Doctorate Program in Philosophy: Humanism and Transcendence

Submission of applications:
Start: May 17, 2021
End: September 30, 2021.

3/5 years (Full-time/Part-time study)

Universidad Pontificia Comillas 3-5, Madrid

Open Days


Information session



Doctorate program designed in accordance with Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28, which regulates official doctorate programs.

It is a joint inter-university degree, established within the current Framework Agreement between the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid and the Faculty of Philosophy at Ramón Llull University in Barcelona. Both institutions participate in the program under the same conditions and have equal rights and obligations. The general coordination of the program is overseen by the Comillas Pontifical University; however, both universities will be responsible for running the program in their own centers.

The program will be taught simultaneously on the main campuses of the universities that have signed the collaboration agreement. Students will apply to and enroll on the program following the authorized procedure on the main campus at which they plan to study. Enrollment takes place on an annual basis.

The degree certificate will be jointly issued by the rectors of the two participating universities and will be issued as a single document.

Applicant profile

The recommended student profile for the Doctorate programme in Philosophy: Humanism and Transcendences is someone who is interested in research and the acquisition of advanced and in-depth knowledge of issues and problems relating to the area of knowledge concerning the human condition and transcendence.

Not only is progress in natural and human science creating new perspectives in human and divine issues but also the historical processes that have been seen in the last century, the fanatic derivatives of fundamentalisms, the evolution in art and the proliferation of new philosophical approaches which in some way break with Western tradition.

This programme is based on the idea that philosophy and knowledge of its history must be at the centre of this crisis of culture which is currently beginning. Defending the uniqueness of the human being and delving into the plural approach of its relationship with transcendence is a hot topic nowadays. And with this, there is a need for information, enlightenment and meditation which philosophers can help enrich.

Therefore, this doctoral programme is aimed at people who wish to develop the necessary research competencies to undertake autonomous and quality projects, who are motivated by the transfer of the knowledge acquired to society in general, their professional field of activity in particular, and to developing studies and research in their area of interest.

Admission requirements

In general, the admission requirements established in Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, which regulates official doctoral education, must be met in order to be admitted to an official doctoral programme.

In addition to the foregoing general admission requirements for a PhD, for this programme:

  • You must prove a B1 level of knowledge pursuant to the European Framework of Reference which enables you to consult sources in English, French and/or German, as a basic requirement.
  • In regard to prior knowledge:
    • Direct admission profile: candidates who hold an official degree in Philosophy (2-year or longer undergraduate degree, master’s degree with a minimum of 60 ECTS credits or a similar foreign degree) who can prove having received research training in the area of Philosophy and/or Humanities may be directly admitted to the doctoral programme.
    • Admission subject to extra training: candidates who meet the general admission requirements but do not have any prior training in Philosophy and/or research in Philosophy or Humanities accepted into the programme must take the necessary extra training. During the admissions process and following a personalised study of the candidate’s academic record, any such specific extra training required will be determined in order to acquire (1) philosophy education and/or (2) research training in the area of Philosophy or Humanities.

Admission application filing period

Academic year 2019-2020:

16th May 2019 to 16th September 2019.

Information notice on the documents to be submitted

Admission process and criteria

  • Complete the application form on the website.
  • Attach/send the documentation requested to the General Secretariat (Mercedes Barrionuevo, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • Once the complete documentation has been received, the candidate will be called for a personal interview with the programme’s coordinator.
  • The Academic Commission for the programme will assess the applications as per the following criteria:
    • 40% education in philosophy
    • 40% Academic record
    • 20% Profile suitability
    A proposal will be prepared and sent to the Dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, who must approve each candidate (as appropriate) and then send the proposed pre-selected student list for the programme to the Rector or delegated person. The Rector, or delegated person, will make the final admissions decision with regard to each candidate for study at the Comillas Pontifical University.

Upon admission, candidates have 30 calendar days to complete registration.

Support for students with additional needs

Support programme for students with disabilities

Classes begin on

October 2018 to June 2019


The doctorate programme in Philosophy: Humanism and Transcendence is designed pursuant to Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, which regulates the structure of official doctoral studies.

Students may join this programme full-time (3 years) or part-time (5 years).

Acceptance into the doctoral programme may include a requirement of specific extra training. In such case, the time necessary for completion of any extra training will not be calculated for the purposes of the established limit.

You may find a flow chart with the various established deadlines for the different deliveries and phases of Doctoral studies leading to a PhD degree in accordance with the two options at the following link.

Students are considered full-time when they can dedicate 8 hours of daily work to the completion of face-to-face training activities and independent work as outlined in their Doctoral Activity Document.

