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

📄 Source:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

Students enrolled in doctoral programmes and those with a PhD from a French university or equivalent institution, and also from engineering schools, management and business schools, are recorded by the Student Monitoring Information System (Système d’Information sur le Suivi de l’Étudiant - SISE). Theses that form an integral part of the preparation for State diplomas of Doctor of Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry are not taken into account. A cohort was formed to find the courses followed the previous year by doctoral students enrolled in 2013.

Students not found were not enrolled in a university or equivalent institution the previous year. Data on funding and the time taken to complete theses were taken from the survey of doctoral schools by the MENESR.

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38 PhDs and PhD graduates

This page has been updated. Read 38. PhDs and PhD graduates in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

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.

At the start of the 2013-14 academic year in France, about 67,000 students were preparing a PhD: 62,700 in universities or equivalent institution, 3,900 in a non-university engineering school and 190 in a business school.

In universities and equivalent institutions in 2013-14, a quarter of doctoral students enrolled for a PhD for the first time. The number of students was 3% up on 2000. Between 2000 and 2005, numbers increased strongly (+15%) then stabilised in 2006. After 2007, numbers declined (chart 38.01). In 2013, there was a drop of 1% compared with 2012. The fall in numbers was the same in Arts, Languages, and Humanities, in Law, Economics and Economic and Social Administration (Filière Administrative, Économique et Sociale - AES) and in Healthcare (between -2.4% and -1.9%). The decline was less sustained in Sciences, Physical Education and Sports Science and Techniques (Sciences et techniques des activités physiques et sportives - STAPS) (-0.5%), a subject area that has seen the largest increase in doctoral students in ten years.

The distribution of doctoral students by subject area has varied little since 2000-01. In 2013, the proportion of students enrolled in Sciences, STAPS was highest (45%), and the proportion enrolled in Arts, Languages and Humanities was 34%. One student in five was preparing a PhD in Law, Economics and AES and only 2% of doctoral students were enrolled in the Healthcare study track (excluding State doctor of medicine diplomas leading to the professions of doctor, pharmacist, dental surgeon) (chart 38.02). At the start of the 2013-14 academic year, fewer than half of doctoral students in their first year of a PhD programme (45%) had been enrolled at university the previous year: 37% came from a Master's programme (the majority from a research Master's degree) and 3% from a university engineering study track (table 38.03). Students holding foreign diplomas, students returning to their studies after a break of at least one year and non-university engineers made up the other half of the new intake of doctoral students.

At the start of the 2013-14 academic year, the vast majority of the 3,900 doctoral students in non-university engineering schools were enrolled in Sciences, STAPS (90%), many fewer in Arts, Languages and Humanities (7%) and Law, Economics and AES (3%).

In 2013, almost 70% of doctoral students enrolled in their first year of preparing a thesis and whose financial situation was known received some form of funding (table 38.04). 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 (Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - MENESR) (32%), funding from a research body (11%) or from a local authority (8%). Industrial Agreements for Training through Research (Convention industrielle de formation par la recherche - CIFRE) represented 9% of PhDs receiving funding. And finally, funding for foreign doctoral students represented 17% of those receiving funding.

In 2012 in France, about 13,000 PhDs were awarded: 12,200 in universities or equivalent institutions, 840 in non-university schools. 40% of PhDs awarded in 2012 were completed in less than 40 months, compared with 35% in 2009, and 72% were completed in less than 52 months. The share of PhDs completed in over 6 years dropped 1 point to reach 11%.

Universities awarded 54% more PhDs than in 2000 (chart 38.01). This is a more rapid increase than that seen in the number of doctoral students. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of PhDs increased by 20% in Healthcare courses and by 2% in Sciences, STAPS. Numbers fell by 3% in Law, Economics and AES and by 2% in Arts, Languages and Humanities. The distribution of PhDs awarded by subject area has varied very little since 2000. Six out of ten diplomas were awarded in Sciences, STAPS, a quarter in Arts, Languages and Humanities and only 12% in Law, Economics and AES (chart 38.02).

In addition, in 2012, 840 PhDs were awarded by non-university schools (engineering and business courses), mainly in Sciences.

&

 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

FOUQUET Samuel, 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, 2015. 8th ed. Chapter 38, 86-87 [Accessed 04/26/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_R_38-phds_and_phd_graduates-ILL_02.php

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Students enrolled in doctoral programmes and those with a PhD from a French university or equivalent institution, and also from engineering schools, management and business schools, are recorded by the Student Monitoring Information System (Système d’Information sur le Suivi de l’Étudiant - SISE). Theses that form an integral part of the preparation for State diplomas of Doctor of Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry are not taken into account. A cohort was formed to find the courses followed the previous year by doctoral students enrolled in 2013.

Students not found were not enrolled in a university or equivalent institution the previous year. Data on funding and the time taken to complete theses were taken from the survey of doctoral schools by the MENESR.

 

Key figures


Number of doctoral students enrolled in universities
62,734
 
2013-14
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
12,210
 PhDs awarded
2011-12
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%
 
2013-14
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 Law, Economics, Economic and social administration (AES)
11,547
 
2013-14
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  
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Arts, Languages, Humanities
21,326
 
2013-14
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 Healthcare
1,348
 
2013-14
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 Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
28,513
 
2013-14
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 Law, Economics, Economic and social administration (AES)
1,524
 PhDs awarded
2011-12
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  
Number of PhDs awarded in Arts, Languages, Humanities
2,822
 PhDs awarded
2011-12
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 Healthcare
405
 PhDs awarded
2011-12
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 Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
7,459
 PhDs awarded
2011-12
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%
 
2013-14
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
6%
 
2013-14
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
55%
 
2013-14
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 university course
45%
 
2013-14
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
69.5%
 
2013-14
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 with a contract from the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR)
31.9%
 
2013-14
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)
9.3%
 
2013-14
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 receiving funding for foreign doctoral students
17.1%
 
2013-14
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
18.6%
 
2013-14
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
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Share of doctoral students with no paid activity
11.9%
 
2013-14
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 PhDs awarded in Law, Economics, Economic and Social Administration (AES)
12.5%
 
2011-12
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 Arts, Languages, Humanities
23.1%
 
2011-12
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 Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
61.1%
 
2011-12
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See one more key figure  
Number of doctoral students enrolled
67,000
 
2013-14
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

38.01 Change in number of doctoral students enrolled

  
Law, Economics, AES
Arts, Languages, Humanities
Healthcare
Sciences, STAPS
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.02 Change in number of PhDs awarded

  
Law, Economics, AES
Arts, Languages, Humanities
Healthcare
Sciences, STAPS
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.03 Courses followed in 2012-13 by doctoral students enrolled in first year in 2013-14 (%)

 
Previous situation Doctoral students in 1st year in 2013-14
Enrolled at university 1 45
Master's degree 37
Engineering study track at university 3
Others 2 5
Not enrolled at university 1 55
including engineering schools 3
 

1 University or equivalent institution.
2 Especially diplomas awarded by educational institutions (Diplôme d'établissement - DE), Healthcare diplomas, preparation for teaching.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.04 Funding for doctoral students enrolled in first year (2009-2010 to 2012-2013)

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

 
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