Apply for a PhD

Applying to the PhD

Admission to a doctoral program requires rigorous preparation beforehand. For most future doctoral students, it begins during the last year of their Master's degree. It is at this point that you must begin to take the various steps required to apply for a doctorate in order to put together an application file. It is on the basis of this file that the doctoral school decides whether or not to admit you to the program. You will find below all the information on the different steps to follow.

Conditions for admission to the doctorate

  • To be in possession of a Master 2 or equivalent with an average grade superior or equal to 12/20
  • Be able to justify a first research experience
  • To have identified a thesis subject
  • Have a thesis director
  • Have funding

To begin with, one must have a general idea of the desired subject area of research.
Visit the web-sites of the 8 research laboratories affiliated to the Doctoral School to have an idea of who does what.
Contact by e-mail the faculty members which interest you, or by default the head of the desired research group.
Send an email to the ED Infomaths secretariat with your CV, your Master's grades, a letter of motivation specifying the desired research topic.

Funding is the equivalent of the doctoral student's remuneration for his or her research work. Funding is sometimes associated with a thesis topic proposed by a laboratory, sometimes it is up to the doctoral student to take the necessary steps to obtain one. In all cases, the doctoral student can be advised by his/her thesis director.

The doctoral candidate must provide proof of a minimum amount of funding corresponding to that required by the university in which he or she is enrolled and to the requirements of the doctoral school. At the University of Lyon 1, for example, the minimum amount is the doctoral contract (1340€ net/month). The funding must cover the entire duration of the thesis. Without this funding, no application or re-registration can be validated.

There are different funding schemes and sources for which it is possible to apply. Most of them now involve a work contract between the doctoral student and the funding organization. This means that the doctoral student receives a salary and that both he or she and the employer contribute to social security.
The different funding methods

The doctoral contract is a three-year employment contract, signed between the doctoral student and a public institution of higher education and research or by a public research institute. It is characterized by a remuneration fixed by ministerial decree (from 1685€ to 2024€ gross for the year 2012/2013).

To obtain this type of contract, the candidate must be presented by his or her laboratory to the doctoral school competition organized each year.

As part of the doctoral contract, the doctoral student agrees to participate in the activities of the institution and the laboratory. The complementary activities can be teaching hours (64 hours/year), a mission of expertise, an activity of dissemination of scientific and technical culture, an activity of valorization of the research (in these last cases, 32 days/year).

The CIFRE (Convention Industrielle de Formation par la Recherche) scheme brings together three partners in a research project: a company, a doctoral student and a research laboratory. The doctoral student is recruited and employed by the company for a minimum of three years under a private law contract. During this period, he or she will carry out full-time research work on a subject that is of interest to the company, the laboratory and the candidate. The company is subsidized by the ministry in charge of higher education. The hiring salary cannot be less than 23 484 € gross per year.

Numerous research organizations offer thesis funding. It is advisable to get information primarily from the websites of these organizations that you can find below. By clicking on "Learn more", you will find a non-exhaustive list of these organizations.

Temporary teaching and research associate (ATER) positions are offered by institutions to doctoral students in their final year of study. They are open mainly to doctoral students in the final year of their thesis (the candidate must commit to defending his or her thesis before the end of the calendar year (renewable once for a period of one year)) and to category A civil servants. The ATER teaches within the institution, full time (193 hr EQ TD) or part time (96 hr Eq TD)

Some governments offer funding to their nationals, French embassies or foundations. Candidates should contact these entities directly to find out how to apply.

If you are in possession of such a grant and wish to do a PhD in one of the partner laboratories of the InfoMaths ED, you should inform the management of the doctoral school in advance.

To find out about the funding possibilities available to you as a foreign doctoral student, consult the Campus France website. By selecting your country of origin, you will have access to all the information concerning the main sources of financing and agreements in progress between your country of origin and France.

If you are already a salaried employee (e.g.: hospital practitioner) you are already financed. However, your obligations related to this income must remain compatible with the completion of your doctorate within a period acceptable to the ED. For more information, please contact the ED secretariat.