Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Source:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

The data presented all come from the survey on doctoral schools conducted by the MENESR, apart from the data in chart 38.03. In this chart, the information on the origin of PhD students is based on individual data collected by the Student Monitoring Information System (SISE), which counts enrolments at universities and similar institutions (major institutions, CUFR (university teaching and research centres), Communities of Universities and Institutions), engineering schools and business and management schools. These data are available for 90% of PhD students.

Theses that form an integral part of the preparation for State diplomas of Doctor of Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry are not taken into account.

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38 PhDs and PhD graduates

At the start of the 2015-16 academic year, 74,450 students were enrolled on a PhD programme. The number of doctoral students enrolled has been falling since 2009. 14,500 PhDs were awarded, stable over the last three years. Approximately three PhD students out of 4 enrolled in the first year receive funding for their thesis.

The survey on doctoral schools carried out by MENESR counted 74,450 students enrolled on a PhD programme at the start of the 2015-16 academic year. This number was 7% less than in the academic year 2009-10. The fall in the number of PhD students mainly concerns social sciences (law, economics, management, sociology, anthropology, etc.), - 9% between 2010 and 2015, and human sciences and humanities (literature, languages, arts, history, Physical Education and Sports Science and Techniques etc.), -13% between 2009 and 2015. It was considerably less marked in scientific fields of education (-3%) (chart 38.01).

The fall in the number of PhD students, the majority of whom are enrolled at university, is essentially due to the decrease in initial enrolments on PhD programmes during this period (chart 38.02). Nearly 17,100 students enrolled on PhD programmes for the first time in the academic year 2015-16, which was 11% less than in 2010-11. This change affects all scientific fields apart from biology, medicine and healthcare, where initial enrolments remained relatively stable during this period.

Only 37% of students enrolled on the first year of a PhD programme at university had been enrolled on a Master's course the previous year (table 38.04). Over half had not been enrolled at university (56%). These included students holding foreign degrees, students resuming their studies after a break of at least one year or those enrolled in non-university engineering schools.

At the start of the 2015-16 academic year, 73% of PhD students enrolled in their first year and whose financial situation was known received some form of funding for their thesis (table 38.05). The majority of PhDs that were funded received public funding, such as a doctoral contract accredited by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) (34%), funding from a research body (10%) or from a local authority (8%). Industrial Agreements for Training through Research (CIFRE) represented 9% of funded PhD and funding for foreign doctoral students represented 18%.

In the 2014 calendar year, 14,540 PhD were awarded. Half of PhD covered scientific fields, 20% human sciences and humanities and 14% social sciences.

The number of PhDs awarded annually increased between 2009 and 2012. This number fell in 2013 and 2014 before rising again in 2015, which therefore meant that they were virtually stable over three years. The number of PhDs awarded in 2015 however remained higher than the number of PhDs awarded in 2010 (+ 6%) (chart 38.03).

The average length of theses, 48 months in 2015, is beginning to fall. The proportion of theses completed in less than forty months increased from 35% to 41% between 2010 and 2015, whereas the number completed in forty months to six years fell from 53% to 47%. The proportion of theses completed in more than six years remained stable (11%).

, &

 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

BOINET Alexis, MAETZ Isabelle, WOLBER Odile. PhDs and PhD graduates. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 38 [Accessed 08/25/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_R_38-phds_and_phd_graduates.php

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The data presented all come from the survey on doctoral schools conducted by the MENESR, apart from the data in chart 38.03. In this chart, the information on the origin of PhD students is based on individual data collected by the Student Monitoring Information System (SISE), which counts enrolments at universities and similar institutions (major institutions, CUFR (university teaching and research centres), Communities of Universities and Institutions), engineering schools and business and management schools. These data are available for 90% of PhD students.

Theses that form an integral part of the preparation for State diplomas of Doctor of Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry are not taken into account.

 

Key figures


Number of doctoral students enrolled
74,450
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Human sciences and humanities
21,384
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Social sciences
14,842
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Other scientific disciplines
28,303
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: Other than Biology, medicine and health, or Social sciences, or Human sciences and humanities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Biology, medicine and health
9,921
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded in Human sciences and humanities
2,968
 PhDs awarded
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded in social sciences
1,996
 PhDs awarded
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded in Biology, medicine and health
2,294
 PhDs awarded
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of PhDs awarded in Human sciences and humanities
20.4%
 
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of PhDs awarded in Other scientific disciplines
50.1%
 
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: Other than Biology, medicine and health, or Social sciences, or Human sciences and humanities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded
14,540
 PhDs awarded
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of PhDs awarded in Biology, medicine and health
15.8%
 
