Doctoral Program in Psychology 2023–2024


Psychology is a discipline with a solid presence in university-level teaching and investigation. Scientific advances in the area have acquired increasing importance on a national and international level in recent years: Psychology serves as a basis for the prediction and explanation of individual behavior. These advances have taken place in basic psychological research into cognitive and neurophysiological processes as well as in applied research in areas associated with health, employment, education, and other social contexts.

The offer of a doctoral program in Psychology is justified by the need to train competent researchers capable of responding to the growing demand for specialists in the different areas of psychology: graduates who can provide knowledge based on scientific evidence and who have the research capacity to solve current problems.

Although the University of Zaragoza Doctoral Program in Psychology has emerged as a new training opportunity, it builds on previous work carried out by Psychology professors in the Bachelor and Master’s programs in the Department of Psychology and Sociology, in doctoral programs in which they have been involved, and in research carried out by research groups officially approved by the Government of Aragon and which have now been incorporated into this new Program. These teaching and research activities carried out at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences at the Teruel Campus and at other centers of the University of Zaragoza have achieved positive results in terms of number of students, number of defended theses, competitive projects, and journal publications.

The Doctoral Program in Psychology is a diploma conferred by the Doctoral School of the University of Zaragoza. Its faculty professors are specialized in the following areas of knowledge:

§  Methodology of the behavioral sciences

§  Personality, evaluation, and psychological treatment

§  Psychobiology

§  Basic psychology

§  Developmental and Educational psychology

§  Social psychology.

This doctoral program completes the training path in Psychology offered by the University of Zaragoza, starting with the Grado (Bachelor’s Degree) in Psychology and continuing with the Master’s Degree in General Sanitary Psychology. 

Program Objectives

The main objective of the University of Zaragoza Doctoral Program in Psychology is to train professionals qualified to play leading roles in the production and acquisition of knowledge in the area of Psychology and its practical applications to society, by carrying out original research at the onset of their research careers on a high level of quality and innovation, achieving international recognition, and demanding a high degree of mobility. The program specifically aims to:

§  train and orient doctoral students in the activity of research, ensuring that they acquire the technical skills, intellectual abilities, and theoretical competences required to present a doctoral thesis

§  teach and inform doctoral students about the latest procedures and results in psychological research

§  incorporate doctoral students into workgroups and academic networks specifically related with their research topic. 

Outgoing Student Profile

The Doctorate in Psychology will qualify its holder to carry out scientific, professional, specialized research in the following areas established by the Official Colleges of Psychology in Spain: Psychology of Physical Activity and Sports; Clinical and Health Psychology; Psychology of Drug Addiction; Psychology of Education; Psychology of Social Work Practice; Legal Psychology; Psychology of Work and Organizations; Psychology of Traffic and Security, and others. Graduates of the Doctoral Program will be qualified to teach and research in public and private universities. 


Administrative support:

Negociado Programas Escuela de Doctorado

Plaza San Francisco s/n (Edificio Antiguo Rectorado 2ª planta)

50009 Zaragoza

Academic queries:

Teresa I. Jiménez Gutiérrez

Telephone: +34 978645327-extension: 861327


Administrative inquiries:

Ana Machín Andreu

Telephone: +34 976762936- extension: 842936


Adaptation to students with specific needs due to disability

To provide alternatives to students with special education needs due to disability, the Academic Committee shall evaluate the eventual need to adapt curricula, schedules, or study offers by foreseeing the implementation of appropriate support and counseling services.

The evaluation and implementation of necessary measures and adjustments shall follow the procedure established by the University of Zaragoza Occupational Risk Prevention Unit (Unidad de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales). Moreover, the university administration is authorized to gather reports and, when necessary, to collaborate with the technical departments of local work and health administration entities, as well as with the qualified departments of the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs of the Autonomous Community of Aragón.

Additionally, the University of Zaragoza has a University Office for Attention to Disabilities (Oficina Universitaria de Atención a la Discapacidad: OUAD, the main goal of which is to guarantee equal opportunity and full integration of disabled university students into academic life, apart from promoting awareness and sensibility for these issues in all members of the academic community.

