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Introducing the PhD

What is the PhD?

The PhD is defined by the Decree of the French Community (Bologna Decree) as the third cycle of university studies leading to the Academic degree of PhD. This degree is awarded by the faculty after the presentation of an original essay resulting from personal research work: the doctoral thesis. The PhD is the highest qualification a candidate can pursue in a particular field of study.



In practical terms?

Overall, the PhD is a structured combination of research work and customised training, allowing the candidate to acquire advanced scientific knowledge as well as a broad range of cross-disciplinary skills. The doctoral candidate is placed into a research project which is often carried out by a whole team of researchers. Candidates can thus benefit from the experience of their peers and elders. Throughout the course of their PhD, until the defence of their thesis, candidates are able to benefit from this set-up.

See the Admission requirements for the PhD

From day to day

The researcher’s activity is structured around three axes:

  • Disciplinary thematic training
  • Cross training
  • Scientific Production


Throughout the 4 year doctoral journey (6 years for research assistants), the researcher will have the opportunity to follow an appropriate training programme - the doctoral training – be it in a thematic doctoral school, in seminars or specific lectures or through various educational trips and collaborative work.

Search and find

It is through research work that the thesis takes on its meaning. Becoming a researcher means taking up the challenge of bringing solutions to specific problems with the aim of improving, enhancing, facilitating and innovating things. Rather than claiming to revolutionise the world, the researcher’s passion pushes him to take part in this revolution.

Hence the doctoral candidate is curious about and interested in the field he is investigating. His ambition is to continually improve his understanding of his field and to contribute his expertise to the emergence of new techniques and concepts.