Students are considered part-time when they can dedicate more than 4 hours but less than 8 hours of daily work to the completion of face-to-face training activities and independent work as outlined in their Doctoral Activity Document. Part-time student status must be authorized by the program Academic Commission.

Research plan

Before the end of the first year, doctoral students must design a Research Plan to be approved by their Advisor and Supervisor which will include at least the following sections: The doctoral student’s and their thesis supervisor’s or co-supervisors’ identification details, the Title of the proposed thesis, a Summary of the proposed thesis, the Method to be used, the Objectives sought, Resources and timeline for achieving the proposed objectives and, as applicable, an indication of any specific extra training which must be done. Bibliography.

Annual assessment

Each year, the programme’s Academic Commission will assess the Research Plan and Activity Document along with the reports which must be issued by the Advisor and Supervisor in addition to the exchange advisor’s report, if the student has undertaken a mobility visit that year.

The result of the assessment, whether positive or negative, will be signed by the Chair of the Commission and attached to the doctoral student’s academic record. A positive assessment is an essential requirement in order to remain on the programme.

In the event of a negative assessment, which must be duly reasoned, the doctoral student must be re-assessed after six months following a new Research Plan. The doctoral student will be definitively dismissed from the program if the assessment is negative once again. In such case, the Dean or delegated party will issue the corresponding resolution upon recommendation by the academic commission responsible for the doctoral programme and following a report by the General Doctoral Commission.


Tuition for the entire academic process (from admission to defense of the thesis):

  • Full-time students: € 2,600.00, in 2 installments; the amount of each installment is € 1,300.00.
  • Part-time students: € 2,245.00, in 2 installments; the amount of each installment is € 1,122.50.

Additional credits earned to supplement the program: € 141.85 / credit.


  • 1st installment due: at the time of finalizing registration.
  • 2nd installment due: February.

Those students who start their studies in the second semester will pay 50% of the annual enrollment fee for the corresponding Doctoral Program. For the remainder of courses taken each academic year, the financial conditions approved by the Governing Board for Doctoral Programs will be applied.


Payments can be made in up to six installments (two per year) for the duration of the first three years of the Doctorate. In each year:

  • 1st installment due: at the time of formalization of registration
  • 2nd installment due: February


  • Full-time students must have paid course fees for at least three academic years in order to defend their Doctoral thesis.
  • Part-time students must have paid course fees for at least four academic years in order to defend their Doctoral thesis.

In the calculation of the amounts paid, the fees paid for previous Doctoral programs will be included, whenever appropriate.


  • To reserve a place in the program (pre-registration fee to be deducted if registration is completed): € 132

Subsequently, registration and/or enrollment which are not finalized do not confer the right to a refund of the amount paid, except in the cases contemplated in Article 89.3 e) of the General Regulations of the University.

PhD Program Coordinator

Miguel García-Baró López
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Academic Commission

You may find the list of members of the Academic Commission at the following link.

Information points

Faculty of Human and Social Sciences
Elena Montero
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C/ Universidad Comillas, 3
28049 - Madrid
Tel. +34 91 734 39 50 - Ext: 2512

Faculty of Philosophy (Universitat Ramón Llull)
Carlos Llinás:
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Processing and Registration:
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  • Philosophical foundations of the concept of solidarity
  • On the principles: paradigms, figures and symbols of thought
  • Christian humanism
  • Aesthetic concepts and world views
  • Science, Technology and Religion


More information about the research lines of the program in the following link.

The following guide shows the detailed steps that students must follow to register the activities that they carry out during their Doctoral studies: Guide to Managing Doctoral Activities for the Student.

The training activities offered as part of the programme aim to guarantee the acquisition of research competencies by doctoral students. For doctoral students with prior experience in research activities in the area of Philosophy or Humanities, said experience may be considered for official recognition and the training activities may be adjusted in accordance with their profile upon authorisation from the Academic Commission.

There are two types of training activities: core (for all doctoral students at the Doctoral School) and specific (inherent to each Programme). The activities may be mandatory or optional.

The cost of the training activities is included with registration in the Programme.

A list of Doctoral Programme training activities is provided below (updated as of June 13, 2017):




Doctoral students may optionally attend more Seminars and hours than indicated given that some activities will be scheduled each year (Doctoral Student Conferences) with different content.

Activity schedule

  • The training activities will be scheduled in the evenings at the Alberto Aguilera 23 building, except some optional research seminars which will be on Monday mornings (bi-monthly) or Saturday mornings (monthly).

