Instructions for regulating access to the doctoral programme on the basis of former qualifications (prior to RD1391/2007)

Approved by the University of the Basque Country Postgraduate Commission on 28 January 2015

In October 2013, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport published a note on Access to Doctoral Programmes which stated that:

Those students who are in possession of an official qualification from a Spanish university, earned in accordance with previous university regulations, or in other words, those with an  undergraduate degree, an architectural or engineering degree, a university diploma or a technical architectural or engineering degree (qualifications that entitle the holder to access university Master's courses), who have accumulated in the course of their official university studies a minimum of 300 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 must be at the Master's degree level, may access an official Doctoral programme.
In accordance with that stated above, it is up to each university to determine, in accordance with its specific rules and regulations, both the equivalences between LRU credits (from previous qualifications) and ECTS credits, and the assessment criteria for the 60 ECTS credits that should (at least) should be considered Master level credits in order to qualify holders for acceptance onto a doctoral programme

As a result of this note, on 30 October 2013 the ever more frequently recurring problem that occurs when trying to assess candidates for doctoral programmes was submitted to the consideration of the Postgraduate Commission, since it is difficult to quantify the credits or subjects earned/studied in degrees and courses that predate the establishment of the ECTS. During the meeting it was agreed that former undergraduate degrees and architectural and engineering degrees would be considered equivalent to current undergraduate degrees (240 credits). In relation to other studies and degrees (university diplomas and technical architectural and engineering degrees) it was agreed that each would be considered individually, in accordance with the general rule which states that 1 credit is equivalent to 10 hours.

Also, lifelong learning, refresher courses and ongoing studies are becoming increasingly important for both professional and personal development, which is why the university receives a growing number of applications from people with qualifications governed by laws and regulations predating RD1393/2007 who wish to access doctoral programmes.

As a result, the following list of former qualification equivalences was established for those wishing to access doctoral programmes:

  1. Equivalence between LRU credits and ECTS credits. 1 LRU credit is considered equivalent to 1 ECTS credit.
  2. Bearing in mind the premise outlined above, the following is established for qualifications which earn non-ECTS credits:
    • Degrees lasting 6 academic years (medicine, engineering and architecture with final projects) will provide direct access to doctoral programmes.
    • Degrees lasting 5 academic years (undergraduate degrees, engineering, second cycle only qualifications, with at least 300 credits) will also provide direct access to doctoral programmes since they are all considered to include 60 ECTS Master level credits (second cycle of the undergraduate degree or, where appropriate, 5th academic year).
    • Degrees lasting 3 or 4 academic years Each LRU credit earned is equivalent to 1 ECTS credit. In this case, those credits that feature in the candidate's Academic Certificate shall be considered ECTS credits. If the candidate has 300 credits, as in the case of some 4-year undergraduate degree courses, they shall be granted direct access to the doctoral programme, since they are considered to have earned 60 Master level credits during the second cycle of their degree. In the event of the candidate not having earned 300 ECTS credits, they must first complete a Master's course before accessing the doctoral programme.
  3. In the event of access to the doctoral programme on the basis of former degree qualifications which featured only subjects, rather than credits, a number of different criteria may apply, with the most beneficial to the candidate being selected in each case:
    1. Equivalent qualification for the same degree governed by the LRU system, with the same number of credits being awarded since, in accordance with point 1, each LRU credit is considered equivalent to 1 ECTS credit.
    2. Every academic year is deemed equivalent to 60 ECTS credits.

When the above equivalences are calculated, it may be that some candidates fail to achieve the 300 ECTS credits required, even after completing a 60 or 90 ECTS credit Master's degree. However, in such cases the difference in the number of credits earned is generally very small, and is not considered a reason to insist that the candidate in question complete a second Master's degree.  The following possibilities are therefore offered to help candidates achieve the number of credits required to access a doctoral programme:

  • Complementary courses based on Master's Degrees.
  • Cross-cutting training courses organised and run by the Master's and Doctorate School.