, in a plural and complex society, through public and social policies

- Be able to assess the praxis of public and social policies from a multidisciplinary and systemic perspective

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: 20

To apply for admission to the SPPS Program, candidates must submit, along with the application, a complete Curriculum Vitae and a brief statement (maximum of one page) in which he / she details the reasons why he / she wishes to join the program, their expectations regarding the same, the research field of interest and the subject that they want to deal with in the doctoral thesis, for which it is recommended to have the endorsement of a professor of the program.

Candidates who request to study the part-time program must add to the above a report in which they give an account of the reasons that lead them or force them to opt for this modality.

The Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program will evaluate and prioritize applications according to the following criteria:

  • Academic training: up to 30 points out of 100. The possession of the Master's degree in Sociology of Public and Social Policies (or equivalent) will count as 30 points out of 100. Possession of a Master's degree (or equivalent) in Sociology will be valued between 20 and 30 points out of 100. The possession of a Master's degree (or equivalent) in other areas of the social sciences may be valued between 10 and 20 points.
  • Academic record of the Master's studies: up to 30 points out of 100.
  • Research experience and scientific publications: up to 15 points out of 100.
  • Level of English and / or French, Italian or German: up to 10 points out of 100.
  • Academic stays in international venues: up to 5 points out of 100.
  • Other merits (professional experience, scholarships, grants and awards received): up to 10 points out of 100.

In the case of foreign students whose native language is not Spanish, it may be required to accredit knowledge of spoken and written Spanish comparable to the intermediate level of the Instituto Cervantes DELE.

Admission systems and procedures adapted to students with special educational needs derived from disability

Admission systems and procedures include adequate support and counseling services, which will assess the need for possible curricular adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies in accordance with the provisions of RD 99/2011)

Specific Training Activities

The Academic Committee may ask from candidates to take, in addition to the specific training of the doctoral program, training complements among the subjects of the Master's Degree in Sociology of Public and Social Policies or other pertinent courses up to 30 ECTS.

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).

Other Specific Program Procedures

Requirements for the deposit of the doctoral thesis

Before requesting the deposit of the thesis, it is necessary to have approved the research plan for the current year, having uploaded the plan and obtained positive report of the director of the thesis onto the Sigma management platform.

A) Comply with the general requirements of the School of Doctorate

B) Comply with the specific requirements of the SPPS Program

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

The planned and suggested activities for the 2019-20 course are as follows. To register just contact the person responsible for the activity. The specific training activities of the SPPS program are also open to students of other programs.

Mandatory activities

1st year students:

Presentation of thesis project and research plan,

May 26, 2020, at 9.00 in the SM-2 Seminar of the Faculty of Economics (Campus Paraíso).

Coordinator Mª José Bernuz:

Optional activities

- Research seminar "Brown Bag Seminars", Location: Magna Meeting Room. Faculty of Economics and Business. Each seminar is announced a few days earlier via Moodle. Contact: Lidia Lobán (

- I Doctoral Poster Workshop 2019-20. Poster delivery deadline: October 21, 2019. Exhibition: December 2019. January 2020. Faculty of Economics and Business. Contact: Pablo García Ruiz (

- Seminar: "Introduction to work with data", (I) December 13, 2019, 16: 00-21: 00, (Seminar M2, Fac Economics). Organized by María José Bernuz ( and Andrés García Inda (

Other optional activities will be announced on this site and via Moodle, well in advance. Last year, activities such as the following were carried out:

- Seminar: "Introduction to work with data", (II) March 1, 2019, 16: 00-21: 00, (M2 Seminar, Fac Economics). Organized by Marta Gil Lacruz (

- Seminar: "How to do an academic job." Taught by: Andrés García Inda, 8 March 2019, (16.00-21.00), shared with SPPS Master, M2 Seminar, Faculty of Economics.

- VII Workshop of Young Researchers. September 4 to 6, 2019, at the Faculty of Business and Public Management of Huesca.

- Lecture Prof. Raina Koskinen, University of Helsinki: Research in public policies: an applied perspective. Location: Faculty of Social and Labor Sciences. Date: May 21, 2019. Time: 19.00. Organized by: Chaime Marcuello (


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.

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

Students have access to the learning resources of the University of Zaragoza and of the various departments, institutes, and research groups participating in the Program.

The University of Zaragoza has been sensitive to aspects related to equal opportunities, taking as a priority objective to make university buildings and their environment accessible by eliminating architectural barriers. It should be noted that present and future university infrastructures have among their design standards the considerations prescribed by Law 51/2003.

Library and Documentation Service

The University has several libraries with ample schedules and easy access. Libraries offer a wide range of services, access to collections in paper and electronic format, and spaces for individual and group work. In particular, the following libraries will facilitate access to documentary funds, bibliographic databases and scientific publications, related to the doctoral program.

Library of the Faculty of Economics and Business, in its Paraíso and Río Ebro campuses

Library of the Faculty of Social and Labor Sciences

International Relations Section

The International Relations Service informs and supports the university community about the different international cooperation programs in the field of higher education. It also coordinates the implementation and development of international training activities in which the university participates, and manages mobility programs for students and teachers.

In addition, it welcomes international PhD students and facilitates their integration into the University, offering support and information about the city, accommodation, Spanish and other language courses, medical assistance, grants and scholarships, etc.

The University of Zaragoza is part of the European Network EURAXESS of Aragon, an information point that provides personalized assistance to foreign researchers who travel to Aragon to carry out their research work, as well as to Aragonese researchers who are interested in moving abroad temporarily . This support is about issues 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 displacement and integration of the researcher in the country of destination.

Scholarships and Grants

The updated information on scholarships, financial aid and awards is available on the website of the Doctoral School.

Career Guidance Service

Graduates from the program have at their disposal Universa, the career guidance service of the University of Zaragoza, composed of professional counselors expert in Human Resources development. Universa provides personalized information on job search, company selection tests and curriculum development and cover letters. Training sessions on professional competencies and monographic orientation seminars are organized periodically (international mobility, job search, development of professional skills, effective presentations and interviews, etc.) that help guide and facilitate the labor insertion of graduates.