Doctorate in Social Sciences




Degree: Doctorate in Social Sciences
Duration: Four years (eight semesters)
Director: Dr. Arturo Vallejos Romero
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Tel.: 56-45-2596673

Important dates
Applications open: 3rd of October 2016
Applications close: 18th of November 2016
Applicant interviews: 21. – 25. Of November 2016
Results: 12th of December 2016

The PhD Program in Social Sciences of the University of La Frontera is an academic space that seeks to contribute to the construction and promotion of research that addresses issues of the regional, national and international environment, related primarily to issues of high influence in the World, such as: State transformations, development and citizenship; Economy and globalization, processes of socio-spatial mobility and inter-ethnic and international relations; The information society, communication and social processes; Cultures, narratives and social representations; Poverty and territorial inequalities; The risks and the environmental problems, construction of the subjectivities, among others.
The Doctorate Program in Social Sciences presents the following objectives:

General objective of the programTo train qualified researchers in Social Sciences, who possess autonomous investigative capacities, disciplinary and interdisciplinary scientific knowledge and competences that allow them to analyze and interpret the social reality and to implement university teaching of high quality through a solid theoretical and methodological training.

Specific objectives of the Program• To train highly competent doctors in social sciences, capable of developing original scientific research on topics that are relevant for disciplinary and interdisciplinary development, and who contribute to the increase of knowledge to address social problems and their impact on society.
• To train doctors with updated knowledge in the social sciences, which enhances their skills to teach in University level

Graduate profile

The student of the Doctorate in Social Sciences will develop the following competencies
• Design and manage autonomously, original, relevant and quality research on issues related to the social sciences.
• Systematize, interpret and analyze diverse sources of information through quantitative and / or qualitative methods, and their technical supports, through valid and reliable information, relying on ethical foundations proper to the field of social sciences and the exercise of intellectual autonomy
• To perform up-to-date and relevant teaching in the field of social sciences in higher education institutions.

Admission requirements1. To possess a Higher Degree or Master’s degree in the área of Social Sciences. In addition, the applicants who have former approval of the Academic Committee and graduates of other disciplines that belong to the degree Master or Doctor are suitable to apply.
2. Validations may also be requested, as long as the student has approved subjects in
Chilean or foreign postgraduate programs (Doctorates) with accreditation.
3. Submit, within the deadlines set by the Program, a request for admission according to standard form, enclosing the following documents:

According to the General Postgraduate Regulations

(a) Reasoned request for admission to the program, which explains the motivations of the applicant for joining the program; To what extent such motivations are consistent with their prior training; How the program will account for them and how the doctoral program will contribute to their work plans once the degree is obtained.
(c) Original certificate or a document legalized by the Notary Public of the degree of Bachelor and / or Master.
(d) Two recommendation letters, where at least one of them must be from an academic from the University where the applicant graduated, or from the University or institution in which he/she currently works (Two letters of reference, according to standard form, issued by academics with The degree of Doctor
(e) The applicant’s ranking in the Bachelor's and / or Master's program in which he graduated.
(f) Up-to-date CV
(g) Brief conceptual and methodological elaboration of the topic that the applicant would develop as research in her/his thesis work. In addition, the applicant must identify the research line where she/he can develop the thesis work according to the current offer of the doctoral program (maximum 5 letter-size sheets).
(h) Letter of commitment of the applicant, ensuring dedication according to the times set by the program and letter of institutional support as appropriate.

4. To participate in an interview which will be oriented to confirm and deepen the knowledge of the antecedents, according to the established in the standardized pattern.

5. In the case of admission of a foreign student with a language other than Spanish, the applicant must provide evidence of command of the Spanish language in order to be fully integrated into the academic activities of the Program.

Selection CriteriaThe selection system of The Program consists of five stages:

–The first stage: The applicants send, on the dates established in the annual call, the required documents to the Program Director.

–The second stage: The Director and the Academic Coordinator certify that the documents submitted by the applicant are in accordance with the admission requirements of the program.

–The third stage: The documents being certified, the qualified applicants will be called for an interview . The Director, the Academic Coordinator and three faculty members who will be appointed by the Academic Committee, will conduct the interviews. The interviews will be evaluated according to guidelines designed for this process.

