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PhD Scholarships in France – Search, Find & Enrol


There are opportunities for scholarships in French institutions open to PhD students worldwide. Every year, hundreds of students around the world are awarded scholarships for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs – French scholarships worth tens of thousands of euros.

In this article we have pulled a list of some of the best PhD scholarship programs for international students. Applications are open for all or will soon be. You are advised to read thoroughly, information available on the official websites of the sponsoring bodies. There will be criteria, course list, requirements and application guides mostly detailed in brochures. Download the brochures where possible and study it to avoid making any costly mistakes.


France is home to some of the World’s best student cities despite the fact that education in France can be both cheap and expensive depending on the institution and city. Public universities are actually some of the cheapest in Europe, but the private universities can cost a fortune.

By conservative estimates, private universities in France can set you back €10,000 in yearly tuition. Living expenses should punch another €10,000 hole in your savings every year. Unless you were pretty well braced for the cost, it wouldn’t be long before you start reeling from the financial hit. But do not panic. There are cheaper ways to study in France provided you keep your hands off private universities.

Public universities show greater mercy. €200 – €600 is the average tuition across France – thanks to the government really pulling its weight on education.

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Public universities

The 140 public institutions are referred to as ‘Éstablissement public á caractére scientifique, culturel et professionnel’ (EPSCP) (Public Establishments of a Scientific, Cultural or Professional Character).

The two main varieties of public university within the EPSCP grouping are:

  • Universities – France has 83 public universities, that offer comprehensive academic research and training in a wide range of subject areas. All can award PhDs.
  • Major Public Establishments – The ‘Grands éstablissements publics’ are top public universities, governed under ministerial charter by the French Government. They specialise within specific disciplines and have entrance exams.

As you already know, tuition alone is not the only financial stress you will be subjected to. Cost of living would be a significant or even the greatest source of budgetary challenge. Thankfully, a number of universities and organizations in France are intervening on behalf of some students in the form or scholarship. It is our wish that you be among these lucky ones.

Little Facts to know about PhD Study in France

  • You will usually be studying your PhD in France for 3-4 years as a full-time student.
  • You either apply to be part of a project in an employment contract or you apply directly for a full-time doctorate degree.
    • doctoral contract (contrat doctoral) is a job placement within a research laboratory. These are mainly offered within public institutions (to students of any nationality).
    • You will receive benefits such as a PhD salary and social security, however you will also be subject to income tax.
    • The contract is for 3-years and is renewable for 1-year. There are two types of contract resulting in two salary levels: research only (lower pay grade) and research + professional tasks (teaching).
  • If you are applying directly to a project this will already have a designated supervisor; whereas if you apply to doctoral school, you may be assigned a supervisor or be required to apply to one yourself.
  • Once assigned a supervisor you will sign a moral contract (thesis charter) depicting the preparation of your thesis, objectives and resources.
  • The French Government plans to increase university fees for international (non-EU / EEA) students from 2019 onwards, but only at Bachelors and Masters level. The annual cost of a programme for these students is expected to rise to €3,770 for Masters courses at public universities. PhD fees will remain at €380, regardless of nationality.

Now we’ll start with the first PhD Program in France on our list.


This program offered by ESSEC Business School is for doctoral degrees in Business Administration and Economics. It aims to prepare candidate to play an active role in the academic community and develop cutting edge research abilities. ESSEC is a community of current and future scholars with the mission to walk you through the transformative journey from being a knowledge consumer to a knowledge producer.

The program is full-time, taught entirely in English, and up to the highest international standards. Faculties have leading scholars in varying fields of PhD specialization, with a special focus on research and mentoring future scholars.

ESSEC is a world-class business school ranked #4 for its MiM Program by the Financial Times. It is operated in three countries: France, Singapore, and Morocco, and has a network of international partner institutions for exchange of knowledge and scholars in the larger international community.

Financial support on this scholarship program would cover tuition fees and a generous living stipend of 23,000 EUR every year.

Before applying for this program, first read through the brochure to know the options available, and other conditions to be met. The brochure can be obtained by visiting this link, filing a form with your name, email, country, and birth date. It will be delivered to your email afterwards. Once you are ready to start application, you can go to the portal here. Application is current open and you are advised to submit yours before it closes. The first round closes on October 17th, 2019, the second round on January 13th, 2020, third round on March 2nd, 2020, and last round on April 27th, 2020.


European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Grenoble) is a program based in Germany but has partner universities in other countries including French universities likeUniversité Joseph Fourier de Grenoble, Université de Strasbourg, Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot

It is open to students of all nationalities. Applicants should hold a degree or be anticipating oneno later than October of any year before enrolment. Applicants will also have to be supported by at least two academic reference letters. There are other admission criteria. To learn more you can visit the program website. Applications should be submitted through the recruitment portal.

There are several tips for applicants from current students at EMBL. You can go through these bits of advice as it is coming from students who have experienced studying at the institution. Applicants should also study the brochure thoroughly before starting to apply. The brochure contains vital information like the application process, and the available programs. Combining the website and brochure should provide every guide a student would need.

Application is open from august 26th 2019 to October 26th 2019. Reference deadline is on October 23rd 2019. Interview will hold at EMBL locations in Heidelberg, Barcelona, EBI Hinxton, Grenoble, Hamburg, and Rome at the end of January 2020. Application results will be sent out by the end of November 2019 with full details of the interview process sent to invited candidates. The application process is entirely free.


Started in 1881, HEC Paris consistently ranks among the top business research institution specializing in education and research management. Being one of the leading academic institutions in the world, it offers a wide range of programs from which students and business leaders can select. HEC is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of knowledge by active research and publications in the top academic journals, and participation in national and international academic conferences.

