PhD in France
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Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is for students, if you represent an institution, please see the faq here


How does one obtain a PhD in France?

Doctoral studies in France are for 3 years, and can be extended for one more year. PhD studies generally begin on the 1st of September, but it may be before or later in the year. PhD programs are managed by Doctoral Schools (Ecoles Doctorales) that can be affiliated to one or several universities. There are 300 Doctoral schools in France; each deals with a specific field of research.


Who can apply?

Aspiring candidates must hold a degree equivalent to a Master’s degree (5 years of higher education). PhD programs are open to ALL nationalities. About 40% PhD candidates in France are NOT French.


How can I apply?

Each institution has its own admission standards. The selection process is likely to include both written applications (CV, statement of purpose and academic references) and interviews.


Is it mandatory to understand French?

Most French laboratories have an international environment and international students; English is widely spoken in all laboratories and doctoral schools. It is therefore not compulsory to speak French. You can write your PhD thesis in English too, for all scientific subjects, but it can be different for law, business and humanities. However, undertaking a PhD in France is also an opportunity to learn French or to improve it!


How much does it cost?

Overall academic costs in France are affordable compared to other countries (around 500 €/year tuition fees in universities) as there is an additional Government support aided to Foreign students in promoting research. Most of the PhD offers are linked to a scholarship of approximately 1684€/month (gross salary). In addition there are several scholarships available for students to apply.


What kind of visa should I apply for?

Once you are accepted in a PhD programme, your host institute in France will send you a “Convention d’accueil” (hosting agreement) allowing you to apply for a scientific visa. This visa is for all the researchers including PhD scholars under the scheme of Doctoral research program in France.


Are there any scholarships?

Generally, all scientific PhD programs are linked to a scholarship called « Contrat Doctoral » for 3 years (1684€ to 2024€ gross salary per month)

CIFRE Scholarship: A CIFRE scholarship is a joint project between a company, a laboratory and a researcher. For more details see here.


If the Thesis offer is not attached with a scholarship, you may have to apply intepedently for a scholarship. We recommend you to go on the "CampusBourse" database of scholarship (and click on the english flag).



The French Embassy in India did not have any scholarship for a full PhD funding, but there is a Raman-Charpak Fellowship program for Indian PhD candidates who can conduct part of their research in a French lab, for 3 to 6 months, for specific topics. They may receive up to 1300 euros/month. For more details visit the CEFIPRA website:

2014 Raman-Charpak program will be launched in March 2014.


Can I find a job after a PhD in France?

French research institutes are amongst the best in the world and a PhD from one of these institutes gives access to opportunities for further research and a sound international environment to study, and work. It will also allow you to identify future career opportunities in research, academia, government, or the industrial sector.


Are you currently pursuing a Bachelor’s or a Master’s program?

Increase your chances of being selected for a PhD program in France!

Doing a master research project in France is a great way to get acquainted with the French research community. Your project supervisor will get the chance to see your skills. He / She will be an ideal reference for future opportunities.

Get paid: In France all projects/internships of 2 months or longer include a minimum stipend of 436€ per month.

Get an additional scholarship: engineering and science students at the Bachelor’s or Master’s levels who plan to do an internship in a French Institutions (maximum 3 months) are eligible to the Charpak Reasearch Internship Scholarship program. This scholarship, granted by the French Embassy in India offers a monthly stipend and many other advantages. For more details visit:


5 years visa after a master’s degree or a PhD from France

Only for Indian National who apply for a visa from India:

Get a 5 year Schengen visa next time you apply for a visa to France!

Multiple-entry Schengen visa for business or tourism, with a 5 year validity (provided your passport is valid for that period)

For more information kindly download this brochure and/or contact the nearest Campus France desk:

Any other questions ?

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PhD in France Website.
© French Embassy in India, CampusFrance 2014.

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