PSL PhD tracks

Highly selective and entirely taught in English, PSL PhD tracks are 5-year fully funded programs intended for high-potential students hoping to become top level researchers, in France or abroad. Through its PhD Track Grants, PSL will support outstanding students for the entire duration of their graduate studies, from their Master’s to the completion of their PhD.

The PSL PhD tracks are structured along the lines of models in the world’s top universities, with a strong international focus and funding provided from Master’s to Doctorate. Students are immersed in the environment of excellence of the PSL graduate programs (top level facilities and academic teams, international partners, elective courses, etc.). 

Key figures

5 yrs
Master's-Doctorate curriculum
100%
Teaching in English
7
PhD tracks to choose from
1st
University in France

Why sign up for PSL PhD track?

Research track from Master’s year 1 

 

Close supervision and customized curriculum 
 

International scientific environment
 

Funding for 5 years

Presentation
Admissions
Funding
FAQ

In 2022, PSL is renewing its call for applications for its PhD track programs of excellence.
These are 5-year programs, fully funded and intended for high-potential students hoping to become top level researchers in the public or private sector, in France or abroad. 

The PSL PhD Track grant is €10,000 / year for one or two years at Master’s level then the equivalent of a doctoral contract based on French legislation (see details in the Funding tab).

  • After the first 2 years of the program a Master’s degree is awarded. Students are supervised by an academic tutor; they build their own scientific project and acquire the tools needed to carry out an ambitious research project.
  • The next 3 years are spent entirely on the research project and culminate in the PhD degree awarded by Université PSL.
Timeline

List of the 7 PhD tracks offered for September 2022:
(Click on each PhD track for more details)
 


How to apply

Who we look for?
The admission criteria common to all PSL PhD Tracks are as follows: academic excellence, quality of the research project, command of English (level C1 recommended). Previous experience in a research laboratory is highly recommended.

Admissions calendar

•    Application submissions: 15 November to 15 December 2021 (11:59 pm CET time)
•    Interviews with eligible candidates: from 31 January to 22 March 2022 (depending on the PhD track concerned)
•    Admission results: late March / early April 2022

Note: the admissions procedure for the PhD track (4- or 5-year course) and the admissions procedure for the Master’s degree (2 years) are 2 distinct processes. Applicants may apply in parallel for both programs (PhD track and Master’s) according to the admissions calendars. As the PhD tracks are highly selective, applicants are strongly advised to apply for both programs (PhD tracks and Master’s).

Application procedure
Based on an application package (to be submitted online from 15 November 2021 on the PSL portal) and interview. 
Eligible candidates will be invited for an admissions interview (face-to-face or remote) from the end of January 2022. These interviews will be held in English.
Note: no interview for the PhD track in Mathematics.

Application package 
All documents must be submitted in English. Only complete applications submitted within the deadlines will be considered by the committee. Applicants should submit the following documents: 

  • Academic CV 
  • Transcripts and diplomas from each higher education institution / university attended (Bachelor and Master if applicable). 
    One unique pdf for all your documents. You can use pdf-merge website for example.
  • Statement of purpose (In English, strict 1 page limit)
    The purpose of this document is to explain who you are and what you expect from your postgraduate studies. Give details about your interest in the field and your career goals. You can use this document to clarify anything unusual in your CV or your transcripts. One page maximum.
  • Research statement (In English, 1 to 2 pages)
    This project should clearly define your interests within your area of research and specialization. You should present a structured research project showing your commitment and describing what you plan for the future of your research if you join a PSL PhD track.
  • Proof of English proficiency, level C1 (proof not compulsory but recommended)
    The language prerequisites specific to each PhD track are detailed on the applications portal. In general:
    - If your first language is English or if you have earned a higher education diploma (BA, MA) in an English-speaking university, you should include a statement to this effect.
    - If not, you should include the official results from a recent test of English, e.g. TOEFL or IELTS. If you have no recent official results, you can submit some older test results provisionally. This will not detract from the assessment of your application, but we reserve the right to ask for more recent official results later in the selection process.
  • References: contact details (name, position title, email) of at least two academic referees.

More information regarding the statement of pupose and the research statement in the "FAQ" tab.