–The fourth stage: The Academic Committee will meet to evaluate the background of the applicants according to the evaluation criteria. The scores obtained by each applicant define the admissibility ranking of the Doctoral Program in Social Sciences. The highest scores, above the 60% requirement, will determine the acceptance of the candidates to the program. The total number of applicants who will be accepted by the program are determined from the existing income quotas.

Factors to evaluate



Academic training





Academic productivity


Research project



Personal interview



Table: Criteria for evaluation of the applicants

–The fifth stage: The selection process closes. The formal letter that certifies the case of each applicant, the results of the admission and selection process to the PhD program will be sent.

Description of studies

The curricular structure of the Doctorate is organized in a regime of eight academic semesters, with face-to-face modality and an academic-research work that is based on its subjects and curricular activities. Its curriculum consists of a total of 95 credits distributed in 4 academic years, during which students must study subjects and academic activities that are located in three areas of doctoral training, namely: Theoretical Area (Theoretical-Methodological), Area of Further Deepening (Theoretical-Methodological) and Research Area (Seminars).

In order to qualify as a doctoral candidate, the doctoral candidate must pass an English proficiency examination and a public defense examination of the research project. Once obtained the status of doctoral candidate, the student must take two supervised teaching subjects and 4 research seminars in which she/he will work in the development of doctoral research. In addition, the student must comply with two formal presentations that correspond to the advances of the doctoral thesis.

The above mentioned is structured curricularly as follows:

1 Theoretical Area (Theoretical-Methodological). In this area there are 8 compulsory subjects for all the students and they are taught in the first, second, fifth and sixth academic semester. The total for this area is 24 Credits.

2 Area of Further Deepening (Theoretical-Methodological). In this area students must take, during the third and fourth semester, 5 lectures that will be selected from a set of subjects proposed by the program. The total for this area is 15 Credits.

3 Area of Research. In this area the Research Seminars (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII) are developed, corresponding to the academic activities of support and orientation to the research that culminates with the delivery of the doctoral thesis. The total for this area is 28 Credits

4 The development of Thesis: The student must develop a doctoral thesis work that will have the necessary support and guidance through the work done in the Research Seminars. In addition, the student must comply with the presentation of two advances of the investigation and then finish her/his work of doctoral training with the formal delivery of the thesis. The total for this area is 28 Credits.

Details of the studiesThe first semester
• Social theory from contemporary perspective
• Method I: Epistemological Foundations for Social Research
• Quantitative methods
• Research Seminar I

Second semester
• Latin American Social Theory in a Contemporary Perspective
• Methodology II: Social research designs
• Qualitative methods
• Research Seminar II

Third Semester
• Subject of Advanced theme 1
• Subject of Advanced theme2
• Subject of Advanced Qualitative or Quantitative methodology
• Research Seminar III

Fourth Semester
• Subject of Advanced theme 3
• Subject of Advanced theme 4
• Research seminar IV
• Doctoral Qualification Examination

Fifth Semester
• Development of Thesis
• Supervised teaching I
• Research seminar V

Sixth Semester
• Development of Thesis (Presentation 1)
• Supervised teaching II
• Research seminar VI

Seventh Semester
• Development of Thesis (Presentation 2)
• Research seminar VII

Eighth Semester
• Research seminar VIII
• Doctoral Thesis and the Defense of Doctoral Thesis

Areas of ResearchThe PhD in Social Sciences has currently six areas of research, which are supported by a number of researchers associated with each area that develop a set of research projects.

Area N°1: Consumption and economic citizenship. In this area, the relations between economy, society and consumption are considered and understood as objects of investigation and approached interdisciplinarily. The research takes into account the contributions of economic psychology, economics, political psychology, social psychology, economic anthropology, History, economic sociology and political science, disciplines that offer fundamental methodological and theoretical tools.

This line addresses two areas of the relationship between consumption, citizenship and development. The first of refers to the impact of the economy and its logic of action on the lives of individuals and communities including the impacts of cultural industries and the media in behavior. The second area refers to the dialectic, individuals and groups as economic agents and economic model, considering the dynamics of relationship and citizen participation in economic development and its interaction with the logics and dynamics of production and consumption.

Associated academics: Dra. Marianela Denegri Coria (Coordinadora), Dr. Carlos Del Valle y Dra. Berta Schnettler.

