The Pathway to Excellence award for a university doctoral program (in Catalan, the menció cap a l’excel·lència) is issued after an assessment made by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) and is awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Education. The award constitutes official recognition of the scientific, technical and educational quality of a doctoral program offered by Spanish universities and it is designed to formally establish the position of quality doctoral programs in the international arena.
Pathway awards may be issued to programs at the end of an external evaluation process that examines different aspects and features, including the research careers of the program's thesis supervisors, the results given by theses submitted, the level of student mobility existing in the program and the degree to which other institutions and organizations participate in the program. In the last official evaluation and focusing on a series of indicators associated with scientific quality, a total of thirty-seven UB doctoral programs met the conditions required at the stage just before the final process of selection, assessed within the five study areas Arts and humanities, Sciences, Health sciences, Social and legal sciences, and Engineering and architecture.
For the academic year 2011-2012, thirty-one UB doctoral programs received Pathway to Excellence awards, which will be valid until the academic year 2013-2014. These figures illustrate the University of Barcelona’s position as one of the most distinguished universities in terms of doctoral excellence.