Students with special needs due to disability shall present their application for admission as stipulated above, or they can send their application to the Doctoral Program Coordinator via e-mail. The above-indicated organisms shall determine specific admission paths for students with special needs deriving from their disability.

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

No further additional competences are foreseen. 

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

Applicant profile

To request admission to the Doctoral Program in Psychology, the ideal profile is that of an applicant who has previously concluded a Master’s Degree in the area of Psychology, preferably specialized in research. Access shall also be granted to students whose diploma is associated with other subjects in the areas of social sciences and health, provided that they fulfil all necessary requirements for admission, as ascertained by the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program.

In any case, in order to pursue studies in the Doctoral Program in Psychology, the students shall be required to possess:

a) specific scientific knowledge in the area of Psychology

b) the technical, instrumental, and methodological skills associated with social sciences and health, particularly with Psychology

c) a level of fluency in English equivalent to Level B1 (CEFR).


Selection criteria

All applicants should display a clear interest in carrying out their psychology doctorate in a field of knowledge akin to the lines and research groups of this Program. The Academic Committee shall study each application individually, thereby allowing in exceptional cases for the admission of students with other profiles when considered justified.

When the applicant has been previously involved in scientific activity, that experience shall be evaluated accordingly, along with the applicant’s motivation in developing work dynamics that lead to the effective conclusion of a doctoral thesis. Applicants shall detail their previous academic experience and their research interests by presenting the following documents to the Academic Committee for examination:

(a) A presentation letter of no more than 1,000 words, containing:

- the specific motivations that lead the candidate to apply to the Program

- a description of the candidate’s research interests.

(b) A curriculum vitae that includes the following information:

- complete residence address, contact telephone, and e-mail address

- the Master’s or postgraduate programs and courses already concluded by the applicant, related with the research interests expressed in the presentation letter;

- the candidate’s previous scientific production (when applicable)

(c) the candidate’s academic transcripts of record at the Master’s and Postgraduate level

(d) complete names, institutional affiliation, postal and electronic addresses of all reference providers

(e) national identity card or passport

(f) proof with corresponding documentation if the candidate mentions other points of merit.

In case of doubt regarding a student’s adequacy for the Doctoral Program, a personal interview may be carried out with one of the professors who form part of the Program’s Academic Committee.

If the demand for study vacancies exceeds the offer, the Academic Committee shall establish an order of precedence for applicants by evaluating their CV and their motivation to study in the Program according to the following weighting criteria:

1. Academic record in Grado (Bachelor’s) and Master’s studies (60 points).

2. Research experience: CV (including scholarships, papers presented at conferences, publications, and research papers) (30 points).

2.1. Scholarships (up to 10 points):

- Competitive pre-doctoral scholarship (FPU/FPI): 10 points.

- Other scholarships: maximum 5 points.

2.2. Publications (up to 10 points)

- Publications in JCR journals: 4 points per publication.

- Non-JCR publications: 2 points per publication.

2.3. Papers presented at conferences (up to 5 points)

- Papers at national conferences: 2 points.

- Papers at international conferences: 3 points.

2.4. Theses (Bachelor’s or Masters) (up to 5 points)

3. Other merits (mastery of the English language, motivation to be admitted in the Program) (10 points).

Each subsection thereof shall have a maximum of 5 points. Thus:

- Mastery of English: B1 = 2 points; B2 = 3 points; C1 = 4 points; C2 = 5 points

- In the Motivation subsection, the Academic Committee shall evaluate and grant up to 5 points for the applicant’s exposition of his/her motivation to enter the Doctorate Program.

In order to be admitted to the Program, the applicant shall be required to surpass a minimum of 30 points.

The Academic Committee reserves the right to consider an applicant inadequate on the basis of research theme, interests, research career or justifications expressed in the motivation letter.

Specific Training Activities

The ideal applicant profile is that of the holder of an official Master’s Degree in research in Psychology or in General Health Psychology. Such a profile does not require additional course attendance or training.

