The Thesis Defense

Soutenance de thèse

Thesis Defense Authorization

Authorization to thesis defense is granted by the president, after advice from the director of the Doctoral School, on the proposal of the thesis supervisor.
The work of the PhD student is examined beforehand by at least two rapporteurs designated by the headmaster, authorized to direct research or belonging to one of the categories mentioned in 1° and 2° of article 16 of the present decree, on the proposal of the director of the doctoral school, after advice from the thesis supervisor.

In the case of work involving people from the socio-economic world who do not belong to the academic world, a third rapporteur, recognized for his or her competence in the field, may be appointed on the proposal of the doctoral school director, after consulting the thesis supervisor.
Unless the disciplinary field or the content of the work does not allow it, the two rapporteurs are external to the Doctoral School and to the PhD student's institution. They may belong to foreign higher education or research institutions or other foreign organizations.
The rapporteurs are not involved in the work of the PhD student.
At least fourteen days before the date scheduled for the Thesis defense, the rapporteurs make known their opinion by written reports; on this basis, the head of the establishment authorizes the defense. These reports are communicated to the jury and to the PhD student before the Thesis defense.
  • You must declare your willingness to organize your thesis on ADUM at least 10 weeks before the Thesis defense.
  • At least 8 weeks before the Thesis defense, the complete file must be sent to the Doctoral School.

The Thesis Jury

The thesis jury is appointed by the principal after consultation with the doctoral school director and the thesis supervisor. The number of jury members is between four and eight. At least half of its members are French or foreign personalities, from outside the doctoral school and the PhD student's registration establishment, chosen for their scientific or professional skills in the field of research concerned, subject to the provisions relating to international co-supervision of the thesis defined in Title III of the present decree.
Its composition must allow a balanced representation of women and men. At least half of the jury must be made up of professors or assimilated personnel within the meaning of article 6 of decree n° 92-70 relating to the National Council of Universities and article 5 of decree n° 87-31 for health disciplines, or teachers of equivalent rank who do not come under the Ministry in charge of higher education.
The members of the jury shall appoint a chairman and, if necessary, a rapporteur for the Thesis defense from among their number. The president must be a professor or a teacher of equivalent rank.
The thesis supervisor participates in the jury, but does not take part in the decision. When several institutions are accredited to jointly deliver the PhD, the jury is appointed by the heads of the concerned institutions under the conditions set by the agreement mentioned in article 5 of the present decree.
  • The composition of the jury is examined by the Director of the Doctoral School who verifies its conformity.
  • The manuscript is then sent to the rapporteurs. The 2 pre-reports must be submitted on ADUM 4 weeks at the latest before the Thesis defense.


The Thesis defense is public, unless the head of the school exceptionally grants an exemption if the subject of the thesis defense is of a proven confidential nature.
Prior to the thesis defense, the summary of the thesis defense is distributed within the institution or jointly accredited institutions.
As part of its deliberations, the jury assesses the quality of the PhD student's work, its innovative character, the PhD student's ability to place it in its scientific context and its exposure qualities. The jury may request corrections in accordance with article 24 of the present decree. When the work corresponds to collective research, the personal part of each PhD student is assessed by a dissertation that he or she writes and presents individually to the jury.
Exceptionally, and with the exception of its president, the members of the jury may take part in the Thesis defense by means of videoconferencing or electronic communication allowing their identification and their effective participation in a collegial deliberation and satisfying technical characteristics that guarantee the continuous and simultaneous transmission of the debates.
Admission or adjournment is pronounced after deliberation of the jury.
The president signs the Thesis defense report, which is countersigned by all the members of the jury present at the Thesis defense.
The Thesis defense report is sent to the PhD student within one month of the defense.
Published on  January 22, 2021
Updated on April 7, 2023