PhD Students


Before you can enrol in a PhD in France, you must find a thesis supervisor and subject. What are the steps?


If you wish to do a Doctorate in natural and technological sciences

Note: in this case there is no point in preparing a research project and then trying to find a researcher in a French laboratory who may become your thesis supervisor, as in natural and technological sciences this operates the other way round in France.

1) Apply for thesis subjects that have been published by French researchers.

You will find these subjects on the Campus France platform.

There are two types of subjects: subjects already funded by the host establishment (choose "Type: Contract"), and subjects for which you must have your own funding (choose "Type: Grant").

2) Contact the researcher or Doctoral School that published the subject.


If you wish to do a Doctorate in the social sciences and humanities.

1) Check the Campus France subject platform.

2) Contact the researcher or Doctoral School that published the subject.

If you can't find anything suitable, you will have to prepare a research project that you can then send to a researcher.

How to find a researcher to be a thesis supervisor?

First of all, remember that you must not propose a research project to every researcher in the field that interests you. For example, if your research project is in economics, don't send your proposal to every economist! They already receive an enormous number of requests like that and can't go through them all.

You must target specific people (this is also the rule in marketing). That means the theme of your research project must correspond to the specialty of the researcher. Don't send a proposal on a study of the history of Franco-Spanish relations to a historian specialising in the Far East!

After you've sent the proposal to the right person, you'll have to engage with the researcher in order to refine your thesis topic. To maximize your chances, you need to be flexible and ready to move away from your initial proposal.

And if you are able to obtain funding, say so at the start of your message.


Now the Doctoral School has to approve it so you can enrol in a Doctorate. If funding is required by the Doctoral School, it must be approved before you can enrol.

The annual registration fee for a Doctorate is €391 (2017/18 academic year). Even if you have a doctoral fellowship, you will have to pay the registration fee.

Remember you still need to go through the Campus France USA application. Once you'll receive the confirmation e-mail from Campus France USA, you can apply for a student visa at VFS.

Enjoy your PhD!