Applying for a doctoral contract in 2015 : FAQ

How to apply for a doctoral contract on one of the thesis subjects proposed for a start in October 2015 **** deadline to apply : May 4, 2015 ****

To apply for a Doctoral Contract (PfD grant) on one or two of the subjects listed here, you must :
- have a Master degree in physics (preferably related to a certain degree to astronomy/astrophysics), or to be close to obtain one in 2015.
- choose one or two subjects in the list and contact directly the researcher who proposed it, to discuss and to obtain that he supports your application
- fill the application form and gather the different documents mentionned in the list below
- Applications are submitted through the following page :

- Application

Lists of documents to be submitted :

- Results obtained in Master 2 and previous years (L1, L2, L3, M1)
- Résumé of the candidate
- Motivation letter especially on the choice of the thesis subject(s)
- Probation report (M2 training period)
- Letter from the head of the Master 2 program followed by the student
- Assessment of the supervisor proposing the PhD project on the application
- Assessment of the director of the laboratory in which the thesis held

The files can be completed until 2 July 2015 with documents not yet
available as at May 4, 2015 (results for the current year, probation
report ...).

Applicants must contact the researcher proposing the PhD project and have his(her) written agreement for the application.

The application should preferably mention a second thesis subject, with possibly a ranking. The same requirement applies of a writen approval by the potential supervisor and of a text explaining the motivation of choosing the subject.

Applications will be assessed in terms of i) the relevance of the M2 followed to the thesis projects, ii) results obtained during the M2 year, and iii) the assessment by the potential supervisor.

The interviews will be held on 26, 27, 28, 29 May or 1st or 2 June 2015, if the application is
considered acceptable. In exceptional cases a videoconference could be considered. The duration of the interview is 25 minutes with 15 minutes of presentation using a
video projector and a computer that will be available (PDF files only) followed by 10 minutes of questions.


Q : Results obtained in Master 2 and previous years (L1, L2, L3, M1)
What exactly mean previous years ? The last couple of bachelor years ?
Does L1, L2 and L3 are those bachelor last years ?

R : From wikipedia : "Since the new European system of 2004 "LMD" Bologna process was founded, it has become standard to recognize a bachelor’s over three years, a master’s over five years and a doctorate over eight. However, most American universities will accept a bachelor’s degree as the equivalent of a "Maitrise" four-year degree"

Q : should an official transcript of the grades be translated to english ?

R : No if they are in english, italian, spanish, yes for other languages

Q : Is there a length restriction for the motivation letter ?

R : We expect something between half a page and one page

Q : "Probation report (M2 training period)" What does this exactly mean ?

R : The document you wrote during a training period on a research work of several weeks (sometimes called Master Thesis)

Q : The application form should be filled in french or could be in english ?

R : English is fully acceptable

Q : Is the practice of French mandatory ?

R : No it is not. If selected, you will be encouraged (and funded for that) to follow
french courses

Q : The slideshow presentation should be about the Phd project or about the current master thesis project ?

R : Both, but emphasis should be put on the master thesis project (say 10 min on it)

Q : Can you pay for my trip to Paris for the interview ?

R : Unfortunately, we can’t afford to pay for your travel to or stay in Paris.

Q : My internship is going to finish after the deadline for sending the application. Is it necessary to send a short report anyway ?

R : Yes, this is an important element of preselection for the interview.

Q : My Master thesis supervisor prefer to not give me his letter of reference to include it in a single file pdf, with all the other documents. Can he send the letter in independent way ?

R : Yes this is possible ; to be sent at ecole-doctorale.astro(at)

Q : For the second thesis project, do I need to send two letters of motivation, or two different applications in two different files pdf ?

R : It may be on the same letter that you describe your interest for both subjects. In any case send only ONE application file.

Other types of grants

The researcher who proposes a subject may have applied for another source of funding. This is sometimes (but not always) mentioned in the PDF files.
These fundings depend from organisation such as CNRS, CNES, ESA, etc. You have to contact the researcher directly to know the status of his application, and the special conditions for you to apply for the grant. The researcher will keep the board of the Doctoral School informed. Note that the conditions and deadlines may be very different from one grant programme to another. If you apply and if the funding is in not yet guaranteed at the date of May 4, it is advised to apply in parallel to a ED 127 doctoral contract as a backup solution.

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