Once registered for the programme, doctoral students may access the Doctoral Programme computer application. The International Doctoral School and the Programme’s Coordinator will include the activities undertaken by the student which have been scheduled directly by the Universidad Pontificia Comillas under the “Training Activity” section. For other activities, the student will be responsible for including the information along with the corresponding proof. The advisor/supervisor will regularly review the completion of said activities which must be validated. The programme’s Academic Commission will evaluate the student’s progress each year upon receiving a report from the advisor/supervisor.

Upon admission, candidates’ academic records will be subject to a personalised study to determine the Training Complements needed in (1) philosophy and/or (2) research in the area of Philosophy or the Humanities.

For students from the Comillas Pontifical University, this will consist of:

This Training Complements will be undertaken during the first year of the programme. The time used will not be taken into consideration when calculating the maximum time allowed for completion of a doctoral thesis.


  • The Training Complements will be given Monday to Thursday evenings at the Alberto Aguilera 23 building.

It is recommendable to carry out periods of exchange abroad at prestigious international Research Centers in the area of ​​knowledge of the thesis. In duly justified and exceptional cases, periods of stay at Spanish Institutions may be arranged.

The main purpose of mobility in Doctoral Programs, at all of the host universities, with regard to the skills to be acquired by students, are the following:

  • Make contact with high-level international researchers on the theme of research
  • Carry out some of the training activities provided for by the Document on Doctoral Activities, at a foreign institution or university
  • Develop teamwork skills and competencies with other researchers internationally
  • Be able, where appropriate, to acquire better language skills in languages ​​other than the mother tongue
  • Get to know other research institutes, universities and institutions of relevance in research for themes related to their field of study
  • Collect specialized documentation, normally difficult to access by usual means, on the specific subject of the thesis
  • Expand evidence for research and samples through the application of data collection instruments in other countries

These periods of stay abroad allow Doctoral students to work in international environments, collaborate with other prestigious groups and expand the scope of their research.

In this sense, the Universidad Pontificia Comillas has an extensive network of cooperation agreements with universities around the world, some of which also cover Mobility for Research. The university also participates in multiple international university networks. You many consult the list of our international institutional agreements and networks on this link.

To qualify for this period of mobility, Doctoral students must submit an application to the Academic Commission, accompanied by an assessment report on the mobility proposed, to be submitted by the Tutor and Thesis Director. In the case of students with part-time Doctoral dedication, their hours of availability will be assessed and the necessary adjustments will be made to favor their participation in Programs for Mobility. At the host University, Doctoral students will be assigned a tutor or expert contact on their themes of research, who will support and guide them during their period of stay abroad for research. A report on the progress of Doctoral students will be drawn up at the end of the period of stay abroad.

Simultaneously, Doctoral students will stay in touch with both the Tutor and the Thesis Director, who will supervise the adequate progression of their training during the period of mobility, and the fulfillment of the objectives intended for the stay. In the Doctoral Program, it is recommendable for students to carry out a period of stay abroad at an Institution of Higher Learning / Research Center with which the Universidad Pontificia Comillas or Ramon Llull University has established a Specific Agreement for Collaboration for Doctoral Studies. This period of mobility may vary in length of time and intensity, depending on the specific needs of the Doctoral students and their Plan for Research.

In order to obtain recognition of the International Doctorate, a minimum stay of three months is necessary, among other requirements specified by the regulations (art. 15).

  • Personalised attention
  • Research monitoring
  • Scheduled classes and research seminars
  • Lines of research linked to humanist philosophy, the opening to transcendence, science-religion dialogue

Skills to be acquired on the doctorate program:

  • Systematic understanding of a field of study, and command of the skills and research methods related to this field
  • Ability to conceive, design or create, put into practice and adopt a substantial research or creation process
  • Ability to contribute to the expansion of knowledge frontiers through an original piece of research
  • Ability to carry out critical analysis and to evaluate and synthesize new and complex ideas
  • Ability to communicate with the scientific and academic community, and with society as a whole, about their knowledge areas through the most common means and languages used their international scientific community
  • Ability to promote, in professional and academic contexts, scientific, technological, social, artistic or cultural progress within a knowledge-based society
  • To function well in contexts where there is little concrete information
  • To discover key questions to be answered in order to solve a complex problem
  • To design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their field of knowledge
  • To work in teams as well as autonomously in an international or multidisciplinary context
  • To integrate knowledge, to tackle complexity and to make judgments with limited information
  • To intellectually critique and defend solutions


List of doctoral theses defended in the program

See the theses and their scientific contributions

List of funded research projects

See the research projects

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