Organization of Ph.D. StudiesFebruary 11 2022
Ph.D. students conduct their research in a research team in the doctoral school where they are enrolled, under the supervision and responsibility of a thesis advisor. Their thesis may be jointly supervised by two thesis advisors.
Thesis Charter and Individual Training Agreement
Upon enrolling for doctoral studies, the doctoral candidate, doctoral advisor, and director of the research unit sign a Thesis Charter. In so doing, they respectively commit to following the rules of AgroParisTech and the doctoral school. The Charter sets out the rules and obligations applicable to the Ph.D. student, the thesis advisor, and the director of the research unit. An individual training agreement is drafted in accordance with the terms of the charter. More specifically, the thesis advisor and director of the research unit commit to ensuring that doctoral candidates are well integrated into the research team and have access to its technical and material resources. Ph.D. students, in turn, commit to following the research unit’s current rules and, where applicable, not disclosing the details of its research, as well as to actively pursuing their research and keeping their thesis advisor regularly informed of how work is progressing.
Generally, doctoral studies are completed in three years. Exemptions may be granted by the head of the institution following a proposal by the doctoral school director, after consulting with the thesis advisor and the research unit’s governing board, on the basis of a request from the Ph.D. student in which the student explains their reasons an extension is needed. The list of students who have received an exemption is presented to the scientific committee each year.
Reenrolling for a new academic year is not required if the thesis is defended between September 1 and December 31.
In addition to research, Ph.D. students must contribute to their education through additional training approved by their doctoral school.
Courses may be offered by the doctoral school itself or by other schools. Courses taken outside the doctoral school must be specifically approved by the doctoral school (requests should be made before starting a course).
All Ph.D. students must take the courses and follow the rules required by their doctoral school, regardless of where they are enrolled. AgroParisTech Ph.D. students will therefore take different courses depending upon whether they are enrolled with the ABIES, GAIE, or SIReNa doctoral schools. The number of course hours required to defend a thesis and ways of calculating them (credits, points, or hours) will therefore differ depending on the doctoral school.
Notes on the Decree of May 25, 2016
Doctoral studies conclude with a thesis defense, which must take place on a campus of the school of enrollment (with some exceptions) and, if possible, within the prescribed timeframe (three years).
Authorization to Defend a Thesis
According to article 17 of the Decree of May 25, 2016:
The authorization to defend a thesis is granted by the director of the higher education institution, after consulting with the director of the doctoral college, on the basis of a proposal made by the thesis advisor. The candidate’s work is first examined by at least two rapporteurs nominated by the director of the higher education institution and who hold an Accreditation to Direct Research (HDR) or fall into one of the categories mentioned in paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 16 of the decree, on a proposal from the director of the doctoral school, and after consulting with the thesis advisor. Rapporteurs must be from outside the doctoral candidate’s doctoral school and institution. They share their view through written reports on the basis of which the director of the institution authorizes the oral exam.
Constitution of the Thesis Examination Committee
According to article 18:
The thesis examination committee is nominated by the director of the higher education institution, after consulting with the director of the doctoral school and the thesis advisor. It includes four to eight members. At least half of it must be made up of French or international individuals from outside the doctoral candidate’s doctoral school and school of enrollment, chosen for their scientific or professional expertise in the relevant research field, subject to provisions governing jointly supervised international theses.
Its composition must reflect a balanced representation of women and men.
At least half of the committee must be full professors or equivalent, as defined by provisions on the nomination of members of the National Council of Universities, or teachers with an equivalent rank who do not fall under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education.
Members of the committee nominate a chairperson from among their ranks, and if required, a rapporteur for the thesis defense. The chairperson must be a full professor or equivalent, or a teacher with an equivalent rank as defined in the previous paragraph, who is not involved in supervising the thesis. An accreditation to supervise theses is not a sufficient qualification to chair a thesis examination committee. The thesis advisor participates in the committee, but does not take part in its decision.
Please always refer to the doctoral school’s website to learn about specific requirements about juries.
According to article 19:
The thesis defense is public except where an exemption is exceptionally granted by the director of the institution because the subject of the thesis has a proven confidential nature.
As part of its deliberations, the thesis examination committee assesses the quality of the doctoral candidate’s work, its innovative character, the doctoral candidate’s aptitude for placing it into a scientific context, and their ability to convey it.
In accordance with article 24 of the decree, the committee may require corrections to be made.
Thesis examination committee members may participate in the thesis defense by video conferencing or electronic communication methods that make it possible to identify them and enable them to effectively participate in collegial deliberations, and whose technical characteristics ensure a continuous and simultaneous transmission of discussions.
Acceptance or failure is pronounced after deliberation by the examination committee.
The chairperson and all members of the examination committee present sign the thesis defense report.
Thesis defense reports are sent to new Ph.D. holders in the month following their thesis defense.
At least two months before the thesis defense, the thesis advisor sends the director of the doctoral school the proposed makeup of the examination committee. AgroParisTech’s Department of Doctoral Studies then approves the examination committee’s proposal.
A meeting with AgroParisTech’s library staff is organized with the doctoral candidate to ensure that their thesis is properly listed online (Thèses.fr, Tel.fr, HAL Open Archive, Infodoc, etc.).
The Department of Doctoral Studies carries out the necessary formalities prior to the oral exam:
Requesting reports from rapporteurs;
Requesting an overview of courses taken since the beginning of the thesis;
Summoning the examination committee after receiving recommendations from rapporteurs,
Preparing thesis defense records (thesis defense report, diplomas, thesis registration).
The Director of AgroParisTech’s Department of Doctoral Studies authorizes the thesis defense to proceed based on the aforementioned records and after consultation with the director of the doctoral school.
Doctoral degrees are awarded by the head of the institution.
The Department of Doctoral Studies sends the necessary documents to the library for theses to be registered.
Please refer to individual doctoral school websites.
In all cases, doctoral candidates must use their personal ADUM account.
Note: A “European label” may be awarded following the thesis defense if certain conditions are fulfilled (please refer to specific rules in place at the school awarding the degree):
doctoral candidates must have spent at least three months in another European country;
at least two rapporteurs must be nationals of two European countries other than the one where the thesis defense is held;
part of the thesis defense must be spoken in a language other than that of the country where it takes place.