Doctoral Program in Systems and Informatics Engineering 2021–2022


Science and engineering are fundamental pillars on which the development of modern societies is based. In recent decades, fields such as computer science or robotics have experienced substantial advances that have revolutionized areas as diverse as transport, communications, medicine or social networks. Researchers in the field of Systems Engineering and Information Technology contribute to promote the process of research, development and innovation (R+D+i) in the technology sector. They also perform technology transfer tasks that benefit the industry and companies in the area. Thus, the training of researchers in this field is a key element in today's society.

The goal of this PhD Program is the training of doctors who lead the generation of knowledge and its transfer to society through the development of an "original research" during the beginning of its research career with high levels of quality, internationalization, innovation, recognition and mobility. The PhD Program offers research training in the fields of Computer Science and Systems Engineering, which emanates from the research groups, recognized by the Government of Aragón, at the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering of the University of Zaragoza.

The research groups that support the PhD Program collaborate actively with internationally recognized companies and academic institutions, including MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Yale, UC San Diego, U. Pennsylvania, Oxford, Imperial College, ETH Zurich, KTH Stockholm, TU Munich, U. Freiburg, I. Max Planck, U. Roma La Sapienza, U. Sydney, etc. This activity offers PhD students the possibility of integrating themselves into relevant research teams in cutting-edge areas, conducting research stays and developing their PhD thesis in the context of research projects. In the surrounding area there are also important companies such as BSH (Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte), and institutions such as the ITA (Technological Institute of Aragón) or the I3A (Aragón Engineering Research Institute), which demand professionals whose competences coincide with those of a PhD of our program.

The PhD Program in Systems Engineering and Information Technology is taught at the University of Zaragoza since the 1986/87 academic year, serving as the genesis of the current Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering (DIIS). The program was initiated according to the regulation of Real Decreto 185/85 and has been adapted to the following regulations (RD 778/98, RD 56/2005, RD 1393/2007 and RD 99/2011). The PhD Program in Systems Engineering and Information Technology MCD2003-00466 got the Quality Award in the first call in 2003, and since then it has maintained it with renewals in all the calls. This program has also been distinguished with the Mention towards Excellence by the Ministry of Education (Ref. MEE2011-0004).

Outgoing Student Profile


Administrative support:
Secretary of the Department of Computing and Systems Engineering
School of Engineering and Architecture
Campus Río Ebro, C/María de Luna, 1. 50018 Zaragoza

Phone: +34 976 761949

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

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: 30

Admission to the PhD program of Systems Engineering and Computer Science

In order to start PhD studies it is required to be accepted by the Academic Committee of the PhD program. The student is required to apply for admission to the Academic Committee of the program, within the period established annually in the academic calendar. General information on the management of the admission process is available at the following link.

In order to apply to the PhD program in Systems Engineering and Computer Science, the student must submit the following documentation:

  • A letter of motivation that includes the research line of the PhD program in which you intend to work, and the proposed supervisor for the PhD student.
  • Admission application for the PhD program using the official form of the PhD School.
  • Curriculum Vitae of the applicant stating the applicant degree as well as the academic record with the list of subjects studied.
  • When applicable, application for part-time acceptance, properly justified and indicating the type of activity performed simultaneously with the completion of the PhD thesis.

The recommended access to this PhD Program is for students who have completed a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering, Computer Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering. Although the preferred profile is that of Systems Engineering and Computer Science, students coming from other studies may also be accepted, provided that they accredit Master's level education in at least one of the research lines of the PhD Program.

Selection criteria:

If there are more applications than available positions, the weighting of the acceptance criteria will be as follows:
• Adaptation applicant profile to the PhD program 60%
• Academic record 40%

Specific Training Activities

In view of the application for acceptance to the PhD program, the Academic Committee of the program will determine the additional methodological or scientific training required to be admitted to the PhD program, and if necessary, the requirement of meeting additional requirements, including, exceptionally specific tests.

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

Thesis dissertation: pre-admission procedure

In addition to the regulations and general procedures of the University of Zaragoza, the PhD Program in Systems Engineering and Computer Science has a regulation and an additional procedure for pre-admission to the thesis process, which is as follows:

Prior to its submission to the University, the Academic Committee of the PhD program will evaluate the thesis dissertation. The PhD candidate, with the approval of the supervisor, is required to submit the following documentation by e-mail to the Secretariat of the Department (

  • A draft in electronic format sufficiently complete (not necessarily definitive) of the thesis dissertation.
  • In a separate file, a summary of the main contributions of the thesis (about 1,000 words) that includes a list of publications, patents and other merits, indicating their relation with the thesis. Quality indexes of publications must be included.
  • It is necessary to complete the Document of Activities of the Doctorate (DAD), with the activities carried out and update the research plan of the PhD student with the corresponding report of the tutor.
  • In the event that the thesis is in the modality of International Mention, co-supervision with another university or as a compendium of publications, all the additional documentation required in these modalities will be included.
  • PhD evaluation committee proposal form filled.

