Can Master’s degree modules be validated in a doctoral programme?

PhD students may sometimes follow a Master’s degree module in the course of their doctoral programme, for example, if their thesis subject is interdisciplinary and may require a complementary course in a fundamental subject, at the equivalent of a Master’s degree level, in a scientific field other than that studied in their initial programmes.

As a general rule, a candidate cannot be admitted to a doctoral programme without a very sound Master’s degree-level knowledge in their initial field of knowledge. Moreover, a Master’s degree module is generally not valid within a doctoral programme. Therefore, should an additional course be required, it is considered to supplement the doctoral programme and not to substitute for any part.

The director of the doctoral school validates the programme plan for each prospective PhD student and may exceptionally authorise (or advise in certain cases) a PhD student to follow a Master’s degree-level module as part of a doctoral programme.

At the Master’s degree level, courses are mainly focused on knowledge, methods and the understanding and recognition of concepts, while doctorate-level courses rather aim to develop the scientific culture of PhD students in cutting-edge fields of research, both in terms of developments and current practices called into question. Expected outcomes are therefore necessarily different.