The major steps leading to your defense are the same for everybody, as stated in the "arrêté". Details may vary depending on which University you are enrolled to.

Legal rules come from the 25th of May, 2016 arrêté, Section 17. All specific rules must comply.

Typically, you need to follow this back-scheduling (adapt it to your specific case).

  • If your PhD started on the 1st of October of the year N, and you have a 36 monthes funding, then the defense must be before September the 30th of the year N+3.
  • Final reports are expected 3 weeks before the defense.
  • Reviewers need 3 to 4 weeks to work.
  • Your final manuscript must therefore be ready by the mid- July.
  • You must think about the composition of your jury as early as March by having it validated by the ED. As soon as the composition is fixed, find a date quickly when everyone is free.
  • Writing should start as soon as possible (ideally, from the start: write short notes that can be re-used later). It cannot start later than April.

Defense committee

The defense committee must follow these rules (see specific links to each university below):

  • From 4 to 8 members.
  • A majority of senior members (French status A).
  • A majority of external members (not part of the ED nor the enrollment University).
  • No more than 2 members from the PhD student laboratory
  • A "fair share of men and women".
  • At least one member from the University, who may be president of the jury.

Both referrees must have their "HDR" or equivalent. they must not belong to the ED nor to the University of enrollment. They must have an on going scientific collaboration with the PhD students or his/her advisors, and in particular they must not have published a paper with the PhD student or the supervisors since at least 5 years.

Propositions of committee members should be sent to your representatives at least 3 months before the defense. You must not sollicitate the members officially before getting an agreement from the ED.

Role of the supervisor during the defense

The official rule states that: "Le directeur de thèse participe au jury, mais ne prend pas part à la décision." This is far from clear, and subject to various traductions. The ministery has provided an interpretation which is the following (text left in French to be accurate):

"Le directeur de thèse (ou les directeurs de thèse) participe au jury. Il assiste à la discussion et sa participation demeure précieuse pour la bonne compréhension des travaux qu’il a encadrés. Il peut, le cas échéant, éclairer les débats menant à la décision. Il n’a donc pas vocation à mener les débats et, s’il assiste à la délibération, ne prend pas part à la décision finale. Le directeur de thèse est donc pris en compte dans les ratios qui peuvent être considérés au sein du collège doctoral pour les membres internes ou externes à l’établissement de rattachement.
Il ne signe pas le procès-verbal de délibération, mais signe le rapport de soutenance. Lorsque le rapport de soutenance fait état de la délibération, il doit figurer que cette décision a été prise par les membres du jury hors directeur(s) de thèse.

Le directeur de thèse figure sur la liste des membres du jury, y compris pour le dépôt légal des thèses."

The most important sentence ther is: He/she does not sign the procès-verbal, but he/she signs the defense report. /

Documents and references

Each university has its own rules that you must follow. The relevant documents are found on their web site. Beware / some site are not up-to-date. Verify with your representative. The defense jury must always be appoved by the doctoral school before being sent to the University.

Defense by visioconference

If one member of the jury cannot participate in the defense, the president must make sure that the jury is still legal.

Jury members are bound to be present at a defense once they accept to participate. Skype is not possible. In case of dare need, it is possible to organize a visioconverence:

"A titre exceptionnel, et à l’exception de son président, les membres du jury peuvent participer à la soutenance par des moyens de visioconférence ou de communication électronique permettant leur identification et leur participation effective à une délibération collégiale et satisfaisant à des caractéristiques techniques garantissant la transmission continue et simultanée des débats."

A possible technical solution is renavisio.

Some universites require a specific written authorization:

  • PSL (filled from ADUM in the defense section)
  • Université de Paris: (document to provide before the defence)). Following the defence, the president must add a letter certifying that the visio-conference was hold.
  • Paris-Saclay: (form to provide with the whole file).


  • It is with great sadness that we learn of the sudden death of Manuel Berthet on Friday 3 December in a tragic road accident. The accident that took his life also seriously injured his partner Maud, whose life is not in danger. Their one-year-old child, Silvère, was unharmed.

A former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, Manuel had completed the Master 2 AAIS course in 2011-2012, before passing the agrégation in physics in 2013. He then started a PhD thesis in the radio astronomy laboratory of the ENS, which he chose to interrupt in 2017 to devote himself fully to teaching.

Manuel was a teacher in preparatory classes at the lycée Chrestien de Troyes.

The physics department of the ENS, and in particular the astrophysics team, his former comrades and colleagues of the preparation to the agrégation of physics of Montrouge, as well as the whole doctoral school, associate themselves with the pain of his family and present them their most sincere condolences.

The farewell ceremony will take place at the Crematorium of Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire), on Monday 13 December at 10:30 am. Manuel would have been 32 years old on that day.

  • 26 November 2021: Opening of the 2022 call for thesis projects. PhD advisor can submit their PhD projects on their ADUM account up to January 30th, 2022.
  • 05 July 2021. Accepted for a doctoral contract: AUCLAIR Constant, BALLERINI Giulio, BARRÈRE Paul, BRIGHI Emile, CERARDI Nicolas, COULON Xavier, GALLO Stefano, GODINAUD Leïla, GUERRA Corentin, HAFFOUD Paolo, HENAULT Elsa, KONAKA Mina, LALLEMENT Manon, LAPEL Axel, MASSON Adrien, MANZINI Davide, MAUDUIT Emilie, MERIOT Romain, PAGNINI Giulia, PANEK Emilie, SACCARDI Andrea, TEINTURIER Lucas, TOURENQ Sébastien, VERMERSCH Julie
  • 05 July 2021 Waiting liste by alphabetical order: ABD EL DAYEM Karim, GUÉ Jordan, GOLDMANN Serena, HUET Paul, JOLLY Rodrigo, KHALIL Yassin Rany, LOMAZZI Paul, MAKNAVICIUS Monika, MARIANI Vincenzo, ROTH Olivier, VEILLET Roméo, YOUSFI Fayin
  • 09 june 2021: Apply for teaching missions at Université de Paris. Deadline, 30th June, 5pm
  • 20 May 2021 : Apply for teaching missions at Observatoire de Paris. Deadline, 16th June
  • 18 May 2021: Congratulations to Mathias Nowak, Olivier Chesneau Prize 2021 for his PhD thesis entitled: "The 2017 conjunction of Beta Pictoris b: the life and death of PicSat, followed by a VLTI/GRAVITY observation of the re-emergence" at Paris Observatory
  • 1 February 2021: The AAIF ED competition is open. Please apply before 22 April 2021, 5pm. The rules, subjects, can be found in the enrolment page.
  • 29 January 2021: The call for doctoral contracts of the Physics of Infinite initiative runs until 20 February
  • 4 January 2021: The ED AAIF wish you a happy new year.
  • 1 December 2020: PhD advisor can submit their PhD projects up to Januray 31st, 2021.