The doctorate: a career path of about four years corresponding to the realisation of an original research project.

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Training for excellence in research


ne of the main missions of the University of Liège is to conduct research and train researchers. An international university, ULiège covers all areas of research, whether it's in science and technology, health sciences or in human and social sciences. The doctorate is therein considered a training programme of excellence, marking the beginning of the career of the young research, who is trained in research through research.

ULiège has roughly 2,000 doctoral students, men and women from multicultural and international backgrounds, who are as passionate as they are creative and tenacious. They are all doctoral project leaders, carrying them well beyond the national borders through their publications and participation in conferences, symposia or trainings. Students boost the research units and also contribute to the dissemination of knowledge in society at large through many outreach activities in which they participate actively (MT180, Doc Café, Nuit des chercheurs...).

Each year at ULiège 


doctoral graduates and 350 new doctoral students

The new doctors are honoured all together at a ceremony, during which it is also tradition to bestow the honorary title of Doctorate Honoris Causa upon internationally recognised scientific figures.

The doctoral ceremony at ULiège

This ceremony symbolises the fact that the next generation of research is assured, and that the ULiège doctors are part of the international community of doctors on which is based the development of knowledge making it possible to meet the challenges of tomorrow. This ceremony also signifies the belonging of the doctors to the community of Alumni-Doctors of ULiège; alumni amongst whom the ties are strong, more personalised and fundamental to maintain over the long term in order to conserve, develop and ever-improve the scientific expertise of the research units in which these doctors began their careers.

The doctoral training programme

The University of Liège is committed to enabling the doctoral student to carry out their thesis in the best possible conditions, as it has officially committed to by adhering to the European charter of the researcher. Administrative and scientific support continues to be adapted and developed to improve the follow-up provided to the doctoral student. Statistical monitoring is carried out on a regular basis to measure the duration of theses, to count dropouts and to specify the working conditions of doctoral students (notably through types of funding).

Many actors are involved in the training of PhD students: the doctoral schools of the FNRS and the international doctoral schools (for the thematic focus of the training), the Research and Development Administration (see the catalogue of transversal training programmes), the ULiège research units (for scientific production)...The main objective of the doctoral training is to place doctoral students in the best possible conditions to carry out research of excellence.

A doctoral dynamic combining local and international anchoring

Reflection on the PhD is done at different levels: at the international level via the activities of the Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) of the European University Association of which ULiège is a member; at the national level as part of the doctoral schools of the FNRS ; at the local level within the University Council of doctoral training and the doctorate (CUFDD), in the doctoral colleges, and also within the research units. For many years, the University of Liège has been aware of the importance of the PhD as the only specialised postgraduate (3rd cycle) course at the University, and is stepping up its doctoral dynamic, not only internally but externally as well. In particular, it regularly participates in EUA conferences dedicated to the doctorate, especially when the themes addressed correspond to these privileged fields of competence (supervision of PhD students, ethics in research, open access)

Boosting the doctoral dynamics even more is part of the institutional strategy. In the short term, the priority strategic objectives are mastery of the duration and the doctoral course, including the increase in success and the reduction of late withdrawals, the intensification of co-supervisions (notably with prestigious universities, but also with local universities-partners) and the development of theses in companies, the improvement of the valorisation of the doctorate in the private and the public service.

Come to Liège to live this first professional experience in research!

Becoming a PhD student


In search of a thesis

As with the Holy Grail, the thesis may sometimes appear to the PhD student who is preparing it as a mythical and mysterious quest. Between the unknown, the unexpected and the unhoped-for, three doctoral students tell their stories.

Contact - Doctoral Affairs
RISE (Recherche, Innovation, Support and Entreprises)

 Virginie CHRISTOPHE ; Evelyne FAVART

See the team
updated on 4/4/24

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