Find out more about the doctorate

Find out more about the doctorate

The doctorate is the highest internationally recognised degree in higher education. The degree is awarded after the defence of a thesis at the end of a research period of 3 years for a full-time thesis and 6 years for a part-time thesis.


Order of May 25, 2016 , setting the national framework for training and the procedures leading to the award of the national doctoral diploma

Order of February 22, 2019 , defining the competencies of doctoral graduates and registering the doctorate in the national directory of professional certification

Three possible schemes for preparing a doctorate

Full-time education

The PhD student enrols for a thesis within one year of completing a Master's degree or equivalent. Funding, the reference amount of which corresponds to the remuneration of the public law doctoral contract, is requested for the preparation of the thesis. The PhD student conducts his research in one of the research units affiliated to the doctoral school. He also attends the activities and training courses offered by the Doctoral School. The thesis is full-time, and the PhD student has 3 years to defend his/her thesis. After 3 years, annual extensions may be given on an exceptional basis by the President of the University.

Lifelong training (FTLV)

Enrolment in a thesis occurs at least one year after obtaining a Master's degree or equivalent initial training. Alternatively, the thesis is being prepared in parallel with a main job (which provides more than half of the income) that is not devoted to the preparation of the thesis. No dedicated funding is required for the preparation of the thesis. The PhD student conducts his/her research in one of the research units affiliated with the doctoral school. He also participates in activities and training courses organised by the doctoral school. The thesis is typically completed on a part-time basis over a period of six years. Annual extensions may be granted by the university president beyond the initially set duration on an exceptional basis.

Validation of prior experience (VAE)

This registration scheme is open to individuals who, over the course of their careers, have carried out original research in an academic or non-academic environment that forms a coherent whole. The objective is not to initiate a new research project, but to synthesise a body of research carried out in a professional environment. (more info)

Possible statuses

A doctoral contract may be based on public or private law. It is concluded for an initial period of 3 years between the PhD student enrolled in doctoral training and an employer whose employees are either in the public sector (EPSCP, EPST, etc.) or in the private sector (EPIC, FRUP, EESPIG, companies). It may be extended by amendment twice for a maximum of one year each time. (more info)