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Embarking on a PhD

Thesis subject and supervision

The decision to complete a thesis should form part of a professional and personal career plan.
Choice of thesis subject: it is important to ensure the feasibility of your thesis subject, and that you will be able to complete your work within a reasonable time limit.
Your work will be supervised by a thesis supervisor, who will be your main contact and with whom you will discuss the direction and progress of your research. You will agree to provide him/her with all the progress reports he/she may require. You will also be required to present your work on a regular basis, and to review your research activities in front of a thesis monitoring committee.
Supervisors agree to support their PhD students in their research work. The two parties agree on a work schedule.


Although recommended, obtaining specific funding for the completion of a thesis is not a requirement when enrolling for a PhD in Philosophy.
For further information concerning the funding of theses

Duration of theses

The recommended duration for the preparation of a doctorate is 3 years. Beyond the 3rd year of enrolment, exceptions may be granted by the head of the institution on the recommendation of the doctoral school’s assistant director, and with the approval of the candidate’s supervisor and thesis monitoring committee.
Suspension of studies: annual enrolment for a doctorate is compulsory. However, in exceptional circumstances the Decree of 25 May 2016 permits a maximum break during doctoral studies of one year where a career plan is involved. For information about this provision, please contact the secretariat.

Compulsory courses

To be allowed to defend your thesis, you must be able to show evidence of a training follow-up corresponding to 120 hours (over the entire period of your doctoral studies).
In fact, although research work constitutes most of the training in and through research, you are required to follow a set of additional courses. The choice of these courses requires thorough consideration throughout the thesis; it depends on individual needs, and must be structured around a career plan.
For further information about doctoral studies

The presentation of theses

A guide to the presentation of theses is available on the ABES (Bibliographic Agency for Higher Education) website.

The thesis defence

The research work is validated by the writing of a thesis, followed by a defense before a jury of teacher-researchers and experts in the discipline.
For further information about thesis defence

Legislative framework of the thesis

  • Doctoral studies fall mainly under the Decree of 26 May 2016 which sets the national course framework and the procedures leading to the awarding of national doctorates
  • You may also consult the Thesis Charter  (Decree of 3 September 1998)

Submitted on February 7, 2024

Updated on February 7, 2024