2015
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of doctoral students enrolled in first year who were enrolled the previous year in a university course
44%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students enrolled in first year who were enrolled the previous year in a non-university course
56%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students enrolled in first year who were enrolled the previous year in university engineering study tracks
3%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students enrolled in their first year who were enrolled at the university the previous year in a Master's degree
37%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of doctoral students enrolled in first year who were enrolled the previous year in an engineering study track
5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students receiving funding for their thesis
73.0%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students with a contract from the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR)
33.9%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students with an Industrial Agreement for Training through Research (CIFRE)
9.4%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of doctoral students receiving funding for foreign doctoral students
17.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students not receiving funding for their thesis who are in paid employment
20.4%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students with no paid activity
10.6%
 
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

38.01 Change in the number of doctoral students enrolled

2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.02 Change in the number of initial PhD enrolments

2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.03 Change in the number of PhDs awarded

2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.04 Courses followed in 2014-15 by doctoral students enrolled in first year in 2015-16 (in %)

 
Situation in 2014-15 2015-16
Enrolled at university 1 44
Master's degree 37
Engineering study track at university 2
Other university courses 5
Not enrolled at university 1 56
including engineering schools 3
 

1 University or equivalent institution.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.05 Funding for doctoral students enrolled in first year (2009-10 to 2015-16)

 
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2015-16
Total doctoral students enrolled in first year 19,769 19,182 18,232 19,031 18,103 17,085
Doctoral students whose financial situation is known 18,564 18,499 17,414 18,227 17,445 16,402
Doctoral students receiving funding for thesis (excl. doctoral students in paid employment) 12,761 12,426 11,605 12,405 12,122 11,786
Share of doctoral students funded for their thesis (%) 68.7 67.2 66.6 68.1 69.5 73.0
MENESR doctoral contract (%) 31.6 31.2 32.5 30.9 31.9 33.9
Industrial agreement for training through research (CIFRE) (%) 9.4 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.3 9.4
Funding from a research body (%) 11.2 12.2 10.9 11.4 11.2 10.5
Allowances from a local authority (%) 7.9 8.2 8.3 8.1 8.4 7.9
Funding for foreign doctoral students (%) 16.2 16.4 16.9 16.4 17.1 17.5
Other funding (%) 23.7 22.3 21.5 23.4 22.2 20.8
Doctoral students in paid employment not funded for their thesis 3,098 3,249 3,463 3,545 3,242 3,483
Share of doctoral students in paid employment 16.7 17.6 19.9 19.4 18.6 20.4
Doctoral students without paid activity 2,705 2,824 2,346 2,277 2,081 1,816
Share of doctoral students without paid activity (%) 14.6 15.3 13.5 12.5 11.9 10.6

 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Related statistical publication

 Note d'information SIES 17.03 - La situation des docteurs sur le marché du travail - Ceren Inan, Ronan Vourc'h - February 2017
En France, on dénombre 200 000 titulaires d’un doctorat parmi les 25-64 ans. Il s’agit d’une population majoritairement masculine, au profil social beaucoup plus favorisé que la population générale. Les docteurs travaillent en majorité dans l’enseignement et la recherche où les débuts de carrières sont particulièrement difficiles. Une fois insérés sur le marché du travail, les docteurs connaissent les situations d’emplois les plus favorables aux côtés des diplômés de master et de ceux issus d’écoles d’ingénieurs et de commerce. La situation des docteurs face à l’emploi varie selon la discipline et le type d’employeur.

Cependant, à caractéristiques égales, les probabilités d’accès aux emplois « supérieurs » et « très supérieurs » sont plus élevées parmi les docteurs que parmi les diplômés de niveau bac + 5. Elles dépendent aussi du genre et de l’origine sociale : les hommes et les enfants de cadres ont les probabilités les plus élevées d’occuper ces emplois.

Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
39 - PhDs and PhD graduates - Isabelle Maetz & Odile Wolber
At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, 75,600 students were enrolled on a PhD programme. In 2014, 14,000 PhDs were awarded. The number of doctoral students enrolled has been falling since 2009, whereas the number of PhDs awarded increased up to 2012 then fell during 2013 and 2014. Over half of students enrolled for the first time for a university PhD in France were not enrolled in France the previous year in a university course leading to a qualification [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
38 - PhDs and PhD graduates - Samuel Fouquet & Odile Wolber
At the start of the 2013-14 academic year, there were about 67,000 students enrolled in a PhD programme, of which 62,700 were in universities. In 2012, almost 13,000 PhDs were awarded. The number of doctoral students enrolled has been falling since 2007, whereas the number of PhDs awarded is increasing. This difference is mainly due to a shortening of the time taken to complete the thesis. Over half of students enrolled for the first time for a university PhD in France were not enrolled in France the previous year in a university course leading to a qualification [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
38 - le doctorat et les docteurs - Alexis Boinet, Isabelle Maetz & Odile Wolber
À la rentrée 2015, 74 450 étudiants sont inscrits en doctorat. Le nombre de doctorants est en baisse continue depuis 2009, tandis que le nombre de doctorats délivrés en 2015 s’élève à 14 500, niveau relativement stable depuis trois ans, après une période de hausse. Environ 3 doctorants sur 4 inscrits en première année bénéficient d’un financement pour leur thèse [Consult the following page in french]


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