Applicants with profiles that vary from the optimum (see above) shall be required to attend complementary training courses as stipulated by the Doctoral Program Academic Committee. These will consist in a training period of up to 12 credits in psychology-related subjects and in research methodology in Psychology, via courses pertaining to the University of Zaragoza Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or the Master’s Degree in General Health Psychology, or, as the case may be, pertaining to other equivalent subjects offered by the University of Zaragoza. Proposals suggested by the student and/or thesis director may also be taken into account.

Generally speaking, those applicants with profiles that depart from the ideal (see above) shall be required to pass the following courses:

- Applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and an official Master’s Degree in the area of Psychology shall be required to attend complementary courses in research methodology.

- Applicants with a Bachelor’s (Grado) in another specialty and with an official Master’s in Psychological Research shall be required to attend and pass complementary courses in subjects pertaining to the discipline of Psychology.

- Applicants with other profiles shall be required to attend and pass complementary courses proposed by the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program on the basis of the applicant’s academic record. 

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

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

General training plan:

Full-time students shall be required to complete between a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 40 hours of training activities. These activities can be transversal and/or specific, and are to be chosen from the list of activities on this page.

Part-time students shall be required to complete between a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 30 hours of training activities. They can be transversal and/or specific, and are to be chosen from the list of activities on this page.

Training activities:

Activity No. 1
Attendance of courses, seminars, and research conferences offered by the University of Zaragoza Doctoral School 
Students enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Psychology can attend transversal and interdisciplinary training activities organized by the Doctoral School of the University of Zaragoza. This offer is subject to change and covers the following training aspects: oral and written communication; access to information; information management; abilities qualifying the candidate for future professional work in the social area. The Doctoral School’s web page provides a list of accessible activities, schedules, number of credits, along with modalities of application for admission and enrolment. These activities are accessible to all doctoral programs at the University. 
Spanish and English
Academic scheduling recommendation
This activity should mainly be carried out during the first and second year of doctoral studies. 
Control procedure
The Doctoral School certifies whether the student has passed the different modules, which remain registered in the “Actividades del Doctorando” document (DAD). The modules shall be evaluated: (1) on the basis of attendance and (2) on the basis of a report elaborated by the student on the content featured in the course, and presented to the professors of the Doctoral Program for evaluation. 

Activity No. 2
Attendance of courses and seminars pertaining to the Doctoral  Program in Psychology

On a rotational basis, the Doctoral Program in Psychology will annually offer a series of 5-hour courses and seminars related to the Doctoral Program’s lines of investigation, as well as seminars on transversal subject matter that can be useful for doctoral students regardless of their specialty.

The course subjects shall include:

- Specialized databases: PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PSYKE, Psicodoc, Medline, and Pubmed.

- Innovation in psychological research and transfer of research results.

- Scholarships and other modes of financial research support

- Gender perspectives in research.
Associated competences
See Verification Memory in
Spanish and English
Academic scheduling recommendation
This activity should be mainly carried out during the first and second year of doctoral studies.
Control procedure
The Doctoral School will verify seminar attendance, which will be certified and will remain registered in the “Actividades del Doctorando” document (DAD). The modules shall be evaluated: (1) on the basis of attendance and (2) on the basis of a report elaborated by the student on the content featured in the course, and presented to the professors of the Doctoral Program for evaluation.

Activity No.  3
Communication of research results at conferences, in workshops, and in academic publications
The Doctoral Program will encourage its students to attend conferences and meetings in their area of interest, and to present their research results at national and international conferences. Conference attendance will be planned in collaboration with tutors and thesis directors, who will select the national and/or international conferences most suitable for the student’s research topic. It is obligatory for all doctoral students to present results related with their research at two national or international conferences, orally or in writing. 
Associated competences
See Verification Memory in
Spanish and English
Academic scheduling
This activity should mainly be carried out from the second doctoral year onward. 
Control procedure
The Doctoral Program shall annually evaluate students’ participation in conferences. They shall be required to present a certificate accrediting their oral or poster presentation, as well as conference attendance. This information shall be evaluated in the doctoral student’s annual follow-up. 

Activity No. 4
Research stays

The number of hours can be differentiated as follows: 

One-week stays: 50 hours; 2-week stays: 100 hours; one-month stays: 200 hours.

