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The PhD is the highest university qualification and is focused on carrying out research
and on scientific and technological development. As per its definition of 1984 and subsequent integration into the so-called BMD European higher education system, the PhD is prepared within the framework of doctoral schools (DS) which come under universities.

The qualification required to put forward a candidature is a master’s degree obtained after 5 years of higher education.
An exemption to the master’s degree may be granted to candidates with a recognised equivalent qualification. This would be structured training guided by a professional research team within a company or University (universities, research centres).

The PhD must be salaried. To this end, the contributions paid to the retirement fund will enter into the calculation of future rights.

The academic vision given to this highest of university qualifications is far from what it actually represents. In fact, amongst other things, the PhD is of direct use in economic, industrial and social activity. Furthermore, it is recognised throughout the world and represents the opportunity to achieve very rich and varied careers.
Doctors are real driving forces and players within the field of innovation.

Lastly, a Doctor of Chemistry may ply his/her trade in both the private and public sectors, or even as a free-marketeer.


Thesis supervisor

With whom the PhD candidate wishes to work, is the core of this mechanism.

He/she supervises the PhD candidate’s education within the university’s doctoral school
. A thesis charter describing the educational objectives and the commitments of each party is signed by all involved: PhD candidate, thesis supervisor, research unit manager, principal of the doctoral school.


The Doctoral School

From approximately thirty in 1990, the number of DS increased regularly until their generalisation in 2000. There are now about 300 of various sizes and scope: some are single-discipline, others multi-disciplinary, some are linked to a single establishment, others to several.

A DS is accredited for a period of 4 years by the ministry of higher education and research, after assessment by the Haut Conseil de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur (HCERS: French Supreme Council for Research and Higher Education). It is overseen by a principal, assisted by a council on which a significant number of PhD candidates sit.

There role was specified and strengthened by the 2006 decree on doctoral education.

A DS groups together several laboratories that join forces to fulfil the doctoral education mission of one or more higher education and research establishments. It therefore promotes the national and international visibility of this doctoral education and contributes to structuring research within the university to which it is linked.

The DS participates in choosing PhD candidates (Education). The doctoral school ensures there is sufficient remuneration for the PhD candidate. In fact, as preparing a PhD is a professional experience, it is natural that it should be remunerated. This also allows the PhD candidate to develop and prepare his/her thesis full time.

When the PhD candidate enrols, the DS has the thesis charter signed by everyone involved in the doctoral education. It ensures this charter is applied.
  • The DS organises the PhD candidate’s education in conjunction with the thesis supervisor, from first enrolment to the defence.
  • It monitors the PhD candidate throughout the thesis.
  • It also prepares for his/her professional integration after the thesis.
In addition to the work of the laboratory, the DS offers the PhD candidate:
  • Education in his/her discipline: courses, conferences
  • Training courses useful for his/her professional project: professional openness lessons, contacts with members of various professions, skills assessment, English, Doctoriales® certificates, etc
  • It assists the dean of the university in implementing the thesis defence procedure.


After the PhD

The DS monitors the future of doctors for at least 5 years following the thesis being accepted. This follow-up encompasses monitoring their professional integration, producing statistics and even setting up a directory of graduates.

The ministry of research and higher education compiles data every year that it analyses and distributes in detail.

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