UPM PhD Mechanical Engineering

Spanish version


UPM’s Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) Programme in Mechanical Engineering pursues the training of high-level researchers and professionals in all fields of Mechanical engineering and contributes to UPM’s strategy of excellence. Through a thesis-based approach, the Programme offers students a unique opportunity to work at the highest level of research, integrated in advanced research projects and teams, under the supervision of a faculty member. The results obtained so far have helped to bring UPM to the top-50 worldwide in Mechanical Engineering, according to the QS Ranking by Subjects (2019 and 2020).

These studies provide a very focused training in a selected field of Mechanical Engineering through a personalized hands-on approach aimed at the development of research and professional skills, depending on students’ background, experience and interests. Ph.D. students perform a singular research study, which should reach scientific excellence and demonstrate an impact availed by established quality criteria. The researchers should be able to work autonomously, but also in collaboration with colleagues from the different research groups of the department and are guided by expert researchers.

Ideally, the Ph.D. thesis will be developed in a period of three academic years, although special situations may lead to granting an extension of up to two additional years. The formative period culminates with the public defense of the Ph.D. thesis.

The Programme is delivered at UPM’s ETSI Industriales (Industrial Engineering School) with the involvement of several research groups, institutes and teaching units, mainly from the Mechanical Engineering Department. Prof. Jesús Félez is the current coordinator.

Current employability of Programme’s alumni reaches a value of 100%, with all our alumni working on R&D tasks directly related to their Ph.D. theses in the field of Mechanical Engineering (60% in academia and research centers, 40% in companies, see graph below).

The internationalisation degree of the Programme is remarkable, with around one international mobility per student and with c.a. 50% of Ph.D. Theses receiving the “international mention”. Professors of the Programme actively collaborate in funded R&D projects with researchers from world-class universities and research centres like: MIT, California Institute of Technology, Berkeley University, Georgia Tech, Technical University of Munich, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Technical University of Vienna, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino, University of Pisa, Chalmers University of Technology, Tokio Tech, University of Leuven, Fuzhou University, Central South University, Tsching Hua University, to cite some examples.

The Ph.D. Programme is currently under evaluation (accreditation process by Madri+d Foundation) according to Spanish regulation RD 99/2011.

For information and advice, please feel free to contact directly Prof. Andrés Díaz Lantada, Ph.D. Programme’s Secretary (email: andres.diaz@upm.es).

Research Lines

The Programme is structured across 6 main research lines:

  • Machines engineering and product development.
  • Manufacturing engineering.
  • Computational dynamics and seismic engineering.
  • Acoustic engineering.
  • Vehicles and transports engineering.
  • Laser engineering and applications.

These R&D lines cover the vast majority of research, development and innovation topics of modern Mechanical Engineering. Professors of the programme work mainly at UPM’s Mechanical Engineering Department (ETSI Industriales), and there is also a relevant involvement of professors from UPM’s Applied Physics and Materials Department (laser engineering and applications) and from ETSI Telecomunicación -Telecommunications School- (acoustic engineering).  

The following R&D institutes, centres and groups contribute to the scientific-technological excellence of the programme:

  • UPM’s Centre for Railway Technologies (CITEF).
  • UPM’s Centre for Automotive Research (INSIA).
  • UPM’s Laser Centre.
  • UPM’s Research Group in Machines Engineering.
  • UPM’s Research Group in Manufacturing Engineering.
  • UPM’s Research Group in Seismic Engineering.
  • UPM’s Research Group in Applied Acoustics.

Different laboratories from Madrid’s “Red-Lab”, like UPM’s Product Development Lab, UPM’s Machines and Mechanisms Lab, UPM’s Materials Strength Lab and UPM’s Manufacturing Technologies Lab, support researchers during their Ph.D. studies. UPM’s International Doctorate School contributes to researchers’ multidisciplinary training.

Specific topics of research, grouped by R&D lines, are listed below as examples for prospective applicants.

Acoustic Engineering:

  • Applied Acoustics
  • Industrial Noise
  • Environmental Noise
  • Noise in Working Environments
  • Architectural Acoustics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electroacoustics
  • Acoustic Metrology
  • Virtual Instrumentation
  • Noise and Acoustic Signals Processing
  • Neuroacoustics

Machines Engineering and Product Development

  • Machines Engineering and Product Design
  • Engineering Design Methods
  • Design and Manufacturing with Advanced Materials
  • Rapid Prototyping and Advanced Additive Technologies
  • Machine Safety and Maintenance
  • Vibroacoustics in Machines Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence for Mechanical Engineering
  • Tribology and Surface Engineering
  • History of Machines and Mechanisms
  • Biomechanics and Bioengineering Design
  • Tissue Engineering and Biofabrication
  • Living Machines and Living Materials