 

A PhD Track grant provides funding of €10,000 per year of enrollment in the Master’s degree, then the amount currently in force according to the decree of 29 August 2016 setting the amount of remuneration for a contractual PhD student on a 3-year doctoral contract. Funding for the Master’s degree is a gratuity granted directly to the student; the doctoral contract is an employment contract within the meaning of the regulations in force. Thus the PhD student receives a salary that entitles him or her to benefits and is subject to social contributions. The PhD student is considered as an employee for the duration of the contract.

Note - Accommodation: PhD track students will be assisted by the PSL housing service in their search.
Some PhD tracks provide reserved housing for their students (costs remain the responsibility of the student). Detailed information to follow.

 

Admissions & prerequisites

What is the difference between a Master’s degree and a PhD Track?
  • The Master’s degree is a two-year program 
  • The PhD Track is a five-year**, funded and research-oriented program, including a Master’s degree* and research internships, then a Doctorate. You will obtain a Master’s degree then a PhD degree. These 2 diplomas will be awarded by Université PSL.

* When you apply to the PhD Track, you will be asked to choose the Master’s course that you want to follow for the first 2 years of the course (see list of eligible Master’s degrees).
** Exception for the PhD track in Mathematics that recruits at the Master year 1 level (program in 4 years)

 

Can I apply to the 2 programs, Master’s degree and PhD Track?

Absolutely. Given the very high selectivity of the PhD Tracks, it is strongly recommended that you apply for the Master’s degree in parallel if you are interested in both programs. Look at the page of the Master’s degree that you are interested in for the application calendar and how to apply.
 

What is the difference between a PhD Track and a graduate program?

The PhD Track is a 5-year course associated with a PSL graduate program.
The graduate programs follow the model of the “graduate school” in international universities, and consist of an entity (School) that contains research laboratories, academic teams, training programs, etc. The PhD tracks are specific training courses within a graduate program.

What does a “research-oriented course” mean? 

The PSL PhD Tracks are intended for high-potential students hoping to become top-level researchers in the public or private sector.
If you are passionate about research and you want an international career, you are ideal for the PhD track program. 
 

What are the admission criteria?

The admission criteria common to all the PSL PhD Tracks are as follows: academic excellence, research project, command of English (C1 level).
 

How are the social criteria assessed for obtaining a grant? Do I have to provide proof of my financial situation?

No personal proof is required for this purpose. The admission criteria are exclusively academic.
 

Is there an age limit for applying to the PhD track?

No.

I don’t speak French, can I still apply?

Certainly, if you speak English fluently. All courses are taught in English.

What level of English is required to apply? Do I have to provide proof?

Level C1 is strongly recommended. Supporting documents are not compulsory for all PhD tracks (see what documents are required in the application portal). Note that interviews with eligible candidates take place in English and allow the jury to assess your oral level.
 

I only have a Bachelor’s degree. Can I apply?

Certainly. However, note that many applicants already have a Master’s degree.
Note: the PhD track in Mathematics requires a MS Year 1 to apply for this campaign.

I have not yet graduated from my current course. Can I still apply?

Yes, if you are preparing the last year of an undergraduate diploma in the year you apply for PhD Tracks that take students in Master’s year 1. You should upload the most recent transcripts you have available to the applications portal. If you have graduated, you will then be asked to produce your diploma when you enroll.

 

Admission procedure 2022

What is the admission calendar?

•    Application submissions: 15 November to 15 December 2021
•    Interviews* with eligible candidates: from 31 January to 22 March 2022 (depending on the PhD track concerned)
•    Admission results: late March / early April 2022

Eligible candidates will be invited for an admissions interview (face-to-face or remote) from the end of January 2022. These interviews will be held in English.
* Exception for the PhD track in Mathematics: no interview (only the online application package is required).

