Admission to a PhD
The admissions for the 2022 enrollment are closed. The 2023 admissions campaign starts next October.
Candidates who already hold a Master's degree or equivalent and who wish to enter a PhD programme at thesis level, regardless of their previous studies (international or French), should apply directly online.
Only one application is possible per academic year, regardless of the programme.
For the record, the 2022 admission deadlines were:
- 11 January 2022, 11:59 pm (Paris time), results will be announced mid-March 2022
- 18 May 2022, 11:59 pm (Paris time), results will be announced mid-July 2022
The doctoral programme will start the following autumn, whether you are admitted for the first or second session.
The PhD application is open to students with a Research Master's degree, a postgraduate degree (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies - DEA) or an equivalent degree (bac +5). There must be a match between the candidate's graduate studies and the discipline of the requested doctoral programme.
For the record, the IEP awards PhDs in Economics, History, Law, Political Science and Sociology.
For candidates who do not have the required degrees to be directly admitted into the First thesis year, see admissions into Master’s programmes offered by the School of Research.
Thesis supervisor consent
In Sociology only, the PhD application can only be reviewed if the thesis supervisor has provided you with a preliminary letter of consent and if a research unit Director has provided you with a preliminary letter of consent.
In Economics, Law and Political science, no preliminary letter of consent is requested.
In History, the name of the potential research supervisor must be indicated (in the “Personal statement” tab), no preliminary letter of consent is requested.
Identification of the host research unit
Sciences Po's Graduate School is careful to limit PhD admissions to students whose thesis proposal is likely to succeed. It is therefore important that the candidate have a developed vision of his/her thesis subject and the implications of this choice for his/her research and career plans.
The thesis topic might change during the first months of the PhD programme, but it is important that the candidate formulate in the most precise and coherent way possible the key elements to evaluating his/her research project.
Criteria for the application evaluation
Several criteria are taken into account for the selection of candidates applying for a doctorate:
- The selection of the research problem must be supported by previous work.
- A presentation of the chosen methodology to address the given problem.
- An evaluation of the feasibility of the planned research from both a scientific and practical perspective. Some topics require access to areas or data that are not easily accessible.
- The candidate must also indicate his/her availability to produce a thesis. This is particularly important for employed candidates. (1)(See the section "Financing of studies" below).
- The financing of studies(See the section "Financing of studies" below).
- Finally, it is important that the candidate be able to explain his/her project in relation to his/her academic and/or professional background. The academic record should preferably be consistent and coherent. In all cases the requisite academic track record must be very good. Moreover, for employed candidates, the professional career must be explained and related to the thesis project: how might the candidate's professional experience tie into the thesis project? Is the thesis part of a professional development plan?
The application must be submitted exclusively online, according to the Admissions calendar.
Documents for your application may be uploaded in French or in English:
For all doctoral programs:
- Two academic recommendations (an optional professional recommendation may be added)
- Proof of identity
- Thesis project ( PDF or Word format, 5,000 words maximum, i.e. about ten pages, excluding bibliographic references)
- Thesis project synopsis (two pages, PDF or Word format)
- Copy of last completed academic degree (Master or equivalent)
- Master transcripts ( the documents must be attached in the original language, along with an official or informal translation in English or French if necessary. Please add a sworn statement of compliance if the translation is yours)
- If obtained, official proof of doctoral funding obtention (see the "Financing of studies" section below).
PLEASE NOTE : no supporting document will be accepted after the evaluation process has begun. Please make sure that your application is complete before submitting it. For candidates currently in the process of obtaining the requested diploma, please attach all the transcripts available at the time of your application. Incomplete applications will not be assessed.
Additional information for the following doctoral programmes
- Indicate at least one potential Thesis supervisor from Sciences Po’s Center for History in the “Personal statement” tab.
- The Thesis project mustn’t exceed 3,000 words excluding bibliography, that shouldn’t exceed 20-25 titles
- A grade of 16/20 or equivalent is required for the Master Thesis
Political science :
- A grade of 16/20 or equivalent is required for the Master Thesis
- A signed letter from a thesis supervisor authorised to supervise research, indicating that he/she accepts to supervise your thesis ;
- A letter from the laboratory Director indicating that he/she accepts to host you in the laboratory (contact the laboratory Director) ;
- A grade of 16/20 (if graded) is required for the Master Thesis.
The result of the language test is optional.
- Economics: English C2, French
- History: French B2
- Law: English C2, French
- Political Science (Compared politics, International Relations, Political Theory) : French B2
- Sociology: French B2
CAUTION: "Required languages" is a mandatory field in our application file; if you do not have a CECR test result or self-assessment to upload, please select "two years of study in the language" by default.
Pay our application fee
The €100 application fee is not refundable.
