So you’re thinking of getting your PhD in France in your chosen field of study but you’re not sure of where to begin. Do not worry, this article will have all the information you need plus a few bonus fun facts about getting your PhD in France. 

How Do I Get My PhD? 

First and foremost, you need to know that before you can enroll in a Doctorate in France, you need to find a thesis topic and a thesis supervisor. After that, your chosen doctoral school must accept you.

The reason why you need to have a thesis subject and supervisor before you enrol in a Doctorate is because in France, there are no “doctoral programs” that allow you to have the first year to decide on a thesis topic and give you time to find a thesis supervisor. 

To enter a Doctorate you must have a Master’s degree, or the equivalent of that. So it’s advised that if you’re interested in getting a Doctorate in France, you should start looking in your second year of your Master’s program. 

How Much Will It Cost to Get My PhD?

Funding for your Doctorate tuition is not a problem since it’s €391 per year but rather your living expenses like salary, grants, generally speaking you’d need more than €1000 a month. It depends what you’re studying on how much funding you need or if you need any at all. 

For example, in the natural and technological sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering), you do need funding. But in some cases in the social sciences and humanities (law, history, sociology, management, etc.), you don’t need funding to enroll.

How to Enroll for a Doctorate in Your Chosen Subject?

As mentioned before, there are a few differences between studying natural sciences and social sciences. One of them was funding, the other is the application process. The subject you pick will fall in the scope of these two divisions: natural and technological sciences & social sciences and humanities. 

  1. Natural and Technological Sciences

The first thing you need to do is apply for a thesis subject that is published by French researchers. There are two types of subjects you can pick from.

  • Subjects already funded by the host establishment (Contract);
  • Subjects that you need to have your own funding for (Grant); 

As soon as you find the subject you like, all that’s left to do is contact the researcher or the doctoral school that published the subject. You can find these subjects here.

  1. Social Sciences and Humanities 

If you’d like to, you can prepare your own research project that you can present to a researcher. But you should keep in mind to be very specific, make sure that the researcher specializes in exactly what you want your topic to be about. You can also pick your own subject on social sciences and humanities here to see if you find something suitable for you.

How long will it take to get my PhD?

Getting a PhD in France takes 3-6 years to complete.The duration may vary depending on the field you’re studying but there is no legal time limit. For example in natural and technological sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, etc.) it takes approximately 3 to 4 years to complete your Doctorate. Whereas in social sciences and humanities (law, history, sociology, management, etc.) it will approximately take 4 to 5 years.

Can I Get My PhD in English?

Fortunately, you can get your PhD in France in English, but it also varies depending on the field you’re studying. For example in the natural and technological sciences it’s very possible to conduct research and write your thesis entirely in English, but in the arts and humanities it’s not as common. Be sure to search the university of your choice and see if they allow you to get your PhD in English. Here are some Universities we found where you can get your PhD in English.

  1. ISM – International School of Management 

Their PhD program allows you to gain the skills and experience you need to succeed in the world of business. It produces experienced and highly motivated business professionals by conducting original research in academia. You can also get the degree online and it takes 4 to 7 years to do so. 

  1. EIT Manufacturing

EIT Manufacturing’s doctoral program offers research possibilities in areas such as: People and Robots for Sustainable Work, Additive Manufacture for Full Flexibility, Zero-Defect Manufacture for a Circular Economy, and Platforms for digitalized value networks. It takes 2 years to complete the Doctorate and you can of course do it in English. 

  1. Toulouse School of Management 

Toulouse School of Management offers five fields of study with a curriculum that allows students to thrive in an intelligent and creative atmosphere. This doctoral program is very competitive as it only admits 10 to 20 PhD students every year. The duration of the degree is 5 years and you can get it in English. 

  1. Institut Polytechnique de Paris

All the doctoral programs in mathematics are consolidated within the Hadamard Doctoral School of Mathematics (EDMH) and co-accredited with Paris-Saclay University and PSL University. This PhD program includes all kinds of mathematics and other subjects such as: economics, IT, mechanical engineering, physics, engineering, and life sciences. The duration of the degree is 3 years and you can get it in English. 

  1. Institut Polytechnique de Paris

This university also offers a PhD program in sciences and engineering with around 900 doctoral students, supervised by more than 800 researchers. It offers research in areas such as: Biology and Chemistry, Computing, Data and Artificial Intelligence, Economics, Management, and Social Sciences, Information, Communications, Electronics, Mechanical and Energetic Engineering, and Physics. The duration of this English PhD program is 3 years. 

A lot of Universities such as Institut Polytechnique de Paris and Horizons University offer multiple PhD programs in English in various subjects, you can go check out your chosen University or research facility’s website and see if and how many PhD programs do they offer in English. 

Can I Get a Scholarship for a PhD?

Luckily, there are plenty of scholarships for PhD students to apply for. Even though the tuition fee for a Doctorate is approximately only €391 per year, there are a lot of other things that will cost you to get your PhD. As mentioned before, there are such cases where you will need funding to conduct research and get a thesis supervisor. Here are some PhD scholarships that you might find useful. 

Of course these are not the only ones, the University of your choice might possibly offer a PhD scholarship that you can find out on their website. 

Can I Get My PhD Online?

One of the many perks of getting your PhD in France is the ability to complete it virtually. Maybe you can’t get your Doctorate physically for some reason, or you just want to get it from the comfort of your own home but still want the benefits the French education has to offer. Whatever the reason may be, you can do just that. Here are some of the best online PhD programs in France.

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