The PhD Thesis


Preparing a doctoral thesis is part of a personal and professional project clearly defined in its goals as in its requirements.

First, the goal of a supervisor is to obtain financial grant. The supervisor informs the candidate (potential doctoral student) of the availability of the resources for the preparation of his thesis (ministerial scholarship, regional doctoral research grant, industry funding like CIFRE, and grant from other associations). Acquiring an effective financing is mandatory for thesis registration.

The various steps taken by the actors are listed on the registration form. The means to facilitate the professional integration are based on clear commitments from the doctoral student. Doctoral student will comply with the rules of Doctoral School, and will follow trainings, conferences, and seminars. In connection with the professional integration of the doctoral student, additional training is proposed by supervisor and director of the hosting research department, to broaden the scientific knowledge in the subject area. These training, which are the subject of a certificate from the director of the doctoral school, broaden the doctoral student’s scientific horizon and facilitate the future employability. Meanwhile, the doctoral student must be concerned about his/her integration by contacting potential future employers (research teams, universities, companies, in France or abroad).

The director of the host team and the supervisor shall make every effort to facilitate and encourage the participation in doctoral courses offered by Doctoral School. This strategy may include participation in research days. Depending on disciplines and research teams, this range of additional training may usefully include a business trip (industrial tour) of a few weeks.

The participation of doctoral students in seminars, national and international scientific meetings, regardless of their location, and the submission by the work from their research, are encouraged and facilitated; therefore, they can apply for a financial support.

PhD students who are considering a professional integration in higher education are offered special training, participation in the tasks of teaching and support in the preparation of applications for teaching positions (Temporary Teaching and Research Associates).


The thesis registration specifies the subject, the context of the thesis and the host research department (laboratory). The thesis leads to the realization of a work that is both original and innovative, whose feasibility is clearly defined in terms of duration.

The choice of thesis topic is based on the agreement between the student, the supervisor, in consultation with the director of the host team, formalized at the time of registration. The thesis director (supervisor), who is called upon because of a recognized mastery of the concerned research field, helps the doctoral student to identify the innovative character in the scientific context and ensures that it is up to date; it also ensures that the doctoral student shows an innovative spirit.

The supervisor defines and brings together the means to implement to enable the completion of work. To this end, the student is fully integrated into research unit or the host laboratory, where s/he has access to the same facilities that researchers hold to complete his research (equipment, including computer resources, documentation, technical support).

The director and members of the host team require the doctoral student to respect a certain number of rules, related to scientific and research ethics that they themselves share as a community. The director of the host team, if necessary, may have the doctoral student sign a confidentiality agreement and/or medical confidentiality agreement. We cannot impose on the doctoral student activities harmful to the advancement of his/her thesis.

If the student wishes to invest in research activities having no connection with his thesis, or research in a field different from the one previously defined by his supervisor, he has to get permission from the latter and the head of the host team. The PhD student, meanwhile, commits to a time and a pace of work. He has a duty to notify his supervisor and to provide information on difficulties encountered on the advance of his thesis. He must show initiative in the conduct of his research.


The PhD student is entitled to a personal coaching from his supervisor, who undertakes to allocate a substantial portion of his time. It is necessary that the principle of regular and frequent meetings must be defined during the initial agreement.

The PhD student presents to his supervisor as many notes that progress requires its subject and presents his work in the laboratory seminars. The thesis supervisor regularly monitors the progression of work and debate new directions it might take considering past achievements. He informs the student of positive comments or objections and criticism that his work might lead to, especially during the defense.


A thesis is a step in a research process. It must respect the deadlines, in the spirit of doctoral studies and the interest of the candidate. The reference time of preparation of a thesis is three years. At the end of the second year the foreseeable future of defense is discussed considering the progress of research work.

Extensions may be granted, exceptionally justified by request, after consultation with the supervisor and the director of the host team. This agreement does not mean automatic renewal of funding which the PhD student would have benefited from. The possibility of aid can be explored, especially for doctoral students with social problems. Extensions remain exceptional.

They are proposed to the head of the establishment on the advice of the director of the doctoral school, after an interview between the doctoral student and the thesis director. They intervene situations, salaried work, full-time or part-time teaching, specificity of research inherent in certain disciplines, taking of particular risk. They do not in any case substantially modify the nature and intensity of research work as they were initially defined by mutual agreement.


The quality and impact of the thesis are measured through publications or patents and industrial reports which will be from work, whether the theory itself or of the products during or after the preparation of manuscript. Writing publications is an integral part of the research. The student must appear as co-author. The order of co-authors of a paper at a conference or seminar and publications should reflect the work done by each author.


At the end of the three years, the student writes a substantial report on this research work called a thesis. The supervisor provides, in consultation with the student and the Doctoral School, the composition of the examining committee in compliance with government regulations and recommendations taken by each graduate school, and the defense date. Admission is granted, after deliberation by the jury. No note is issued. The Jury President shall prepare a report that the entire jury countersigns.

The doctoral thesis is sanctioned by a national diploma. The PhD student hence obtains the degree of doctor.