The indicated number of hours refers to the amount of time considered necessary for the students to devote themselves to training activities: learning new techniques, attending courses and seminars. The Doctoral Program views stays in other research centers as an essential part of doctoral studies. Stays shall take place in research centers of national and/or international prestige to carry out a research activity directly related with the student’s doctoral thesis, or any other subject of interest for his/her training. The Doctoral Program will support stays that allow the student to opt for an international mention on his/her doctorate, while likewise encouraging student mobility and taking advantage of Zaragoza University professors’ network of multiple international contacts.

This activity applies particularly to full-time students, although it is not obligatory. 

Associated competences

See Verification Memory in

Spanish and English
Academic scheduling recommendation
Full-time students should carry out this activity in the second and/or third doctoral year; part-time students should carry it out in the third and/or fourth year of doctoral studies. 
Control procedure

After the stay, the student is required to write a report of the activities carried out therein.

The Doctoral Program evaluates this information in the student’s annual follow-up, taking into account the duration of the stay and the written report on activities carried out therein.
This activity requires student mobility, which needs to be financed. The Doctoral Program shall encourage students to request adequate financial support by making use of Education Ministry notifications for FPI and FPU scholarship holders (Formación de Personal Investigador and Formación de Profesorado Universitario), or programs and offers provided by the Government of Aragon as well as by the University of Zaragoza. You can find further information regarding financial support for stays by visiting the EDUZ webpage:

Activity No. 5
Publication of scientific articles 

Students will be required to submit their research results to peer review.

In this Doctoral Program full-time students are expected to write at least one scientific article from the second doctoral year onward, to be published in a JCR journal. Full-time students are expected to start submitting their manuscripts to revision and publishing them from the third year of doctoral studies.

This activity forms an integral part of a researcher’s tasks, and shall be directly supervised by the doctoral thesis director. In order to submit their thesis, doctoral candidates in this Program are required to have at least one article accepted in a relevant specialized JCR journal.

By the time they finish their doctoral thesis, doctoral students are expected to have published at least two articles on the international level in JCR journals. 
Associated competences
See Verification Memory in
Spanish and English
Academic scheduling recommendation
Full-time students: from 2nd year on; parti-time students: from 3rd year on. 
Control procedure
The Doctoral Program evaluates this aspect in the student’s annual follow-up, taking into account the article’s impact factor, and the student name’s position in the listing of article authors.


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

  • Basic psychology and neuropsychology
  • Applied psychology in health, clinical, educational and social fields

Research Teams

Psicología básica y Neuropsicología

Psicología aplicada en ámbitos de salud, clínico, educativo y social

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.

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

The University of Zaragoza, the Department of Psychology and Sociology, the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (Teruel campus), and the research groups and the professors of the Doctorate Program all work together to provide the best resources and services to help the doctoral student correctly elaborate his/her doctoral thesis.

Faculty of Social and Human Sciences particularly holds a considerable number of services and material resources at the disposal of the Doctoral Program to ensure that the doctoral student can elaborate his/her thesis with a maximum guarantee of quality.

In the following link you can consult a list of services and infrastructures available at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences: The main available resources are the following:

  • Classrooms and seminar rooms: the Faculty houses a sufficient number of classrooms and seminar rooms of all sizes, as well as auditoriums and IT rooms. Further conference rooms and auditoriums for thesis defense are available in the Vice-Rectory building and in the Colegio Mayor Pablo Serrano.
  • Psychology laboratories. The Faculty has specialized laboratories for different research tasks in the area of Psychology: the Observation Laboratory featuring a recording system and unidirectional mirrors, and the Psychobiology Laboratory with three isolated experiment cabinets.
  • Equipment: our installations feature the necessary technology, including IT systems, projectors, audio, video, and videoconferencing.
  • Library, Documentation and Test Archive (Docimoteca): The University of Zaragoza libraries provide easy access and long opening hours. They offer a wide range of services including book lending, access to collections in paper and electronic format, rooms with computers, rooms for individual study, and rooms for collaborative projects. The Teruel Campus Library offers students access to documentation collections, bibliographical databases, and scientific journals related to the Doctoral Program in Psychology. It also houses a Docimoteca (psychological test library), where professors and students can borrow from a large collection of psychological tests.