What documents are required to apply?
  • Academic CV 
  • Transcripts and diplomas from each higher education institution / university attended
    One unique pdf for all documents. You can merge them with pdf-merge for example.
  • Statement of purpose (In English, strict 1 page limit)
    The purpose of this document is to explain who you are and what you expect from your postgraduate studies. Give details about your interest in the field and your career goals. You can use this document to clarify anything unusual in your CV or your transcripts. One page maximum.
  • Research statement (In English, 1 to 2 pages)
    This project should clearly define your interests within your area of research and specialization. You should present a structured research project showing your commitment and describing what you plan for the future of your research if you join a PSL PhD track.
  • Proof of English proficiency, level C1 (proof not compulsory but recommended)
    The language prerequisites specific to each PhD track are detailed on the applications portal. In general:
    - If your first language is English or if you have earned a higher education diploma (BA/BS.c, MA) in an English-speaking university, you should include a statement to this effect.
    - If not, you should include the official results from a recent test of English, e.g. TOEFL or IELTS. If you have no recent official results, you can submit some older test results provisionally. This will not detract from the assessment of your application, but we reserve the right to ask for more recent official results later in the selection process.
  • References: contact details (name, position title, email) of at least two academic referees.
What is a research statement?

The research statement must be written in English and not exceed 2 pages.
A research statement is a short document that provides a brief history of your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future work you intend to complete.
Your research statement should situate your work within the larger context of your field and show how your works contribute, complicate, or counter other work being done. It should be written for an audience of other professionals in your field.
Make sure that your statement is clearly tied together. Show a progression.
What is the primary question that you have tried to address over the course of your academic career? Why is this question important to the field? How has each stage of your work related to that question?

What is a statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose must be written in English and not exceed 1 page.
A statement of purpose (SOP), sometimes referred to as a personal statement, is a critical piece of a graduate program application. It tells admissions committees who you are, what your academic and professional interests are, and how you’ll add value to the GP you’re applying to.
The statement of purpose reflects not only who you are as a candidate but your writing abilities and qualifications as well.
A good personal statement should contain: your personal motivations for applying to the program, your accomplishments and success-stories, the challenges you’ve faced and overcome.

 

Funding

What is the amount of a PhD Track grant?

The PSL PhD Track grant is €10,000 / year for one or two years at Master’s level then the equivalent of a doctoral contract based on French legislation.

Tuition fees, as well as the cost of housing, transport, and living expenses in general are paid by the student. 

Is it possible to combine several grants?

The grant obtained by PSL PhD Tracks students cannot be combined with other grants (notably Eiffel scholarships), unless permission is expressly granted by the committee of the graduate program concerned. 

How much are tuition fees?

The PhD tracks are 5-year courses. As a rough guide, below are the provisional annual amounts for enrollment fees, based on the rates in force in 2021/22. Note that the grant awarded to students on the PSL PhD tracks does not include these annual enrollment fees.

PSL PhD tracks

    Master's degree (2 yrs)

    Doctorate (3 yrs)

 - PhD track in Life sciences
 - PhD track in Earth sc. & biodiversity
 - PhD track in Astrophysics
 - PhD track in Physics
 - PhD track in Mathematics & applications
  €243 / year (all nationalities)
  €380 / year (all nationalities)
 - PhD track in Chemistry
  €243 / year (EU students and non EU students. The latter will benefit from a partial fees exemption if admitted to PSL PhD track in Chemistry). Information
  €380 / year (all nationalities)
 - PhD track in Finance
    From €243 / year to €6,630 / year depending on global gross income of reference tax household for year N-2. Information
  €380 / year (all nationalities)

In addition to these fees is the “Contribution to student and campus life” (CVEC) of around €92 / year. There are several exemptions available. Information

 

International students

Do you offer a welcome service for international students?

Certainly. The PSL Welcome Desk will help you at every stage, to advise you, guide you and ensure that your arrival in Paris and at PSL goes smoothly:

  • Before you arrive, the PSL Welcome Desk can help you complete the main administrative formalities (visa, CVEC, transport, etc.) and will put you in touch with other PSL students via the Buddy Program “Partner@PSL”.
  • When you arrive, come and see the Welcome Desk team during office hours to check out the next formalities that need to be completed: validation of your visa, registration with the French Social Security system, request for housing allowance from CAF, taking out home insurance, opening a bank account, etc.
  • During the university year: don’t hesitate to contact the PSL Welcome Desk for help with medical reimbursements or with finding a bilingual doctor. The international tutors can also give you a hand with finding a student job and following up on the renewal of your residence permit with the Prefecture.
     

Information | Contact: welcomedesk@psl.eu

Do you offer courses in French as a foreign language (FLE)?

Non-French speaking students can indeed follow FLE courses as part of their training at PSL. You will get all the information you need at the start of the academic year, at your host school.



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