Learn more about PhD in France through the annual PhD Tour organized by the French Institute in India.

Virtual PhD Tour 2021
PhD opportunities
PhD in France
Finance your PhD
Phd in France

France offers a stimulating research environment to scholars and students, with a widely recognized scientific output.
The research system, globally connected, attracts both foreign students and foreign investors.

The PhD Tour 2021 took place online on 20th and 21st October. It was a unique opportunity to interact directly with the best French institutions.

Watch the webinars

Opportunities in PhD fields

Specialized courses focused on the business world and its environment.

  • Interdisciplinary areas -interface with law, business management, public policy, international affairs, behavioural sciences and higher education.
  • Career opportunities in political or social fields of study: political scientists, economists, sociologists.

General research in economic science, with an emphasis in the following areas:

  • Macroeconomics and Labor Economics* Microeconomic Theory and Applications
  • Economics and Sustainable Development

Career opportunities in the public and private sectors: insurance, finance, industry, sustainable development, environment.

Many institutes in France occupy top positions in global university rankings. PhD in Management combines high-level training and mentored research work. It prepares the student to become a leading-edge researcher, sought after for their analytical and innovation skills.

France has thriving business and economic centres. Nice is a financial hub in Southern France, while Paris is home to many international companies and markets. France is among the 20 best performing economies, thanks to excellent results-oriented higher education learning.

France provides equal job opportunities for women and men in the international finance and economic centres in France. It is a chance to build a network of global contacts

The CEFE is currently the most important French research centre in Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology. The link between society and ecology is a theme of increasing importance in French research.

The CNRS Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) has developed an integrative approach to environmental sciences to promote global ecology at every scale of time and space. INEE operates with 82 units and 12 research groups.

The prime areas of research are focused on:

  • Understanding the fundamental processes underlying the interaction dynamics,
  • Identifying adaptive pathways for practices and collective actions,
  • Providing a crucial knowledge base for policymakers,

Most CNRS laboratories are joint research units, bringing together partners from academia (universities, schools, and other research organisations) and industrial actors.

PhD in the health sector in France provides objective analysis and effective solutions to address the challenges faced by the public and private sectors around the world. Both academic and mission-oriented institutions are involved in biomedical research, ranging from universities (including university hospitals) to public research institutes and foundations.

Inserm is the only public research organization in France entirely dedicated to human health. Its objective is to promote the health of all by advancing knowledge about life and disease, treatment innovation, and public health research.

France has always been a fertile ground for mathematics.

  • French mathematics enjoys international recognition: members of the French maths community have been granted prestigious prizes, including 12 Fields medals.
  • Over 4,000 mathematicians work in the academic sector in France, and around 10% are researchers in public research organizations such as CNRSINRIA and INSEE.
  • French mathematical research is now characterised by a wide variety of research topics, from more theoretical research to a large variety of applications interacting with other sciences, as well as with society, industry and the economy.


  • Physics, like mathematics, has been one of France’s areas of research excellence, as evidenced by the 14 Nobel prizes awarded to illustrious French physicists.
  • French researchers specialize in theoretical physics (quantum physics, thermo- dynamics and statistical physics, electromagnetism) or in experimental physics (behaviour of materials, electronics and components, fluids and flows).
  • Fields of application extend to energy and the environment, solid-phase physical biology, and applied computer science.


  • With chemistry being so embedded in so many economic sectors, French universities and engineering schools offer a wide array of chemistry degrees.
  • In fact, chemists are so omnipresent in these sectors, working alongside practitioners of other disciplines, that they have become vital components of them.
  • Chemistry’s applications include fertilizers, plastics, paints, beauty products, adhesives, medications, scents and flavours, and phytosanitary products. New preoccupations of today’s chemists’ concern product safety and environmental protection.

France is a world leader in AI:

  • The French Govt. has allocated: € 1.5 Billion for research and education in AI, from 2018 to 2022.
  • France has launched AI training and education programmes at all levels of education, with a focus on higher education programmes at the Interdisciplinary Institutes of Artificial Intelligence (3IA). The aim is to double the no. of students in AI

French Engineering Grandes Ecoles prepare students to become professional engineers and offer valuable business and communication skills.

PhD in engineering sciences cover fields like Energy, Water, and Environment, Telecommunications, Advanced Systems and Networks, Industrial Engineering, Paper and Biomaterials, Physics and Materials Science.

Sustainable development is an interdisciplinary field that involves knowledge from Environmental Economics, Policy Making, Resource management, thus opening a wide range of opportunities.

France has a low-carbon electricity mix owing to its large nuclear fleet, yet many reactors are reaching the end of their lifetime. France plans to reduce the share of nuclear from today 75% to 50% in the electricity mix by 2035.

France provides education in energy options for a carbon-free future. Renewable energies, already a significant research focus in France, include bioenergy, geothermal energy, thermodynamic heating, solar energy (thermal, photovoltaic, concentration), wind energy, hydroelectric and marine energy, and hydrogen-based generation.

The Toulouse Space Center is a vast academic and scientific complex. It encompasses multiple post-secondary institutions (ISAE, ENAC, IAS), laboratories (Onera, LAAS), and corporations (Airbus, Thales, CLS Argos).

The Spaceport in French Guiana – also known as the Guiana Space Center – is a strategically-located facility that provides optimum operating conditions for Arianespace’s commercial launches with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-size Soyuz lightweight Vega.

At €30 per year per inhabitant, France’s civilian space budget is the second highest in the world after that of the United States (€46), ahead of those of Germany (€16) and the United Kingdom (€6). The space sector accounts for 16,000 jobs in metropolitan France and 40% of Europe’s entire space industry.

Students will gain comprehension in atmospheric chemistry, physical phenomena, physical geography, meteorology, and ecology. They will also learn how to use advanced laboratory-based and computational methods and get experience in field operations.

10 Good Reasons to do a PhD in France

  • EUR 50 billion in R&D investment
  • Nearly 285,000 researchers
  • 60% of them in the industry

5th in the OECD for R&D spending

  • 4th in the world in the impact of publication (H-Index)
  • 6th in the world in number of patent applications
  • 2nd in the world in number of Fields medals
  • 4th in the world in number of Nobel Prizes

Arianespace; Large Hadron Collider (CERN); ONERA Wind Tunnels; Renater; European Synchrotron (ESRF); Very Large Telescope (ESO); and many more

  • 265 doctoral departments
  • doctorates in French or English
  • 42% of doctoral candidates are foreigners
  • 3rd leading host country after US and UK
  • CNRS: World’s 2nd research body in a number of high-level scientific publications (Scimago 2019).
  • CEA, 2nd in patent applications among all research organizations in Europe

France’s major research bodies (CNRS, CIRAD, INRA, INSERM, IRD, Institut Pasteur, etc.) maintain more than 250 facilities around the worldincluding in India.

  • Foreign firms account for one-fifth of the private R&D conducted in France
  • 60% of researchers work in the private sector

Finance your Doctorate

It is advisable to find funding before enrolling in a Doctorate. Depending on your situation, your host establishment and your country of origin, a company or the European Union may finance your research project.

More information: How to finance your PhD in France.

Doctoral School Directory
PhD Positions in France
Contact your nearest Campus France