We do not offer fee waivers, unless you have a refugee status or are a recipient of a CROUS scholarship. In that case, please contact us to inform us, and attach the official proof of your current situation to your file.
Please note: Paying the application fee does not mean that your application form has been submitted. Make sure to submit your application form within the deadline by clicking on the “Submit“ button.
If you are unable to pay by credit card, please contact the Admissions Department to obtain our bank details. Your payment will be validated on receipt of a copy of the proof of transfer.
Submit your application
Do not wait until the last day to submit your application.To be assessed, your application must be complete and submitted before the deadline of the programme you are applying to.
Deadlines always refer to Paris time (23:59pm).
- As our platform does not automatically invalidate incomplete files, it is your responsibility to submit an application that includes all required documents (including references).
- Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to bring any change, please be very careful.
Applicants may be contacted for an interview as part of the admission procedure.
Financing of studies
In accordance with the decree of 25 May 2016 setting the national training framework and the procedures leading to the issuing of the national doctoral degree, the financial preconditions must be met to ensure the orderly conduct of the research work and preparation of the thesis. Doctoral funding is therefore necessary to engage in a doctoral thesis.
The doctorate is full-time at Sciences Po (except in the particular case of full-time employees who work on a research subject directly related to their job and have obtained the employer's agreement to have the necessary time to carry out their research) and the funding must meet the following criteria :
- a duration of at least three years;
- a net monthly amount of approximately EUR 1,500 ;
- the obligations attached to the financing must not represent more than one day per week (with the exception of CIFRE, where the obligations must be assessed on a case-by-case basis);
- the funding organisation must respect the academic freedom of the doctoral student regarding the content of his research and the composition of the defense jury;
- funding must not come from personal resources but from public or private organisations (foundations, associations, companies, public authorities, international organisations, local authorities or others to be validated beforehand by the doctoral school) offering doctoral funding.
For more information on funding opportunities, see the section on Funding.
For all students entering the PhD programme, the annual fee for 2021/2022 is 380 euros, irrespective of tax residency (the annual fee for 2022-2023 will be determined later)
In addition to receiving guidance from their thesis supervisor, some PhD students receive assistance from another Professor or Researcher who may be based in a different institution.
The role of this co-supervisor must be formalised through a co-supervised thesis agreement established :
- between the PhD student's institution and the co-supervisor if the co-supervisor works at a different institution,
- between the supervisor and co-supervisor if both work at IEP Paris. At Sciences Po the co-supervision is formalised through an exchange of letters.
The PhD student will obtain a PhD from his/her home institution. The co-supervisors commit to following the PhD student's work and to sit on the thesis examining committee. The thesis will explicitly state it was co-supervised and include the names and titles of the co-supervisors on the thesis cover page.
The Administrative Officer of the program must be informed of the co-supervised for validation.
The joint thesis involves guidance from two supervisors : a professor at IEP Paris and a professor from a foreign institution.
It allows the issuance of two PhD degree, or of a joint degree where applicable.
In France, joint theses are governed by the amended decree of 6 January 2005 on international joint theses (PDF, 45Ko)
At Sciences Po, joint theses may only be permitted if:
- The student has already been admitted to Sciences Po
- The two thesis supervisors approached have conferred and provided their consent in writing.
Joint theses require the establishment of an agreement signed by all the partners (individuals and institutions). The three-year agreement must cover, among other things, the terms of registration, tuition, and the defence. It must be established in the first thesis year: see the section below on administrative procedures.
A joint thesis only makes sense and is only possible if the research project is shared by two institutions. In cases where this condition cannot be met, the student might consider a co-supervision, which also provides guidance from two supervisors, but does not allow the issuance of a dual degree.
A joint thesis allows the student to:
- have access to greater resources (documentary resources, networks)
- pursue international career opportunities.
- Have access to, joint thesis scholarships covering the costs of joint theses (student's residence and defence fees)
Joint theses may be difficult if the thesis supervisors have divergent views on the PhD student's work, or if the institutions' rules are too far apart.
In this case, the student might consider a co-supervision, which also provides guidance from two supervisors, but does not allow the issuance of a dual degree.
Even if the student is already enrolled in a foreign university, he/she must also be admitted to Sciences Po's at the thesis level.
Upon admission, the student must submit his/her joint project to the administration (administrative manager).
The agreement must include the following information :
- The university of primary enrolment
- Terms of tuition payment
- Terms of the defence
- Terms of sharing the defence fees
Once the agreement is signed, all parties will receive a copy.
If any breach of agreement should arise, management should be contacted.
Tuition fees will be paid in accordance with agreement. However, until the agreement is signed, the student is liable for the tuition at both institutions.
The organisation of the defence is framed by the agreement.