Once submitted, the summary and contributions of the thesis can be consulted on the internal website of the Department. The rest of the documentation will be in deposit in the Secretary of the Department so that any PhD member of the same can examine it.

This electronic pre-deposit will be announced to the entire Department with at least 5 working days before the meeting of the Academic Committee that evaluates the approval of the thesis dissertation. Any doctor of the department may, through the members of the Academic Committee, provide opinions, recommendations or suggestions regarding the thesis. In any case, this meeting must be held within a maximum period of 10 working days from the deposit.

The Academic Committee may:
• Approve the submission of the thesis, of which the PhD candidate will be informed to continue with the submission procedure.
• Do not approve the submission of the thesis, of which the PhD candidate will be informed in order to proceed, where appropriate, with the necessary changes before starting the procedure again.

As a general criterion, for a thesis to be approved, it must be supported by the publication of a substantial part of its results in journals or international conferences with peer review processes, or by expert reports on the thesis itself.

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

Seminars Calendar

  • DIIS news (research Seminars)
  • It is mandatory  to fill each activity in your DAD, attaching a document that justifies the activity.

Evaluation and dissemination of research

Mandatory 10 hours, for the total duration of the PhD

Research  papers review

4 hours per reviewed paper

Endorsement signed by the thesis director or any other means that reliably proves it
Conference/Workshop paper presentation
Max 4 hours
Certificate issued by the Organization or any other means that reliably proves it
Conference/Workshop poster presentation
Max 1 hour
Certificate issued by the Organization or any other means that reliably proves it
Other activities
Consult with the Doctoral Program Coordinator

Article accepted in Journal/Conference/Workshop
Hours are not counted


Traininig for research

32 mandatory hours, for the total duration of the PhD (A minimum of 3 different activities is established. The goal is not to concentrate all the hours on a single activity. An activity made up of several related and consecutive talks, courses and workshops over time, such as summer schools and conference cycles, is considered as a single activity..) 

DIIS seminars (properly publicized)
Duration of it
Original summary, written by the student (minimum half page)
DIIS PhD Thesis (properly publicised)
Max 1 hour
Original summary, written by the student (minimum half page)
Conference/Workshop Assistance
Max 6 hours per day
Certificate of attendance issued by the Organization
Summer Schools (research only)

Duration of it. Maximum of 10 hours per School.

Certificate of attendance issued by the Organization (or Certificate of Qualification)
Doctorate School Courses (research only)
Check with the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program before doing it, since many of them do not count for the program. Innovation talks are not counted. (Activities link).

Other research activitiesConsult with the Doctoral Program Coordinator.

If a course is made up of several independent talks or research seminars separated in time, each talk or seminar will be treated as an independent activity, which must be justified by means of an original summary, written by the student, of at least half a page.

The number of hours counted for a specific activity may be partial, and not total, with respect to the number of hours of the specific activity, depending on its relationship with the research concept. Consult, in case of doubt, with the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program before carrying out the activity.

It is recalled that the activities to be accounted for must be related and valued from the point of view of research. Therefore, innovation activities are not counted.

Internacional Mention

Mobility is mandatory to obtain the international mention, and highly recommended, in any case.

Duration: 3 months to obtain international mention.

GoalStay in prestigious external centers to carry out some research activity directly related to the thesis or any other topic of interest for the doctoral student's training.

Sequencing: It is recommended to do it during the second or third year of development of the thesis. 

Request: The stay must be authorized before its completion by the Academic Committee (Research stay form)

Justification: Report of the activity in the DAD.

The following section mentions the aids and procedures.


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

    To provide service to the PhD Program in Systems Engineering and Computer Science, the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering has a set of resources that are part of the School of Engineering and Architecture (EINA), the center where the program is taught. Likewise, most of the department's research groups that support the research lines of the PhD program are part of the Institute of Research and Engineering of Aragón (I3A). The I3A has its facilities in the I+D+i building of the Río Ebro Campus which are also available to the PhD Program.

    • Classrooms and seminars: Classrooms equipped with blackboard and projection equipment. Computer classrooms also have computer stations for students.
    • Teaching and research laboratories: The Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering (DIIS) has 7 teaching laboratories that occupy an area of ​​600 m2 in the Ada Byron building. As for research laboratories, the DIIS has 10 research laboratories managed by the department's research groups, which occupy an area of ​​550 m2. These laboratories have specific equipment for the different research lines. Additionally, through the I3A, the research groups that participate in the PhD program also have 4 research laboratories that occupy an area of ​​340 m2 in the R+D+i building.