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 39.03. 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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39 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 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.

The survey on doctoral schools carried out by the MENESR counted 75,600 students enrolled on a PhD programme at the start of the 2014-15 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.) and human sciences and humanities (literature, languages, arts, history, Physical Education and Sports Science and Techniques etc.) ( -13% between 2009 and 2014). It was considerably less marked in scientific disciplines ( -1%) (chart 39.01).

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 39.02). Around 17,300 students enrolled on PhD programmes for the first time in the academic year 2014-15, which was 13% less than in 2009-10. This change affects virtually all scientific fields apart from physics ( +1% between 2009 and 2014) and biology, medicine and healthcare in which initial enrolments increased by 8% over the 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 39.04). Over half had not been enrolled at university (56%). These included students holding foreign degrees, students returning to their studies after a break of at least one year and non-university engineers.

At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, 72% of doctoral students enrolled in their first year and whose financial situation was known received some form of funding for their thesis(table 39.05). 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) (32%), funding from a research body (11%) or from a local authority (8%). Industrial Agreements for Training through Research (CIFRE) represented 10% of funded PhDs and funding for foreign doctoral students represented 16%.

In 2014, 14,400 PhDs were awarded. Two-thirds of PhDs covered scientific fields, 21% human sciences and humanities and 14% social sciences.

The number of PhDs awarded annually increased between 2009 and 2012 then fell in 2013 and 2014. The number of PhDs awarded in 2014 however remained higher than the number of PhDs awarded in 2009 ( +7% between 2009 and 2014) (chart 39.03).

The average length of theses, 49 months in 2012, is beginning to fall. The proportion of theses completed in less than 40 months increased from 35% to 41% between 2009 and 2014, whereas the number completed in 40 months to 6 years fell from 54% to 48%. The proportion of theses completed in more than 6 years remained stable (11%).

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 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

MAETZ Isabelle, WOLBER Odile. PhDs and PhD graduates. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 50 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2016. 9th ed. Chapter 39 [Accessed 05/25/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-151572-7. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/EESR9EN_R_39-phds_and_phd_graduates-ILL_02.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 39.03. 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
75,600
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded
14,366
 PhDs awarded
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Human sciences and humanities
22,447
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Biology, medicine and health
10,079
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of doctoral students enrolled in Other scientific disciplines
28,070
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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 doctoral students enrolled in Social sciences
15,010
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded in social sciences
2,039
 PhDs awarded
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Number of PhDs awarded in Human sciences and humanities
3,026
 PhDs awarded
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of PhDs awarded in Biology, medicine and health
2,320
 PhDs awarded
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/CC-2012-share_of_doctoral_students_enrolled_in_first_year_who_were_enrolled_the_previous_year_in_university_engineering_study_tracks.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students enrolled in first year who were enrolled the previous year in an engineering study track
6%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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 non-university course
56%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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
44%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students receiving funding for their thesis
71.8%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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)
32.0%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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 an Industrial Agreement for Training through Research (CIFRE)
9.8%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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
16.0%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. 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
17.5%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of doctoral students with no paid activity
10.7%
 
2014-15
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: enrolled in first year of doctorate
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of PhDs awarded in Biology, medicine and health
14.2%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of PhDs awarded in Human sciences and humanities
18.5%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of PhDs awarded in Other scientific disciplines
42.6%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "39. PhDs and PhD graduates".

Coverage: Other than Biology, medicine and health, or Social sciences, or Human sciences and humanities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

39.01 Change in the number of doctoral students enrolled

  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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39.02 Change in the number of initial PhD enrolments

  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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39.03 Change in the number of PhDs awarded

  
Other scientific disciplines
Biology, medicine and health
Social sciences
Human sciences and humanities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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39.04 Courses followed in 2013-14 by doctoral students enrolled in first year in 2014-15 (in %)

 
Situation in 2013-14 2014-15
Enrolled at university 1 44
Master's degree 37
Engineering study track at university 3
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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39.05 Funding for doctoral students enrolled in first year (2009-10 to 2014-15)

 
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Total doctoral students enrolled in first year 19,769 19,182 18,232 19,031 18,103 17,262
Doctoral students whose financial situation is known 18,564 18,499 17,414 18,227 17,445 16,570
Doctoral students receiving funding for thesis (excl. doctoral students in paid employment) 12,761 12,426 11,605 12,405 12,122 11,894
Share of doctoral students funded for their thesis (%) 68.7 67.2 66.6 68.1 69.5 71.8
MENESR doctoral contract (%) 31.6 31.2 32.5 30.9 31.9 32.0
Industrial agreement for training through research (CIFRE) (%) 9.4 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.3 9.8
Funding from a research body (%) 11.2 12.2 10.9 11.4 11.2 10.9
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 16.0
Other funding (%) 23.7 22.3 21.5 23.4 22.2 23.3
Doctoral students in paid employment not funded for their thesis 3,098 3,249 3,463 3,545 3,242 2,898
Share of doctoral students in paid employment 16.7 17.6 19.9 19.4 18.6 17.5
Doctoral students without paid activity 2,705 2,824 2,346 2,277 2,081 1,778
Share of doctoral students without paid activity (%) 14.6 15.3 13.5 12.5 11.9 10.7

 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Related statistical publication

 Etat de l'emploi scientifique en France - L'état de l'emploi scientifique en France - Isabelle Kabla-Langlois (dir.), Louis Meuric (ed.), Marie-Hélène Prieur (ed.), collective work - September 2016
L’État de l’emploi scientifique 2016 correspond à une publication statistique biennale. Elle rassemble des études et statistiques permettant d'éclairer les différents domaines d'activité des personnels qui relèvent de l'emploi scientifique en France. Il couvre à la fois la recherche menée dans les organismes et les établissements d'enseignement supérieur et celle réalisée en entreprise.

La nouvelle édition 2016 permet de mieux connaître la recherche menée dans les organismes et les établissements d'enseignement supérieur et celle réalisée en entreprise. En effet, le rapport 2016 intègre une approche de l'emploi scientifique par grands champs disciplinaires avec une consolidation ou une mise en cohérence des données portant sur les établissements d'enseignement supérieur, les organismes de recherche (EPST/EPIC) et les entreprises.

Les données statistiques sont présentées selon des périmètres, conventions et unités communs, conformément aux conventions internationales édictées par le manuel de Frascati, dans les limites de la disponibilité des données.

En outre, au-delà de la seule observation statistique, la publication intègre une dimension prospective, qu'il s'agisse du vivier des chercheurs (doctorants) ou des projections de départs en retraite.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
38 - PhDs and PhD graduates - Alexis Boinet, Isabelle Maetz & Odile Wolber
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 [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°9 - Juin 2016
39 - le doctorat et les docteurs - Isabelle Maetz & Odile Wolber
À la rentrée 2014, 75 600 étudiants sont inscrits en doctorat. 14 400 doctorats ont été délivrés durant l’année civile 2014. Le nombre de doctorants baisse depuis 2009, tandis que le nombre de doctorats délivrés augmente jusqu’en 2012 puis diminue en 2013 et 2014. Plus de la moitié des étudiants inscrits pour la première fois en France en doctorat à l’université n’étaient pas inscrits dans une formation universitaire diplômante sur le territoire national l’année précédente [Consult the following page in french]


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