Composition, in short

The reviewers

2 reviewers

  • authorized to supervise research
  • external to Université Paris-Saclay
  • no co-publications with the doctoral candidate

The examination panel

4 to 8 members

  • at least half of the panel must be composed of professors or persons of equivalent status
  • at least half of the panel must be composed of members external to Université Paris-Saclay
  • one of the members must be a member of Université Paris-Saclay, and may not be the thesis supervisor
  • the thesis supervisor is part of the examination panel, but will not vote or participate in the decision (Learn more...)

Some of the characteristics of doctoral training (personalized supervision, training by the doctoral project and the requirement of originality), make that each thesis is unique and is evaluated by an examination panel composed according to its own characteristics. The composition of the examination panel is provided both on the degree award and on the cover page of the thesis.

The composition of the examination panel obeys some basic principles, which are associated with regulatory constraints and opportunities for derogations (learn more about the regulatory framework below):

  • Legitimacy: The doctoral degree is a national higher education degree that benefits from an international recognition. The examination panel must be composed of more than one half of members in a position of deciding on behalf of the higher education system taken in its international dimension.
  • Expertise: The dissertation presents a set of original scientific work. The examination panel must hence be composed of members recognized as competent and able to decide on the originality of the work presented with respect to the international context. Each member of the examination panel, taken individually, may not be a specialist in all matters addressed in the thesis, but, taken as a whole, the examination panel shall form a group of experts, in a situation to decide on each aspects of the thesis.
  • Independence: The doctorate is a degree and the thesis defense is an assessment. The examination panel must therefore provide all the necessary guarantees of independence in this assessment. It must have at least more than one half of external members, with no subordination or interest or proximity proved, with the candidate, the supervisor, the doctoral school, the research group or the institution.

These simple principles ensure the doctor the best possible recognition of his degree.

Furthermore, it is recommended to take into account the professional project of the doctoral candidate to compose the examination panel. Indeed, participation in the examination panel brings its members an in-depth knowledge of the work of the candidate, who has few equivalents and which can provide a competitive advantage to a doctor during a subsequent recruitment, especially as lecturer or research fellow. This in-depth knowledge is also useful for the institution that considers his recruitment

Regulatory framework

The reviewers

Information out of articles 17, 18 and 19 of the Decree of May 25, 2016, setting the national training framework and procedures leading to the issue of the national doctoral degree and of the Doctoral Charter of Université Paris Saclay .

The functions of reviewers can be exercised by:

  • by professors and staff assimilated under the provisions of article 6 of Decree No. 92-70 relative to the National Council of Universities and of article 5 of Decree No. 87-31 for the disciplines of health, or by professors of equivalent rank that are not of the Ministry of higher education, by the research staff of the universities, public bodies and research foundations, authorized to supervise research;
  • by other personalities, PhDs, selected for their scientific competence by the head of the institution, upon proposal of the director of the doctoral school and having sought the opinion of the scientific council of the institution.

The reviewers must be from outside the candidate's doctoral school and institution. Reviewers must have no connection with the doctoral project; they must not have signed any publications with the doctoral candidate.

Reviewers belonging to foreign institutes of higher education or research may also be called in for this purpose.

In the case of research work involving the socio-economic world people who do not belong to the academic world, a third reviewer, recognized for his skills in the field, may be appointed upon proposal from the Director of the graduate school, after notice of the thesis Director.

Special circumstances may arise such that exemptions are sought regarding the reviewer selection process. When most of the researchers in the field belong to the same doctoral school of Université Paris-Saclay, a substantiated application for exemption may be addressed to the council of the Doctoral School so that one of the reviewers may be selected from within Université Paris-Saclay or within the Doctoral School. In that event, the said reviewer must be from outside the research unit in which the doctoral candidate works, have signed no joint publications with the thesis supervisor for the past five years, and not be involved, at the time of the request for exemption, in a joint research project with the thesis supervisor.

The members of the examination panel

The number of members on the panel shall be between 4 and 8.

It shall be made up of at least 50% prominent figures, French or foreign, from outside the doctoral school and the institute in which the applicant is enrolled, chosen for their knowledge in a scientific field, subject to the provisions set out on international joint supervision of doctoral theses.

At least half of the panel must be composed of professors or persons of equivalent status as per the conditions on appointing members of the National Council of Universities or teachers of an equivalent rank not under the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education.

One of the members of the examination panel must be a member of Université Paris-Saclay, and may not be the thesis supervisor.

The thesis supervisor may be chosen neither as reviewer nor as chairman. The chairman must be a professor or equivalent

"The thesis supervisor is part of the examination panel, but will not vote or participate in the decision". This means that the thesis supervisor is taken into account amongst the members of the examination panel regarding its rules of composition, that he signs the thesis defence report form, but that he does not sign the minutes of Defense since he does not participate in the decision.

Special circumstances may arise such that exemptions are sought regarding the reviewer selection process. When most of the researchers in the field belong to the same doctoral school of Université Paris-Saclay, a substantiated application for exemption may be addressed to the council of the Doctoral School so as to waive the rules on the required proportion of non-institution member. An exemption may be granted for one member of the examination panel.

In that event, the said member of the examination panel must be from outside the research unit in which the doctoral candidate works, have signed no joint publications with the thesis supervisor for the past five years, and not be involved, at the time of the request for exemption, in a joint research project with the thesis supervisor.