Current Projects1. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1150665. “Alfabetización financiera y económica, actitudes hacia el dinero, patrones de consumo y satisfacción vital en estudiantes secundarios chilenos. Hacia un modelo integrativo”. Dra. Marianela Denegri Coria, Investigadora Responsable.

2. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1130165. “Bienestar subjetivo y alimentación en estudiantes de Universidades del Consejo de Rectores, un estudio longitudinal” (2013-2016). Dra. Berta Schnettler Morales, Investigadora Responsable.

3. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1150666. “La construcción del imaginario social de la justicia en los relatos periodísticos publicados por el diario El Mercurio de Chile, entre 1850 y 2014, en el contexto del conflicto Estado-nación y pueblo mapuche: Continuidades y cambios”. Dr. Carlos del Valle, Investigador Responsable.

4. Proyecto Marie Curie RISE HORIZON 2020, titulado: “Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal”. Ref. 645666-CRIC (2015-2019), financiado por la European Commission. Dr. Carlos Del Valle, Experienced Researcher en Chile.

5. Proyecto “Red Estudios Prospectivos de Posgrados de Comunicación Mercosur – Red Epcom Mercorsur”, 2° Convocatoria para la conformación de Redes de Investigación del Núcleo de Estudios e Investigaciones en Educación Superior del MERCOSUR. Dr. Carlos Del Valle, Investigador Responsable en Chile. (Proyecto año 2016)
Area N° 2: Territory, power and culture. This line contemplates the critical study of the temporal and spatial transformations of the territory, understood as a social, cultural and natural scaffolding built through knowledge. This in turn articulates a strategic and contextualized understanding, which implies questioning the existence of universal knowledge. Furthermore, it focuses on directing the analytical attention to the different matrices of understanding proper to a place, a culture and a particular political moment.
Specifically, the line’s goal is to reflect critically on the different power-territory-culture relations emphasizing the transformations that unfold in the framework of contemporary global economic processes. At the same time, we approach the processes of contemporary mobility, in the understanding that human displacements respond to a complex interaction between global scenarios and the agency of individuals who in defined cultural contexts try to move towards their own ends.

Associated academics: Dr. Hugo Zunino (Coordinador), Dr. Adison Altamirano, Dra. Lindsey Carte, Dra. Mihaela Vancea y Dr. José Rodríguez.

Current projects1. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 11509944. “Espacios Discursivos Alternos en La Araucanía Andino Lacustre: Imaginando y Creando la Identidad del Lugar”. Dr. Hugo Zunino, Investigador Responsable.

2. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1141294. “Impactos sobre el bienestar humano de la colonización de plantas exóticas en territorios socio-ambientales contrastantes de la Araucanía”. Dr. Adison Altamirano, Investigador Responsable.

3. Proyecto Anillo N° SOC 1404. “Dinámicas naturales, espaciales y socio-culturales: perspectivas sobre los conflictos socio-ambientales en territorios forestales de Chile, 1975-2014. Dr. Hugo Zunino, Investigador Asociado.

4. Proyecto MEC Movilidades en Destinos Turísticos de Montaña de la NorPatagonia. Transformaciones Territoriales e Innovaciones Culturales. Científico de Excelencia: Adriana Otero, Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Dr. Hugo Zunino, contraparte institucional.

Area N° 3: Society, Environment and Public Politics. The research program aims to observe and understand socio-environmental problems as part of a framework that considers revision, epistemological and theoretical discussion, and the articulation between society and the environment as well as its observation and problematization in realities bounded by theoretical-methodological proposals that give an integrated account of the socio-environmental problem.

At one level, the objective is to analyze and describe, both theoretically and methodologically, the environmental problems related to social, institutional, normative and transformations from the social sciences and socioecological integration perspectives. This is done in order to construct knowledge to generate intervention proposals that can take the form of public policies.

Assosiated academics: Dr. René Montalba (Coordinador), Dr. Arturo Vallejos Romero y Dr. Carlos Boso Gaspar.

