What is a PhD?

A PhD is the highest university degree. The degree recognizes an education in research and through research conducted during the third cycle of higher education. It is usually prepared over a three-year period after obtaining a master's degree or equivalent diploma. Preparing a PhD involves rigorous work and a significant time commitment.

The PhD student

As a young researcher, the PhD student is guided by a thesis supervisor and is involved in a research project that culminates in the writing and defense of a thesis.

The thesis supervisor

The thesis supervisor, who holds an accreditation to direct research (HDR), works with the PhD student to develop the scientific program of the thesis. He/she supervises the PhD student throughout the duration of the PhD and helps him/her prepare for his/her professional integration. A PhD student can also be supervised by two supervisors called co-supervisors.

> Browse the list of thesis supervisors
> Learn more about co-supervised theses and thesis advisors

Research units

As a young researcher, the PhD student is affiliated to a research unit based on the chosen specialty and the scientific affiliation of his/her supervisor.

> Browse the list of research units affiliated with the LLSH doctoral school

The thesis process

Thesis follow-up
During the thesis, the PhD student is supervised by his/her supervisor with whom he/she discusses the direction and progress of his/her research. Within the research unit, he/she will also regularly report on his/her work and research activities to the thesis committee. He/she will be asked each year by the doctoral school to write a thesis progress report and a list of any publications each year upon re-enrollment.

PhD training program
The PhD student must complete 120 hours (known as “HF”) of training courses each year during the preparation of his/her thesis. These hours must be completed in order to be authorized to defend his/her thesis. The training courses offered are divided into three main categories:
  • Scientific training programs
  • Transversal training programs (research methodology and practice)
  • Professional integration
> Learn more about PhD training programs

Thesis defense
The research work is validated by the writing of a thesis, followed by a defense before a jury of research fellows accredited to direct research and experts from the discipline. The thesis is usually defended after a three-year preparation period, barring exceptions and specific situations.

> Learn more about thesis defense
Published on  July 13, 2022
Updated on September 22, 2022