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training courses

Enrol as a PhD student

The first step in enrolling for a PhD is to find a host laboratory and funding for three years.
Enrolment conditions
To enrol for a PhD (= thesis), the student must hold a predominantly research-oriented Master’s. Holders of degrees other than a Master's can apply for a PhD programme but must be able to show a career path demonstrating their ability to carry out a research project. Degree exemption may be granted to students who have studied to equivalent level abroad or students able to show validation of prior experience. All PhD students must enrol in an institution accredited to award the PhD AND in a doctoral school which arranges the training and monitoring of the students. 
But the first step is to pick out a host laboratory, identify a thesis topic and a supervisor and find funding for the three years. Once this initial step has been overcome, the host team will direct the candidate to the doctoral school to which it is attached so that he can submit his thesis project. 

Registration fees for a PhD programme are €391 for the 2016-2017 academic year and must be renewed every year.  

Finding your host laboratory
There are two databases which you can use to find your laboratory:

Funding the thesis
It is mandatory to have funding for three years “in the bag” before starting work on your thesis. All PhD students working in a laboratory must have an employment contract or an equivalent source of funding (allocations by foreign countries), health insurance, social cover for accidents at work and civil liability insurance. Employees who have been working professionally for a certain number of years can also enrol for a thesis and they may be granted specific conditions depending on their constraints.

Different types of funding exist:

  • doctoral fellowships under State contractual status 
The doctoral fellowship is a specific employment contract for PhD students. There are no conditions of age or nationality. The duration is three years, renewable for one year. It sets out the purpose and duration of the assignment entrusted to the PhD student, the type of activities to be assumed and gives a right to leave and seniority of contractual State personnel. They can be allocated by the Ministry of Research and Higher Education and by research bodies.
  • funding through research fellowships or from associations and foundations
 You can be hired to carry out your PhD under a private law employment contract (fixed-term contract), mainly for funding by the National Research Agency, a region or the European Commission.
  • Industrial Agreements for Training through Research (CIFRE) 
CIFRE offers young researchers an opportunity to study for their PhD in a company or public authority, by carrying out a research and development programme in conjunction with a research team outside the company. The student is hired by the company under a private law employment contract (fixed-term or permanent contract).
  • thesis grants for foreign PhD students 
Many foreign governments offer grants to their nationals looking to study for a PhD abroad. The amount of the grants varies depending on the financial bodies. You should check under all circumstances with the doctoral school that sufficient funding has been received.  
Thesis under joint supervision
Theses under joint supervision are encouraged. The PhD student splits his time during the three years between the two countries (France and another country) and the two laboratories involved in his research project.

The two institutions sign an agreement in the first thesis year setting out the joint supervision conditions. Once the thesis has been completed, the two partner institutions award the PhD degrees to the candidate following a single thesis defence.