Director: Lidia Puigvert
Duration: 3 years full-time | 5 years part-time
Fee level (one academic year): 540.92
Applications: from April 15th to December 20th 2021


The University of Barcelona doctoral programme in Sociology has the fundamental objective of offering quality training in sociological research oriented to the analysis of society —in all its structural, cultural and relational components— as well as of social change and transformation. This programme is aimed at students who wish to start a career as researchers and teaching staff in universities or research centres.

Throughout the programme, doctoral students take part in several complementary activities, such as the doctoral seminar or the annual research conference “Sociology in process”. In addition, PhD candidates are also encouraged to publish their research in specialized journals, to attend national and international sociology conferences and to make temporary stays at other universities or research centres.

Programme content

The doctoral programme in Sociologytrains high-performance researchers in several areas of sociology and social sciences. Completing the doctoral thesis is the main activity of the doctoral student and it consists of an original work of research prepared by the candidate in a specific area of specialization. Each student has at least one thesis supervisor who guides and supports their work.

The doctoral programmes takes three years working full-time or five years working part-time. Below, there is a sample calendar for the research period:

First year

A research plan is presented, written in any of the languages of the programme, including the provisional title, the objectives, the methodology and the resources and time planning (deadline for submission: 30 April). The research plan is evaluated by a Monitoring Committee created for that purpose and consisting of three specialists in the area under study. If the assessment is favourable, the Academic Committee of the programme must accept the application of the research plan before the end of the academic year. The approval of the research plan is an essential requirement to continue within the doctoral programme.

Second year onwards

Doctoral students can take two years (or four, if working part-time) to complete the planned research and write their doctoral thesis. At the end of each academic year, the Monitoring Committee assesses the progress achieved in relation to the research plan on the basis of a report on activities carried out (deadline for submission of the annual report: 15 May). On the last year, students deposit, read and defend their doctoral thesis in front of a thesis panel. This is the last stage to be awarded the doctoral degree. In addition to the doctoral thesis, the study period includes complementary training activities, which are not compulsory but highly recommended.

  • Doctoral seminar: The programme offers a bimonthly seminar with the aim of supporting the research process and providing tools for the development of the academic career. Each session consists of a dialogue based on the career of a guest senior researcher and a presentation of the work-in-progress of one of the doctoral students of the programme.
  • Research conference “Sociology in Process”: These are annual conferences where doctoral students present their research and its progress to their colleagues and classmates and to the teaching staff. This activity promotes dialogue and group work, and the presentation of communications and papers in conferences is encouraged.
  • Training through talks and seminars organized in collaboration with the Master’s Degree in Sociology, by the Catalan Association of Sociology or by the department’s research groups.
  • Assistance to and participation in national and international conferences in sociology.

Research stays

The Academic Committee encourages students to undertake temporary stays at other universities or research centres throughout the programme. Doctors and students of the Doctoral Programme in Sociology have carried out research stays at universities such as Harvard University (USA), University of California Berkeley (USA), Stanford University (USA), MIT (USA), Columbia University (USA), Cambridge University (UK), University of Leeds (UK), Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), University of Montreal (Canada), or Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), among others.

Who should apply?

The programme is aimed at students who wish to start a research career in the field of sociology. Therefore, it is essential that candidates have sufficient training to complete a doctoral thesis. The Academic Committee will particularly value previous knowledge on topics included in the research lines of the doctoral programme.

In order to access any University of Barcelona doctoral programme, it is necessary to have completed at least 300 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System) in overall undergraduate and master’s degree studies, of which a minimum of 60 credits must correspond to an official research-oriented master’s programme.

Specific requirements

  • Candidates with a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Barcelona: Academic record for the master’s degree, with an average grade of merit (notable) or higher, and the same minimum grade for the research assignment.
  • Other applicants: The Academic Committee may accept candidates with other university master’s degrees if it considers that the syllabus covers similar material. Additionally, candidates must have achieved good grade point averages for both their bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
  • All candidates:
    • Certification of a sufficient level of English language proficiency to understand academic texts (candidates not in possession of an official certificate can demonstrate their language skills in a personal interview with a representative designated by the Academic Committee).

Final decisions on admission are taken by the Academic Committee, which assesses each application on the basis of the criteria established for the doctoral programme.

Criteria for admission

  • Academic record (40%).
  • Curriculum vitae (25%).
  • Statement of interest indicating the candidates’ reasons for applying to the programme, their preferred research areas and their objectives. The statement should be approximately 5 pages long (15%).
  • A sample of a previous research assignment (for example, a master’s degree project) (15%).
  • Two letters of reference from lecturers or researchers (5%).

