The thesis defense is the final element of the doctorate. In the procedures required in anticipation of the defense (filing the date of defense, choice of reporters, committee selection, ...), the ED enforces the national rules and those specific to each partner institution. The administrative procedures must be undertaken at least two months before the scheduled date of the defense. The procedures, varying with the institution of the doctoral student’s enrollment, are detailed below, following a review of the general principles relating to the granting of the doctorate.
The preparation of the doctorate is generally carried out in 3 years. Exemptions may be granted by the head of the institution, on the suggestion of the director (or deputy director) of ED and upon proposal of the thesis advisor and if needed after consulting the council of the graduate program, following a reasoned request from the candidate.
The doctoral degree is awarded by the enrollment institution of the doctoral student on the basis of :
- A training program;
- A thesis;
- A defense (viva voice), which is the final phase.
The thesis must be written in French as required by law. An exemption for a thesis in English may be granted by the Board of the ED if the native language of the PhD candidate is not French, if one of the two reporters is not French speaking, or possibly at the student’s request. If writing in English, the candidate must provide a summary of 15-20 pages in French..
Permission to present a thesis for defense is granted by the head of the institution, after consultation with the director of the ED, on the the proposal of the thesis director.
The defense authorization is based primarily on the reports of two scientific experts in the field of research. The two reporters should be primarily chosen for their scientific expertise, but their impartiality must be certified by a number of conditions. Specifically, the reporters must:
- be "qualified for directing research" (French HDR degree) a or have a qualified exemption,
- be external to the institution of enrollment of the doctoral student,
- be external to the graduate program (check here),
- not taking part in the work of the thesis, not a collaborator, and not the thesis advisor of the student
(the more accurate meaning of this criterion depends on the institution).
The thesis committee is appointed by the head of the institution after consultation with the director of the ED and the thesis advisor. The committee has between 3 and 8 members, generally including the thesis advisor; the presence of a professor or similar from the enrollment institution who differs from the thesis advisor is, depending on the institution, advised or required. Including the two reporters, at least half of the committee must be from outside the ED and the enrollment institution and, for at least half, professors or similar, or researchers of equivalent rank.
Detailed procedures according to institution of enrollment: