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PhD Program







With the support of the “Fondation de l’École polytechnique”, École Polytechnique offers a five-year long program leading to a PhD degree. This PhD program is designed to develop outstanding students for careers in leading academic institutions or top companies throughout the world.

Students involved in the PhD program work closely with faculty members and other students within their field of study. All students benefit from the attention and expertise of renowned experts in their fields :


  • Applied Mathematics

  • Biology: Biology and interfaces
  • Chemistry : Molecular chemistry, Chemistry of materials


  • Computer Science: Algorithms, complexity, combinatorics, constraints and  optimization; Bioinformatics; Concurrent and distributed Systems,  Security and Networks; Control (Hybrid) and Cyberphysical Systems; Symbolic Computation, Proofs and Types, Verification


  • Economics : Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Financial Economics, Economic Theory, Experimental Economics, Behavioral Economics, Game Theory, Industrial Organisation, International Trade, Spatial Economics, Public Economics, Public Finance, Labour Economics.


  • Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship

  • Humanity and social sciences

  • Mechanics: fluid and solid mechanics, environmental and geophysical science, bio-mechanics


  • Physics: Physics of the Two Infinities, High-energy physics; Optics, Lasers, and Plasmas; Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Information, and Communications; Condensed Matter, Materials, Energy.

Pure Mathematics : Algebra & number theory,  Analysis & partial differential equations, Geometry & dynamical systems

The first two years of the program (corresponding to a MSc degree) are designed to give students the tools to continue with challenging research projects. This first part of the program is followed by an intensive three-year long research project leading to a PhD degree of University Paris-Saclay.

While the program is rather demanding, students have the flexibility to refine their own goals and research interests within their chosen discipline during the first two years of the program. Direct access to the program in the second year of the MSc may also be considered.  In either case, progression to the PhD requires successful completion of the MSc.

Affiliation to École polytechnique is required during most of the program. Starting from the first year of the program, students work closely with academic tutors who will oversee their progress and help customize their training with regards to their own interests and goals.

Minimal requirements for full completion of the program:

>Fulfil all the University Paris-Saclay requirements for MSc degree at the end of year 2 of the program
>Fulfil all the University Paris-Saclay requirements for a PhD
>Additional requirements shall be specified by each department for transfer from 1st  year to 2nd year and  from 2nd  year to PhD status

Key steps:

>The application includes an interview to evaluate the students’ academic abilities, research interests and motivation.
>Final acceptation within the program is conditioned by the fulfillment of the University Paris-Saclay admission rules for an MsC.
>Shortlisted applicants will be assigned a tutor who will help to define a provisional 5-year study plan (this may be done via videoconference though face to face meetings are preferred).

Years 1 and 2: 

>At the end of the fall term the student must submit a mid-year progress report and, with the tutor, define a research project, including the identification of a lab and a team.
>At the end of each year: progress meeting and discussion of the study plan. Students may leave the PhD Program after year 1 or year 2 for personal or academic reasons; in this latter case, they may complete the Masters program.
>Students are expected to complete an intensive research internship at the end of the first and second years of the program.

Years 3 to 5: 

>During the period, at least one year must be spent teaching, participating in scientific outreach program or consulting for industry.
>Annual progress reports at the end of years 3 and 4 plus a provisional timeline for year 5 at the end of year 4.
>Written dissertation demonstrating the results of original research meeting the requirements for a PhD at the University Paris-Saclay.
>Successfully orally defend the PhD research

Costs and funding:

Years 1 and 2: 

>Annual Scholarship of 8,000€ minimum funded by the “Fondation de l’École polytechnique”
>Annual registration fees: 256€ (rate applicable in 2016-17)
>Annual compulsory social security fees: 215€ (rate applicable in 2016-17)

Years 3 to 5: 

>Successful candidates will obtain a 3-year PhD scholarship with a minimum monthly gross salary of  1,758€ (rate applicable in 2016-17)
>Annual registration fees: 391€ (rate applicable in 2016-17)

Entry requirements:

>Academic ability: Applicants will be chosen according to the excellence of their academic records (“Licence”, Bachelor or equivalent qualification) in a relevant discipline.
>Applicants should demonstrate their strong interest in research in a written personal statement.
>Two letters of recommendation from renowned academics supporting the application (motivation and suitability for research) are required.

During the first two years of the program, students will hold the status of Masters student and will obtain PhD candidate status upon successful completion of their Masters degree with distinction. Students wishing to continue in the PhD program must submit a formal application after completion of the Masters program.

Apply online

Deadline for application: April 30th

>List of Academic Departments and Laboratories participating to this program