Thesis defence

About 90 students graduated every year

Defence procedure


The reviewers
Prior to the defence, the candidate’s work must be examined by at least two reviewers authorized to supervise research, external to the teaching staff of the relevant institution and relevant Doctoral School.
A candidate’s research supervisor may not be chosen as reviewer nor as chairman of the examining board.
The reviewers are required to prepare a report on the work submitted. Such reports, conveyed to the examining board and to the candidate, are subsequently preserved in the candidate’s file.
Thesis defence examining board
For each thesis, an examining board is appointed by the director of the School, on the proposal of the person in charge of the research programme, after taking advice from the director of the Doctoral School.
The examining board shall comprise at least 3 and no more than 8 members, including:
  • the candidate’s research supervisor
  • key figures, either French or foreign, external to the institution and to the Doctoral School, selected on the basis of their scientific competence (1/2 of the board).
Half of the board members must be professors, or assimilated staff under the terms of Article 5 of decree 87-31 of 20 January 1987.
The chairman of the examining board must be a Professor or of comparable rank.
Conduct of the procedure
The research supervisor shall establish a proposal for an examining board, by listing the names and qualifications of each member and, 2 months before the data of the defence, convey a list to the Research Directorate which, in turn, shall seek the approval of the Director of the School and the Director of the Doctoral School.
The person in charge of the programme, in agreement with the research supervisor, shall approach the proposed key figures and elicit their agreement with regard both to the duties expected of them and the date planned for the defence.
The convening of the members of the board shall be the exclusive responsibility of the person in charge of the training programme.
The research supervisor shall, no later than twelve days before the defence, convey two reports to all members of the board.
The documents required for the defence (duly signed board membership proposal, minutes of the defence, decision of the board on the publication of the thesis, report on the defence) are sent to the research supervisor, together with those for the candidate; the latter shall fill in the computerized registration forms which he will be required to attach (in paper form) to three copies of the thesis deposited with the doctoral training department.
The defence is open to the public.
The examining board, after deliberation, declares whether the thesis has been admitted or referred.
The chairman of the board shall draft a report on the defence, signed by all members of the board. The candidate will be given a copy of the report.
The chairman shall give a ruling on the possibility of publishing the thesis either in its current state or after corrections.
The Director of the School shall issue an attestation of diploma as soon as 3 definitive copies of the thesis have been deposited with the doctoral training department and on condition that the defence file is complete.
Dissemination of the thesis
Conditions governing the deposit, notification, dissemination and archiving, particularly electronically, of submitted theses, are the subject of a decree dated 7 August 2006.
Authorization for the publication of the thesis is granted by the Director of the School, on the advice of the chairman of the examining board. The latter must therefore, once the defence is over, complete the document entitled “opinion of the examining board on publication of the submitted thesis”, while specifying one of the following possibilities:
  • The thesis may be published in its present form. The Library therefore forwards a copy to the national publishing facility which ensures a micro-printing of theses and distributes them systematically to a series of libraries and major institutions listed in official texts.
  • The thesis cannot be published. The thesis is considered to meet the educational requirements but is not of adequate interest to be disseminated to the scientific community. It can only be the subject of internal consultation at the library which cannot declare it or publish it.
  • The thesis can be published after corrections have been inserted as suggested during the defence. The candidate has three months in which to insert the corrections and submit the definitive copies to the doctorate department. They are then dealt with as in the first case.
These provisions do not apply if the research supervisor, in agreement with the Director of the School, is of the opinion that the topic is of a confidential nature.