Doctorate in Humanities Program

Abat Oliba University Doctor in Humanities Program

The doctoral program in humanities in the contemporary world at Abat Oliba University is integrated into the international doctoral school CEU, the CEINDO, which harnesses the potential of the three Universities CEU: San Pablo University (Madrid, Cardenal Herrera University (Valencia) and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. The program offers three areas of research: (1) history and society, (2) philosophy (and thought), and (3) literature and artistic creation.

The CEINDO has its own website where, among other useful information on doctoral programs that already offer different lines of research that develop, find detailed steps to follow to apply for admission and enrollment. Access to CEINDO

For additional information on the program, you may contact Dr. Enrique Martínez García at

CEINDO’s Doctoral Program in Philosophy

Universitat Abat Oliba CEU (UAO), located in Barcelona, is one of three Spanish universities belonging to the San Pablo CEU University Foundation.  San Pablo University CEU in Madrid and Cardenal Herrera University CEU in Valencia comprise the other two universities.  San Pablo University CEU leads the Foundation which was established by the Catholic Association of Propagandists in 1933. “CEU” stands for Centro de Estudios Universitarios or Center of University Studies.

Prior to 2016, UAO offered two doctoral programs in (1) Thomistic Studies and (2) Humanities and Social Sciences. These programs will phase out in September 2017 and no longer accepts new students.

The San Pablo CEU University Foundation gained approval from Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports to establish an international school of doctoral studies called CEINDO (CEU Escuela Internacional de Doctorado). CEINDO offers several doctoral programs and students can now benefit from the resources of all three universities depending on their research interests.

CEINDO’s newest doctoral program is “Humanities for the Contemporary World” which offers three areas of research: (1) ‘History and Society’ (2) ‘Philosophy and Thought’ and (3) ‘Literature and Artistic Creation.’  Dr. Enrique Martinez Garcia of UAO is the coordinator of the ‘Philosophy and Thought’ research area.

The CEINDO Humanities program adopts the classical model of doctoral education consisting of the ‘big book’ type of dissertation as opposed to the more commonly known ‘taught model’ in the United States consisting of passing a combination of doctoral courses, comprehensive exams, and writing a shorter dissertation.

To be admitted to the CEINDO program, prospective students will need to have a master’s thesis related to their intended area of research.  In addition, CEINDO will more than likely require a research methodology course.  They may also ask prospective students to make up any deficiencies by having them take additional masters courses from one of the three universities depending on their research interest.  Masters students from Holy Apostles College and Seminary will have satisfied the course requirements by taking the four-course sequence in Christian Wisdom.

At the moment, UAO does not offer courses in English but in the Spanish language.  If prospective students want to do work on St. Thomas Aquinas, they will need to know some Latin. Dissertations can be written in the English language.

CEINDO’s doctoral degree in “Humanities for the Contemporary World.”

It is important to consider a few things when deciding if CEINDO’s doctoral program is a good match for your needs. First, CEINDO’s program offers a research doctorate and a contribution of knowledge to your research interest is expected.   In the United States, doctoral programs such as these typically award a “Doctor of Philosophy in [subject]” or PhD degree. However, the CEINDO program in “Humanities for the Contemporary World” is broad enough to encompass doctoral dissertations that are more applied in nature.

Second, because Spain’s government is a constitutional monarchy, education policy for the Spanish University system is determined and approved by cabinet ministers through Royal Decrees.  The decrees on education are published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (equivalent to the U.S. Department of Education in the United States).

In the CEINDO website (, there is a section on Norms (or Normativa).  That webpage will contain the Royal Decrees and University Norms pertaining to the CIENDO doctoral programs.  Under the broad category of General Legislation, there appears Royal Decree (RD) 1002/2010.  This decree describes the kind of doctoral degree conferred after a successful defense of a dissertation:

“2. La denominación del título de Doctor será: Doctor o Doctora por la Universidad U, siendo U la denominación de la Universidad que expide el título e incluirá información que especifique el campo de conocimiento sobre el que se ha elaborado la tesis doctoral. Los títulos oficiales de Doctor se expedirán con la denominación que, en cada caso, figure en el Registro de Universidades, Centros y Títulos. Dicha denominación quedará reservada en exclusiva para cada uno de ellos.” (Chapter 4, Article 11, pp.68,578 to 68,579)

The title of the doctoral degree will be “Doctor in. . . “ and the research area of your dissertation.  In the case of a dissertation in the ‘Philosophy and Thought’ line of research, the degree will be titled “Doctor in Philosophy and Thought.”  Depending on what you plan to do with the degree, all foreign degrees, however, have to be evaluated for degree equivalency in the United States.  Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports describes the process and lists some of the credentialing agencies in its website:

Finally, you may also find helpful that the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports has a directory listing all of the affiliated Spanish universities and recognized degrees, from the bachelors to the doctoral level:

The program costs are listed here:

Full-time students pay 2,500 euros per year, which is about $2,800 USD in October, 2016

Part-time students pay 1,750 euros per year, which is about $1,960 USD in October, 2016

The program pre-requisites include a Master of Arts in Theology or Philosophy from an accredited college or university. Once you’re accepted into the AOU program, you’ll have the option to prepare yourself with pre-requisite work in Christian Wisdom by taking the four-course Christian Wisdom sequence from Holy Apostles (listed below) if you haven’t already taken these courses. This is especially important if your MA degree is not ground in Thomism. These courses are not required for this program, but they are highly recommended.