Student profile

Early-stage researchers, who want to start a research career in academia or in the professional field by furthering their understanding of sociological analysis of different problems and social realities. In this sense, the programme welcomes doctoral students with a broad educational background in the field of social sciences (e.g., in economics, anthropology, education, political science, social work) and a strong orientation towards sociological research.

Students come from universities all over the world. On average, 30% of students are nationals from other countries. In addition, among the programme’s students, there are holders of predoctoral contracts awarded by Spain, the autonomous communities or the university itself, as well as holders of research scholarships from foreign countries and of contracts through European research projects such as ERC and H2020.

Career opportunities

The doctoral programme in Sociology at the University of Barcelonais specifically aimed at students who want to start an international career in research. After successful completion of the programme, new doctors will be able to work as researchers or teachers in universities or research centres.

Doctors of the doctoral programme in Sociology have been accepted in post-doc or associate professorship positions in universities such as the University of Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, University of Deusto or National University of Tres de Febrero, among others. In the public sector, they have joined institutions such as the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (Buenos Aires).

Statistics show that doctoral studies currently facilitate the career opportunities of university graduates. Doctors can also aspire to a higher wage level. According to data from the Agency for the Quality of the University System of Catalonia (AQU), 95.4% of doctors in social sciences have joined the labour market within a maximum period of three years, after completing their thesis, and their unemployment rate is only 3.3%.

Fees and funding


According to the fees for the academic year 2021-2022, the cost of enrolment in the doctoral programme in Sociology is €540.92 a year. Students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree in a foreign university must pay an additional €218.15. Also, the fee for the thesis defence is €156.85.

The Catalan government sets the fees for higher education annually for all of Catalonia’s public universities, including the University of Barcelona. Candidates must take into account that fees may change over the period of their studies when they submit their application for the doctoral programme.


Information on funding and grants is available at the following link to the webpage of the University of Barcelona. In addition, the UB School of Sociology provides students with information on new opportunities as and when calls are announced.


Full scholarships are awarded competitively and require the submission of a separate application. They are offered by public or private institutions and have different starting dates and deadlines. Scholarships characteristics may vary in terms of duration (three or four years), total amount of the grant, extra funding for mobility stays and training activities, and specific requirements (i.e. graduation dates). In most cases, tuition fees are covered.

Your chances of being awarded one of the scholarships depend greatly on your track record, thus having high grades in your bachelor’s and master’s degrees is crucial. You are also encouraged to apply for external support for which you may be eligible.

Our admissions team works closely with all admitted students who need financial assistance, supporting them to evaluate their options and eligibility, and helping them with the scholarship applications.


Mobility grants

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To request admission to the doctoral programme in Sociology, students should follow these steps. Please read this information and follow the instructions carefully.


Confirm that you meet the access and admission requirements to the doctoral programme in Sociology.


Make sure that the period to apply for admission is open for the academic year in which you look forward to start the programme. The application periods for the academic year 2021-2022 are:

  • First period | From April 15th to June 15th, 2021. Resolutions on July 3rd, 2021.
  • Second period | From September 1st to 13th, 2021. Resolutions on September 30th, 2021.
  • Third period | From November 23rd to December 20th, 2021. Resolutions on January 15th, 2022.

Please be aware that all enrolment periods correspond to the academic year 2021-2022. In all cases, you will need to submit your Research Plan (thesis project) to the Academic Committee by April 30th, 2022.


Please fill in the Doctoral School online application form ( and attach the following documents:

  • Copy of the title for both your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, giving access to the programme.
  • Academic record for both your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
  • Copy of DNI or passport.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Statement of interest indicating your reasons for applying to the programme, your preferred research areas and your objectives (2-3 pages long).
  • A sample of a previous research assignment (for example, a master’s degree project).
  • Two letters of reference.
  • Certification of knowledge of English.
  • Acceptance by a potential advisor from the PhD in Sociology programme.


Once the application for admission is completed and sent, the Admission Committee will assess the request. Resolutions of admission will be communicated to candidates by email. Please note that the number of available slots per academic year is limited.

During the admission procedure, the Academic Committee of the doctorate in Sociology will assign a line of research and a thesis supervisor, following the student’s proposal. For this reason, when applying for admission to the doctoral programme, a document of commitment, previously signed by the thesis supervisor and the student, will also be submitted.

In cases of a positive academic resolution of admission, students must send the following documents in order to formalise the administrative validation procedure and the corresponding enrolment fees for the programme.