This PhD in management program prepares students for a career in research and academia by providing in-depth knowledge on a particular area of management research, research methods, collection and analysis of data, writing and presentation of research works, and academic networking. It is fully taught in English

Participants will benefit from both academic and financial support. There is no restriction on support for students of any nationality. The program admits 65 students, 80% of whom are international students from at least 21 nationalities. The average age of students is 29 years, and 40% are women. There is a 100% tuition waiver and a yearly stipend of 20,000 EUR for living expenses to be received for up to a period of 5 years. Candidates can also benefit from extra income opportunities with RA/TA. The first round of application is open from August 22nd, 2019 to January 9th, 2020. The second round begins on January 9th, 2020 to April 23rd, 2020. Application is to be submitted via the application portal


The INSEAD PhD in Management is a five-year full-time course jointly offered in two campuses, one in France and the other in Singapore. Candidates will have up to a year of campus exchange with Wharton, thanks to the INSEAD-Wharton cooperation. Beneficiaries will also have access to cutting-edge behavioral research in France’s state-of-the-art behavioral laboratory in Paris, which happens to be a benchmark for several business schools.

The program is open to applicants in their senior undergraduate year, new alumni or career switchers from any discipline, regardless of research experience, background, or nationality. The most important requirement is for students to have a passion in academic research, with zeal to become successful management professors in business schools around the world.

Training and research will be interdisciplinary with options to specialize in Accounting, Decision Science, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Strategy, and Technology & Operations Management. From the beginning of the program, students will be encouraged to engage actively in research several areas of study. The first two years are spent on course-work, and the rest will be for dissertation.

Funding package includes tuition waiver and generous monthly stipends regardless of Course, Campus or Nationality. There is also a significant research support and comprehensive health insurance coverage to be renewed yearly upon satisfactory performance.

Recruitment is currently ongoing with a mid-December 2019 deadline. Click here to register and start your application


The International School of Management is headquartered in Paris and has partner institutions in New York, Shanghai, New Delhi, São Paulo and Cape Town. It gives students a global perspective to the modern business world to become successful professionals. Students cultivate leadership skills necessary to cope with the challenge of senior management on an international level. The managerial qualities of the doctoral degrees enable managers to deepen their expertise, contribute to knowledge in their fields, and be ready for the complex analysis and decision making requirements of senior management. The degree is meant for two types of candidates: experienced business executives, and innovative teachers and researchers.

Courses are taught in small diverse groups to maximize contact with the chain of ISM’s professors around the world. This exposes the students to different ideas and business cultures. ISM students also have the opportunity to become part of a collaborative community of alumni staff, giving them access to a lifetime of inter-cultural ideas and career opportunities. To see everything regarding the study plan, download the ISM brochure from the website.

Prospective candidates are required to have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution, and must have also completed a master’s program. A work experience of at least eight years in senior management, steady career progression with growing professional responsibilities.Candidates are also required to have a strong command of written and spoken English.

You are advised to download and read through the brochure before applying at the application portal here

Application is open throughout the year with intakes in October, January, April, and July. Though there are deadlines, applications can still be accepted on a case by case basis. For the January intake, early and final application deadlines are September 1st and November 15th respectively. For the April intake, early and final deadlines are December 1st and February 15th respectively. Application for the July intake early and final closure are March 1st and May 15th respectively. Finally, for the October intake, applications close early on June 1st and August 15th.


NEOMA doctoral program is designed for both fresh graduates and experienced professionals. It provides a rigorous intellectual training that is quite challenging and unique in the international environment. The program explores the application of research skills to create innovative management solutions for the modern volatile business environment. By combining sophisticated training with supervised research, students are groomed to work in leading positions of academic and research institutions.

Both DBA and PhD programs are offered in English. Courses are held over weekends based on a part-time schedule. However, the PhD Management is full-time with courses, seminars, individual research mentorship and doctoral thesis.
Funding is available for some of the PhD courses in this program. Candidates can apply from any country, but funding may only apply to a limited number of countries. You are advised to read the complete guide on NEOMA’s official portal in order to know if you qualify for scholarship. For those who do not qualify, there will be a tuition fee of 10000 EUR plus living expenses. There is also a booking fee of 100 EUR.

Application is open until the end of June each year. You will submit your application through this portal


The French government provides several scholarships to international students often for graduate (masters and doctoral level) study.

The scholarships available are:

  • The Eiffel Scholarship Program of Excellence – Available for Science, Economics, Management, Law and Political Science students. Benefits include: €1,400 per month for up to 10-months, medical insurance, subsidised housing and international round-trip airfare.
  • Make Our Planet Great again: Make Our Planet Great Again is an initiative of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, launched on 1st June 2017 following the decision of the United States to leave the Paris Agreement on the climate. It is a call to researchers and students, entrepreneurs, associations and NGOs, students and all civil society to mobilize and join France to lead the fight against global warming.
  • PRESTIGE Postdoc Program: Open to all, regardless of their field of research, the PRESTIGE programme encourages the mobility of French and foreign researchers, from and to France. It cofinances their French hosting/sending institution and thus helps fund their research project.
  • Public body funding – public organisations such as the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Research and Development (IRD) and the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the SEA (IFREMER) finance research

There are a number of other scholarships available for international students, such as the Horizon 2020 SchemeErasmus Mundus as well as scholarship from Regional Authorities for foreign students enrolled in programmes within their region.

See more information on how to enroll for a PhD Program in France HERE

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