PHS   731     The One and the Many
This course is a study of the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas concerning the nature of the metaphysical principles of unity and multiplicity and the essential role that these principles play in the existence of things and all other principles of being, becoming, and knowing, including those of experience, art, philosophy, science. Online only with an optional synchronous component. Taught by Dr. Peter Redpath.

PHS   741     St. Thomas Aquinas on Being and Nothingness
This course will help students to learn the most important metaphysical doctrines of St. Thomas. It presents an understanding of reality from Being itself (God) to nothingness (complete absence of being). We shall mostly focus on primary texts from Aquinas, but, when appropriate, we shall read selections from other thinkers who have influenced Aquinas, such as Aristotle and St. Augustine. Online only with an optional synchronous component. Taught by Dr. Robert Delfino.

PHS   751     The True, the False, the Lie and the Fake

This course is a s study the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas about truth and its opposites, the false, the lie, and the fake in relationship to unity and multiplicity, being and non-being, and good and evil; and different kinds of falsehood, considered in themselves and in relation to their existence within human knowing faculties, appetites, and in relationship to God. Online only with an optional synchronous component. Taught by Dr. Curtis Hancock.

PHS   761     The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful and the Ugly
This course is a study of the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas about good and its opposite, evil, and the beautiful and it opposite, the ugly, in relationship to unity and multiplicity, being and non-being, and truth and error, and different kinds of good and evil, beauty and ugliness, considered in themselves and in relation to their existence within human knowing faculties, appetites, and in relationship to God. Online only with an optional synchronous component. Taught by Dr. Peter Redpath.

Applicants will also find it helpful to have a general background in Latin – enough to translate documents from Latin to English with the help of a dictionary.

Additional pre-requisites are listed in Spanish on this page –

For those of you who can read the Spanish, please find the program and admissions information online at

For those of you waiting for the English version of the site, it will be out soon on this site –

By October 31 of each year, prospective students should submit the application materials located in the link above.

The Director of Admissions for Master’s and Doctoral studies is Mr. Andreu Miranda, who may be reached for questions at or 011 34 932 521 421

The doctoral program at Abat Oliba University is a research doctorate that is designed to be dissertation only. For that reason, there are no required courses. Students simply write the dissertation. To prepare for this, the program does have the equivalent of a 5-credit research and design requirement for those who have never written at least a master’s thesis. At the present time, all material in the research and design modules are delivered in the Spanish language. AOU is working on the development of English language research, design and thesis writing courses. The courses are as follows:

Mandatory courses:
– Técnicas avanzadas de búsqueda y gestión de la documentación aplicadas a la investigación. 12 horas
– Evaluación y valoración de la producción científica. 12 horas
– Uso ético de la documentación científica. 12 horas
– Transferencia de resultados de investigación. 6 horas

Mandatory courses, when the prospective student’s master of arts degree did not include research methodology:

– Fundamentos teóricos, técnicas y recursos de investigación avanzada en Humanidades. 12 horas
– Fuentes y métodos para la investigación científica.  12 horas
– Literatura, arte y crítica cultural: elementos conceptuales para la investigación.  12 horas

Optatives courses:

– Convocatoria de ayudas a la investigación: proyectos competitivos nacionales y europeos. 10 horas
– Curso de procesamiento de datos: 12 horas

what the “horas” mean for the mandatory courses, 10 horas = 1 ECTS credit = half a U.S. credit.

 So, adding this up –
  • The preparatory coursework is a total of 42 hours, which means 4.2 ECTS credits which means the equivalent of a 2-credit course here in the U.S.
  • Add to that 36 horas for those with MAs who did not write theses, and that’s another 3.6 ECTS, or the equivalent of another 2-credit course here in the U.S.
  • The optional courses at 22 horas are the equivalent of 2.2 ECTS, which rounds to 1 credit here in the US.
So, someone who does all of these courses would be engaged in the equivalent of a 5-credit course in U.S. Most applicants have likely already written an MA thesis and would be involved in the equivalent of just a 2-credit preparatory research methodology course.
  • Though there is no required coursework, there will be some activities on methodology in February of each year; these can be done remotely
  • Full-time candidates must remain in the program for at least two years but complete their studies within three years according to the Royal Decree
  • Half-time candidates must remain in the program for at least four years but complete their studies within five years according to the Royal Decree
  • There will be yearly on-site (Madrid) working sessions in July, but these can be done remotely

“Normativa reguladora de los programas de doctorado” (Normative Regulations of the Doctoral Program) may be found online at with the most recent ruling in June, 2016, establishing the current doctoral program available here

These documents are not yet available in English translation.