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Thesis oral examination

At least two months before the thesis defence

The thesis director sends the jury composition proposal to the ABIES correspondent person. If the doctoral school agrees with the composition, the doctoral candidate will be asked to declare the thesis defence on Adum. Once the composition of the jury is approved, the doctoral candidate or the thesis director will contact the jury members to decide on the defence date.

Doctoral candidates defending after the 31st of December must re-enrol for the next university year and the re-enrolment process must have been completed before starting to declare the thesis defence. The doctoral candidate must update his/her Adum profile, especially the training part and the accepted publications, as well as provide a permanent email address.

For a thesis defence at Université Paris-Saclay and at AgroParisTech the process is entirely online on Adum.

  • The doctoral candidate indicates the expected defence date, the jury memberswith their titles and employing institution (including the research campus for national institutions but is different from the postal address) as validated by the doctoral school. The doctoral candidate must also validate the titles, keywords, summaries (both in French and in English) and the specialty.
  • In the meantime, the doctoral candidate sends the manuscript cover pages to the ABIES correspondent, Christine Duvaux-Ponter and Corinne Fiers for validation, using:
    • the AgroParisTech model
  • The thesis director indicates on Adum his/her opinion on the jury composition, then the head of the doctoral school, then:
    • the Graduate school Biosphera, before it is fully validated by Université Paris-Saclay for a thesis at Université Paris-Saclay
    • the head of AgroParisTech Doctoral Studies (Christine Duvaux-Ponter) validates it for a thesis at AgroParisTech
  • Once the thesis manuscript is finalized, the doctoral candidate uploads the pdf file on his/her Adum profile.
  • Thesis reviewers will receive by email the official letter designating them as reviewers along with a link to the electronic version of the thesis, and, for AgroParisTech, the report model, as well as a link to submit their report one month before the planned day of the thesis defence. The doctoral candidate and the thesis director are in copy.
  • The doctoral candidate will directly discuss with the jury members about the need to send or not a hard copy of the manuscript.
  • Jury members will be sent the convocation letter to the defence, subject to its authorization, and will receive a link to the thesis electronic version with the doctoral candidate and the thesis director in copy.

Once the 1st manuscript deposit has been checked and the official request for the report sent, the doctoral candidate will be contacted by AgroParisTech library for the thesis submission.


Three weeks before the thesis defence

  • Reviewers upload their report on Adum using the link sent to them
  • The thesis director gives his/her opinion about the thesis defence on his/her own Adum profile, followed by the head of the doctoral school, then:

o the Graduate School Biosphera will validate it and Université Paris-Saclay will authorize the thesis defence

o AgroParisTech, represented by the head of doctoral training (Christine Duvaux-Ponter) will authorize the defence.

  • Invitations will be sent by email to all jury members
  • The doctoral candidate and the thesis director must download the minutes (PV, Procès Verbal) and defence report models on his/her Adum profile. These documents must be given to the president of the jury on the day of the defence.
    • In the case of a fully or partial remote thesis defence, the doctoral candidate must contact as soon as possible his/her ABIES correspondent to ensure all the conditions are met. The document produced by Paris-Saclay about virtual defences can provide usefull information


Some rules about the thesis defence

Jury Composition

Reviewers must:

  • Have the HDR (habilitation à diriger des recherches), or provide a curriculum including their publications and their thesis supervisions if they are foreigners and do not have a professor equivalence.
  • Be external to the doctoral school ABIES and to the institution awarding the doctoral degree
  • Have no publication co-authored with the doctoral candidate
  • Be external to the individual monitoring committee

The jury is composed of

  • 4 to 8 members (including the thesis director)
  • At least 50% of members external to the doctoral school and the institution awarding the doctoral degree
  • At least 50% of professors or equivalent (only Research directors from EPST (National research and technic institutions such as INRAE or CNRS) have direct equivalence)
  • Strictly less than 50% of the members must have been involved at some point in the thesis project (supervision, individual monitoring committee)


On the day of the thesis defence

Jury members nominate a president. If one of the jury members cannot participate at the last minute, the president ensures that the jury composition is still valid and otherwise he asks the doctoral school or postpones the defence.

The president must be Professor or equivalent. HDR is not enough for professor equivalence, thus a Maître de Conférences or a Chargé de Recherche with HDR cannot be president.

The thesis supervisor, as well as any other person who participated in the thesis supervision (joint thesis supervisor, co-supervisors), does not participate in the jury and does not take part in the deliberation. However, the supervisors can join the jury for the defence as invited members.

Moreover, we recommend that the president organizes between the thesis defence and the deliberation a discussion with the supervisors. This dedicated time can provide additional elements that can be useful for the deliberation, which will take place without the thesis supervisors (thesis supervisor, joint thesis supervisor, co-supervisors).

The supervisors and the invited members can ask questions during the thesis defence but cannot take part in the deliberation and do not sign the documents.


At the end of the defence and in case of admission, the doctor will individually take an oath

Once the jury has proclaimed the result of its deliberation, the president of the jury will invite the doctor to pronounce the following oath

"In the presence of my peers. With the completion of my doctorate in [xxx], in my quest for knowledge, I have carried out demanding research, demonstrated intellectual rigour, ethical reflection, and respect for the principles of research integrity. As I pursue my professional career, whatever my chosen field, I pledge, to the greatest of my ability, to continue to maintain integrity in my relationship to knowledge, in my methods and in my results."

The oath can be taken in English or in French.

In case the doctor does not take the oath, it will be mentioned in the defence report.

The president writes a thesis defence report that is signed by all jury members.


Sending of the minutes and defence report

For Paris-Saclay University
The thesis director collects the signed documents and the proxies (for a remote defence) and

  • sends them by email to AgroParisTech doctoral studies direction This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
  • sends the original paperwork by post to the Maison du Doctorat-Université Paris-Saclay - Documents de soutenance - ENS Paris-Saclay 4 avenue des sciences 91190 Gif-Sur-Yvette

For AgroParisTech
The thesis director collects the signed documents and the proxies (for a remote defence) and

  • sends them by email to AgroParisTech doctoral studies direction This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • sends the original paperwork by post to Direction des Formations doctorales d'AgroParisTech 22 place de l'Agronomie - CS 20040 - 91123 PALAISEAU cedex


After the thesis defence

Within THREE MONTHS after the thesis defence, the doctor must modify the manuscript as requested by the jury members and add the president and the NNT number on his/her thesis manuscript cover page. If the thesis is written in English, he/she must add a substantial summary in French (less than 15 pages). He/she then uploads his/her manuscript as a PDF file on Adum (second submission).

Documents and forms to be sent or uploaded on Adum:

For Paris-Saclay University

  • Request to produce the diploma: by email to the doctoral school
  • Legal deposit and thesis diffusion conditions: to upload on Adum

For AgroParisTech, by email to the doctoral school

  • Request to produce the diploma
  • Contract to authorize the institution to communicate an electronic thesis
  • Certificate to comply with the image rights.

If the submission is correctly fulfilled, the diploma production and the thesis dissemination can be rapidly done.

No success certificate or diploma will be delivered without the second submission.


After the thesis

About 90 thesis are defended each year at ABIES. An individual follow-up is done every year Doctors are requested to update their Adum profile with their professional activities during at least 5 years after their PhD degree.

A database including all doctors and doctoral candidates since 1999 allows a follow-up of the employment situation of doctors.