Current projects

1. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 11150262. “Percepción pública e implicación ciudadana en el control de la contaminación atmosférica urbana del sur de Chile”. Dr. Carlos Boso, Investigador Principal.
2. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1150576. “Construcción Social de Riesgos. Hacia una configuración diferenciada de los riesgos y peligros en el Chile del siglo XXI”. Dr. Arturo Vallejos Romero, Investigador Responsable.
3. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1141249. “Resilencia socioecológica de sistemas agrícolas tradicionales y modernos: Identificación de modos de organización, técnicas y prácticas culturales para enfrentar cambio climático y escasez hídrica en la Araucanía”. Dr. René Montalba Navarro, Investigador Responsable.
4. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1140672. “Gobernanza Policéntrica (GP) y Capital Social (CS) puente/bridging como factores explicativos de la capacidad de respuesta y adaptación de los sistemas de gobernanza local ante los efectos del cambio climático y eventos extremos en Chile (CCEE)”. Dr. Arturo Vallejos Romero, Co-Investigador.
Area N° 4: Intersubjectivity, Phenomenology and Epistemology.
This line of research proposes to open a space for discussion and analysis about the central problems of the construction of knowledge in Social Sciences.
An understanding of these problems is proposed through a revision of the epistemic assumptions developed in modern thought and science, making a special distinction of the positivist tradition, with respect to the phenomenological tradition.
On the other hand, this line of research aims to make a critical review of phenomenology as method-theory, emphasizing in the study its foundations and its possible application in Social Sciences.
Associated academics: Dr. Rubén Leal Riquelme, Dr. Felipe Johnson, Dr. Patricio Mena y Dr. Samuel Herrera.

Current projects:1. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1150034. “El cuerpo futuro: la posibilidad de vivir corporalmente en el mundo desde la temporalidad originaria del Dasein”. Dr. Felipe Johnson, Investigador Responsable.

2. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1140997. “El cuidado como clave ontológica de la hermenéutica del si-mismo de Paul Ricouer”. Dr. Patricio Mena, Investigador Responsable.

3. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 11140387. “Filosofía natural de Pierre Gassendi: Fundamentos, límites y horizontes para comprender las objeciones Gassendistas a la filosofía cartesiana”. Dr. Samuel Herrera, Investigador Responsable.

Area N° 5: Communication, Discourse and Power. The line presents the study of communication, understood as the fundamental disciplinary framework of the Social Sciences, to explain the processes of mediatization of contemporary societies.

In this context, the line proposes the study of discourses - understood as social practices - through which social reality is constructed by crystallizing certain social imaginaries within the framework of modern and capitalist societies where paradigmatic institutions play a dominant role.

Associated academics: Dr. Luis Nitrihual (Coordinador), Dr. Alberto Javier Mayorga Rojel, Dr. Juan Manuel Fierro y Dra. Sandra López.

Current projects1. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1161253. “La construcción socioimaginaria del Estado y Democracia en el discurso de memorias personales de actores políticos, militares y religiosos de la esfera pública chilena, escritas en el contexto de la dictadura y publicadas durante el periodo 1973-2010”. Dr. Juan Manuel Fierro, Investigador Responsable.

2. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1141289. “El imaginario social del Estado-nación y la Iglesia en la crítica literaria periodística publicada en el Diario El Mercurio por Omer Emeth, Alone e Ignacio Valente, durante el siglo XX”. Dr. Luis Nitrihual Valdebenito, Investigador Responsable.

3. Proyecto Fondecyt N° 1150666. “La construcción del imaginario social de la justicia en los relatos periodísticos publicados por el diario El Mercurio de Chile, entre 1850 y 2014, en el contexto del conflicto Estado-nación y pueblo mapuche: Continuidades y cambios”. Dr. Alberto Javier Mayorga Rojel, Co-Investigador.

4. Proyecto Fondecyt Postdoctorado N° 3150691. “Prensa, Interculturalidad y Género: La Construcción Socioimaginaria sobre el Sufragio Femenino en las Editoriales del Diario Austral de La Araucanía 1935-1949: un Modelo de Análisis del Discurso”. Dra. Sandra López Dietz, Investigadora Responsable.

Area N° 6: History, Border and State-Nation. The line seeks to advance the challenges that are currently present in the region, the country and the world regarding the complexity of coexistence in common spaces of different cultures, as well as the implications of the conformation of national States.

Therefore, emphasizing the temporal variable and positioned in an interdisciplinary view, this line will address two central issues. The first is linked to the processes of intercultural relations in the areas of conquest and colonization (history and society), while the second refers to the constitution of the national states (history and state).

Associated academics: Dr. Jaime Flores (Coordinador), Dr. Jorge Pinto, Dr. Alvaro Bello y Dra. Yéssica González.