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What is a doctorate (French PhD)?

The doctorate includes training and research leading to a doctorate thesis document. 
This section presents the essential steps for your doctoral experience up to the defense. 
 

The PhD program

The PhD program includes 8 courses leading to a minimum of 105 hours and participation to the annual ED SEG workshop.
Courses are provided by the doctoral school and Université de Lyon and located in the various buildings of the institutions of Lyon and Saint-Etienne. Among more than 50 courses you can chose, some are in French and other are in English.
See more (in French)

The doctorate thesis

Your research activity is conducted in you research center. This research leads to a doctoral thesis document. French is the usual language. However, English can be authorized upon request from the doctorate advisor. This request has to be addressed to the head of the institution prior to the submission of the defense application. 
 
If the student is granted permission to write his/her thesis in English, the following elements must nevertheless be provided in French:
►Cover page in French, with the thesis title in both languages.
►An extended summary of about 10% of the thesis (this requirement can vary depending on universities)
In the case of jointly supervised theses or theses with the "European Doctorate" label, specific agreements must be followed. 
 
 

Preparing your defense


Choosing the date and location of the thesis defense
It is up to the thesis advisor to propose a thesis defense date, at least 3 months prior the date of the defense.
Note that a thesis defense scheduled after the 30th of September necessitates the student's reregistration for the new academic year.
The thesis defense is held at the PhD student's institution of registration, though exceptions may be granted with the approval of the institution's head. For jointly supervised theses, the defense location is specified in the "co-supervision agreement".
The choice of two examiners ("rapporteurs")
Examiners must be professors or research directors (at CNRS, INSERM, etc.) or researchers/teacher-researchers, and they must hold an HDR or "accreditation to supervise research". For foreign examiners (professors or non professors, from countries where HDR accreditation does not exist), a detailed CV (listing their works and publications) must be attached to the PhD student's request. The proposed examiners must be from outside both the student's institution of registration and his/her doctoral school.
Composition of the thesis defense committee
♦The committee must comprise between 4 and 8 members including the two examiners.
♦At least half of the committee members must be professors or hold a similar status.
♦At least half of the committee members must be from outside of the student's institution of registration and his/her doctoral school.
♦The committee must be as close to gender parity as possible.
 

Preparing the administrative defense application

While it is the doctoral school that grants the PhD student authorization to defend his/her thesis, the actual thesis defense procedure is governed by the French ministerial Order of 7 August 2006, as well as by certain specific provisions proper to each university. For this reason, we invite you to consult the website of your "institution of registration" for more information on the calendar and the various steps for preparing your dossier. Below, you will find general information on these steps.

Preparing the defense involves 3 administrative steps starting three months before the defense.
 
3 months prior to the defense: The doctoral school shall grant thesis defense authorization to those applicants fulfilling the following criteria:
 
► validation of the doctoral program
► legal conformity of the committee.
 
The PhD student must provide the proposal for the two examiners to the doctoral school office. This document must include the exact title of the thesis in French, as well as the names of both examiners with exact status. 
The PhD student must also propose the full defense committee with names and status of each committee member.
 
2 months prior to the defense: The head of the institution shall officially name the examiners and inform them of their mission. This "green light" allows the applicant to officially send his/her thesis document to the chosen examiners. 
Examiners' reports must reach the doctoral school no later than one month prior to the scheduled defense date.

1 month prior to the defense: Once examiners' reports have been received, and provided they are positive, the head of the PhD student's institution can sign the thesis defense authorization. The defense notification is published and committee members invited.

D Day :The defense is usually in French but can be in English upon request addressed to the head of the institution prior to the submission of the defense application. If the defense is in French, the report of the defense must be in French. 
In the case of jointly supervised theses or theses with the "European Doctorate" label, specific agreements must be followed.
For further information, please contact the doctoral school office.