Manufacturing Engineering

  • Analysis, development and automation of processes
  • Microfabrication
  • Polymers Transformation
  • Applied Robotics
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Adaptative Machining Control
  • Knowledge-Based Engineering for Design and Manufacturing
  • Concurrent Engineering Modeling
  • Design of Advanced Tools and Molds
  • Product Lifecycle Management Systems
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Discrete Systems Simulation for Enhanced Efficiency
  • Modeling Manufacturing Systems
  • Internet of Things and Cyberphysical Systems

Vehicles and Transports Engineering:

  • Transport Safety
  • Protection Systems for Vehicles
  • Accidents Research: Causes and Consequences
  • Impact Biomechanics for Passive Safety
  • Impact Prediction in Vehicles and Transport
  • Conduction-Aided Systems
  • Improved Propulsion for Minimal Eco-impacts
  • Computational Modeling Applied to Vehicles
  • Dynamic Performance Enhancement for Vehicles

Railway Engineering:

  • Virtual Reality
  • CAD Systems
  • Variational Geometry
  • Multimedia Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Computer-aided Engineering and Education
  • Sensorisation
  • Railways and Platforms
  • Electrification, Substations, Catenaries
  • Railway Safety and Signalling
  • Communication in Transport Networks
  • Vehicle Dynamics

Laser Technologies:

  • Basic Laser-Matter Research
  • High Intensity and Short Duration Laser Pulses and Matter
  • Laser-Enabled Plasmas
  • Industrial Applications for Laser Technologies
  • Laser-Based Soldering
  • Laser-Based Surface Treatments and Coatings
  • Ultra-High Intensity Lasers and Applications
  • Laser-Generated Shock Waves for Surface Treatments
  • Laser Micromachining and Microforming
  • Development of Laser Processes for Materials and Photovoltaics
  • Laser-Based Applications for Optics, Micro-/Nano-Photonics and Fluidics
  • Microfabrication of Photonic and Biophotonic Devices
  • Optical Characterization of Photonic and Biophotonic Devices
  • Advanced Optical Characterization Techniques
  • Lasers for Environmental Applications
  • Lasers for Biomedical Applications and Biofabrication

For detailed information, please feel free to contact the Programme Coordinator (Prof. Jesús Félez: jesus.felez@upm.es) or Secretary (Prof. Andrés Díaz: andres.diaz@upm.es)

Access and Admission Criteria

Prospective Ph.D. students should fulfil one of the following access criteria according to RD 99/2011:

  • Hold a Spanish Official Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree.
  • Hold a Higher Education Degree from the European Area of Higher Education of at least 300 credits according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), from which at least 60 should be at Master’s level.
  • Hold a Spanish Official Bachelor’s Degree of at least 300 ECTS and necessarily take part in educational complements focused on research, if not previously studied.
  • Hold another foreign Higher Education Degree, with an educational level equivalent to Spanish Master’s Degree and granting access to Ph.D. studies in the country of origin.
  • Hold a previous Ph.D. degree.

On a yearly basis, UPM’s Ph.D. Programme in Mechanical Engineering offers 25 new positions for students worldwide. Students with background connected to the lines of research of the Ph.D. Programme (preferentially Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering or directly related profiles) will be assessed on the basis of academic record, professional and research experience, English level, publications, motivation and recommendation letters and eventual interview. Educational complements shall apply to students without a clear Mechanical Engineering background.

Enrolment applications are managed through UPM’s Helios platform:


For additional details or questions, please please feel free to contact the Programme Coordinator (Prof. Jesús Félez: jesus.felez@upm.es) or Secretary (Prof. Andrés Díaz: andres.diaz@upm.es)

Ph.D. Theses: Quality Criteria

During the research period, Ph.D. students shall develop a Ph.D. Thesis in any of the Educational Units and Research Groups or Institutes already mentioned, or in any other institution (including companies through Industrial Ph.D. agreements), in agreement with the Programme’s Doctoral Commission (CAPD). The theses should be completed in three years, in the case of full-time dedication, plus eventual ordinary and extraordinary extensions (one-year each).

The Ph.D. Thesis is an original research work carried out in any area of modern Mechanical Engineering or clearly related to the fundamental research lines of the Programme.

The CAPD shall evaluate the research performed and eventually allow the public defence of the Ph.D. Thesis, once the quality and dissemination requisites of the Programme are fulfilled. These requisites foster academic and research excellence. The results from the Ph.D. theses should be published in international journals indexed in the “Journal Citation Reports” (JCR). In general, the CAPD will grant permission, which should be ratified by UPM’s Doctoral Commission, when at least one point is obtained according to the following criteria:

– Publication in JCR-indexed journal (Q1): 1 point.

– Publication in JCR-indexed journal (Q2): 0.75 points.

– Publication in JCR-indexed journal (Q3): 0.5 points.

– Publication in JCR-indexed journal (Q4): 0.25 points.

Once the quality criteria are verified and the Ph.D. research and Thesis document is finalized, public defence will be carried out in front of a Jury of experts in the field (5 members with a maximum of 2 members from the same university), elected and named according to the current legislation.

Additional details can be obtained by consulting UPM’s regulations and standards: