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What framework for my PhD?

The doctorate can be obtained in 3 different settings.

The registration fees are identical in all 3 cases.


Initial training (FI)

Registration for initial training is done in continuity with a master's degree or other training leading to a master's degree.

In initial training, the doctorate is prepared on a full-time basis. The initial duration of the thesis preparation is 3 years. Beyond 3 years, extensions of the thesis preparation period are possible, as an exception.

Funding dedicated to the preparation of the thesis is required for an initial training registration. The reference amount of this financing corresponds to the remuneration of the doctoral contract under public law and the minimum amount is the SMIC.
Exemptions from this funding threshold may be requested from the head of the institution.

Doctoral students have a main research activity in one of the doctoral school's research teams or units. They may have complementary activities outside of research, which contribute to the preparation of their professional future (teaching, scientific mediation, expertise or research promotion missions), limited to one sixth of their time each year.

They also have complementary doctoral activities and training, designed to develop their scientific culture, their international outlook and to prepare them for their future career.

Follow-up committees are organized every year, prior to re-registration.

Lifelong learning (FTLV)

Pathway planning procedure  FTLV  

Registration for lifelong learning concerns two categories of people:

  • Those who obtained their last higher education diploma more than one year before the desired date of first registration in a doctoral program (whether the thesis is prepared full-time or part-time and whatever the conditions of financing envisaged);
  • Those who plan to prepare their thesis in parallel with a main activity other than the preparation of the thesis, whatever the date of obtaining their last diploma. The main activity is understood as the one that brings more than half of the income (this category includes the cases of candidates without income from activity)


In lifelong learning, the doctorate can be prepared on a part-time basis. The duration initially set for the preparation of the thesis depends on the time that can be devoted to the preparation of the thesis and is between 3 and 6 years. A derogation must be requested to extend the thesis beyond the initial duration. In other words, no derogation will be requested before the end of the duration of the thesis initially set whether it is 3, 4, 5 or 6 years.

In all cases, no funding is required for the preparation of the thesis, but an FTLV commission ensures, before the first registration in the doctoral program, that the material and financial conditions are met for the proper preparation of the thesis.

Doctoral students prepare their theses in one of the doctoral school's research teams or units. The division of their time between the research unit and their non-research activities is determined at the time of their first registration.

Like doctoral students in initial training, they also have complementary doctoral activities and training, designed to develop their scientific culture, their international outlook and to prepare them for their future career, but their training courses are adapted to take into account the specificities of their situation.

A reinforced follow-up committee is organized before registration in the second year of the doctorate, to verify, in particular, whether the conditions for the FTLV thesis are adapted or need to be reorganized. Follow-up committees are then normally organized every year, prior to re-registration, but here again, course adjustments are possible and will be examined by the FTLV commission.


Validation of acquired experience (VAE)



The doctoral degree is awarded after the defense of a thesis or the presentation of a body of original scientific work.

Unlike registration in the IF or FTLV programs, registration for a doctorate in the VAE program is done when the original scientific work constitutes a coherent whole that allows for a defense. It may have been carried out entirely outside the academic framework or with a formalized link, for example, by a voluntary research agreement with a laboratory.

Validation of the experience gained is possible, provided that a thesis is written, allowing the personal contribution of the candidate to be appreciated, and after an evaluation of the work by two referees and by the defense jury that is similar in every way to that of doctoral students.

As for doctoral students, the thesis or dissertation will be legally deposited and, if necessary, published on the national portal

Support for the preparation of the dissertation can be provided by a VAE advisor, chosen from among the doctoral school's supervisors. As the work was prepared before the VAE registration, the accompanist is not the thesis director, he/she does not ensure the scientific direction of the research work but only the accompaniment in the writing. He/she plays the role of thesis director for the defense (notably to propose the defense).

PhD procedure in VAE (ref 0826)


Eligibility file for VAE doctorate (ref : 0826)


The Vademecum "VAE and Doctorate" of the Conference of Directors of University Continuing Education Services