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PhDs and HDR accreditation to direct research

PhDs are open to graduates with a Master's degree (5 years’ higher education) or equivalent. They usually take three years (except for part-time doctorates) and correspond to 8 years’ higher education ), the highest level of university graduation (except for HDR accreditation to direct research). The PhD is carried out within a research unit (or laboratory), which is the doctoral student's daily workplace. The laboratory is attached to a doctoral school, which is responsible for overseeing the PhD project.

The PhD may also be carried out under joint supervision by a French laboratory and a laboratory of a foreign university.

Before the PhD

To do a PhD, you will need to obtain a Master's degree or a degree equivalent to a Master's degree (such as an engineering degree), with proven research experience.

In addition, Université Gustave Eiffel offers the Graduate School GP-DS (Graduate Programs –Doctoral Studies), ), cross-disciplinary studies based on multidisciplinary research and open to the international community. Our Graduate School is accessible following your Bachelor’s degree, in the first or second year of a Master’s degree, and has strong ties with the university's research units, offering support to students in their research work leading to a PhD. 

Support scholarships are offered, both to host international students and to enable selected French students to enter our four Graduate Programs :


Your PhD at Université Gustave Eiffel

Since January 2022, Université Gustave Eiffel has been co-accredited within fourteen doctoral schools : five doctoral schools run by the ComUE Paris-Est Sup on the Marne-la-Vallée campus, three doctoral schools located on the Villeneuve d'Ascq campus, and since the start of the 2022 academic year, three doctoral schools in Nantes, two doctoral schools in Lyon and one doctoral school in Marseille.

Our university is positioned among the best universities in the field of sustainable cities, and will give you access to a high-level doctoral programme !

Eligibility requirements

Are you a student with a Master's degree or about to obtain one? Would you like to start a thesis in a working laboratory, while benefiting from a competitive work environment in liaison with academic and industrial partners? Come and do your PhD at Université Gustave Eiffel.

To benefit from thesis funding, the only condition is that : you must hold a two-year Master’s degree or equivalent that allows you to enrol in a doctoral school before October of the current year.

In cases of equivalent degrees, the authorisation to enrol at the chosen doctoral school must be checked before submitting your application file.

Our incoming mobility programme

Université Gustave Eiffel also welcomes doctoral students of all nationalities who wish to complete all or part of their thesis in one of our departments.

International candidates are subject to the same scientific application requirements as French students.

Find out more

Thesis topics

To apply, you need to identify a research topic that interests you.  For this, we advise you to contact our research departments directly to consult the list of proposed subjects or to develop one with a thesis director at the laboratory.

A PhD may also be carried out under joint supervision by a French laboratory and a laboratory of a foreign university.


Consult the theses in progress at the Gustave Eiffel University


Access the thesis offers proposed by the university

Gustave Eiffel University offers theses from the following departments and research laboratories

  • the Navier laboratory
  • the "City, Mobility, Transport" laboratory (LVMT)
  • the "Aménagement, Mobilité, Environnement" (AME) department
  • Materials and Structures" department (MAST)
  • Geotechnics, Environment, Natural Risks and Earth Sciences" department (GERS)
  • Components and Systems" department (COSYS)
  • Transport, Health and Safety" department (TS2)

Financing your thesis

Your thesis may be financed through a competitive exam, organised either within the doctoral school or during a national competitive exam organised by Université Gustave Eiffel if your laboratory is not simply attached to a doctoral school in which the university is a major player.

In either case, your application is first selected by the laboratory and then presented to the doctoral school or to the national competitive exam; and you will have to pass an audition to present your doctoral project.

You may also benefit from special funding: for example, from research contracts of the host laboratory (check with the laboratory if there is funding and subjects of this type available) or via doctoral programmes, such as the ClearDoc project.

The host laboratory you are hoping to join, and which is related to the scientific disciplines or subjects you are interested in, will be able to advise you.


If your application has been selected to start a thesis, you will have to take the following administrative steps :

  • Pedagogical enrolment in the thesis operated by your doctoral school of registration ;
  • Administrative enrolment for the thesis with your registration institution ;
  • If applicable, you may sign an employment contract (doctoral contract).

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After the PhD : the HDR

Université Gustave Eiffel is also authorised to award the accreditation to direct research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches - HDR).

This activity has not yet been developed and the university participates in the HDR scheme of ComUE Paris-Est Sup.

Find out more