Thesis defense

Thesis defense and electronic filing of theses

For more information, here is the decree of May 25, 2016 on doctoral education

Charter to be respected for the writing of the thesis

I - Request for defense

The procedure for requesting the defense begins three months before the planned date of defense, summer vacations excluded. To begin with, the thesis director must ask for the opinion of the thesis commission of the ED on the choice of the rapporteurs and the composition of the jury. The objective of this commission is to watch over the interest of the doctoral students and to valorize the doctorate by ensuring the quality of its evaluation. A few simple rules, based on the usual ethical rules, have been established (see validation_jury_these.pdf). In some particular cases, the strict application of these rules goes against the intended objectives, which is why it is the commission that decides. The final validation of the choice of rapporteurs and the composition of the jury is the responsibility of the head of the institution. 

The thesis director therefore sends the ED secretariat by email: 

- the name of the doctoral student, - a summary of the thesis, - the composition of the jury, - the desired date of defense, - an ordered and detailed list of three possible names of rapporteurs.

As far as the rapporteurs are concerned, they must be qualified to direct research or equivalent (exceptions are possible but require the approval of the scientific council, see article 17 of the decree of May 25, 2016 above), outside the doctoral school and the candidate's institution, and are responsible for examining the work. Rapporteurs from foreign higher education or research institutions may be called upon. The rapporteurs have no involvement in the doctoral student's work. 

Concerning the composition of the jury

It must include between four and eight members, including the thesis director (who does not take part in the decision). 

At least half of the jury members must be French or foreign personalities from outside the doctoral school and the institution, chosen for their scientific competence. 

At least half of the jury must be composed of rank A personalities, i.e. professors or equivalent (as defined in the provisions concerning the appointment of members of the National Council of Universities) or teachers of equivalent rank who are not under the authority of the Ministry of Higher Education.

The composition of the jury must allow for a balanced representation of men and women and must not be unisex. Rapporteurs may be part of the jury, but this is not an obligation.

The president of the jury is designated during the defense by all the members of the jury, and must be of rank A.

As soon as we receive this information, the secretariat transmits the thesis director's proposal to the Thesis Commission. The delay of answer of this one will not exceed one week. Once the proposal is validated, the doctoral student will be invited to complete the defense form on his ADUM account.

The defense form is then to be completed in accordance with the information provided in the previous step and must be signed by the thesis director and the doctoral student. It must then be submitted to the doctoral school's management for signature and accompanied by the CVs of the non-HDR referees (this mainly concerns foreign referees who do not have the rank of professor in their home university) and the thesis manuscript in the correct format. 

Finally, the file must be submitted to the school no later than 9 weeks before the scheduled defense date.

It is the responsibility of the thesis director to transmit the manuscript to the referees. The referees must send their reports to the doctoral student's school.

Luminy Campus:

Contact Mrs. Yolande Tinel, 04 91 82 90 04,

St Jérôme Campus :

Contact Mrs. Géraldine Callier, 04 91 28 84 49, mail :

École Centrale de Marseille :

Contact Mrs. Nathalie Briffa, 04 91 05 46 20, mail :

After agreement of the President of the University, these services request the reports and ask for a return at the latest 4 weeks before the date of the defense. 

A copy of the reports must imperatively be sent to the secretariat of the ED.

In view of the reports, the authorization to defend is granted by the President of the university, after the opinion of the Director of the doctoral school. These reports are communicated to the jury and to the candidate before the defense.

II - Electronic submission of the thesis

For Aix-Marseille University

Following the adoption at the CA of July 19, 2016 of the new Charter of deposit and electronic dissemination of theses, a new procedure of deposit is set up for the defenses from January 1, 2017.

What to keep in mind when filing a thesis:

1. The deposit of a paper copy is abandoned: the BU does not collect this copy anymore, it is not necessary to ask the PhD student for it.

2. The distribution of the thesis is mandatory on the intranet: a new contract is therefore put in place, you will find it attached but the doctoral student can download it pre-filled from the deposit counter.

The BU retrieves the Contract for the online publication of a defended thesis filled in by the doctoral student and the Notice of the jury on the publication of a defended thesis filled in by the jury president. The updated versions required for legal deposit are attached.

Important: only the updated version of the contract will be taken into account as of January 1, 2017.

The electronic deposit of the manuscript must be done by the PhD student at the latest one month before the defense by connecting to the deposit window

Before submitting the manuscript, doctoral students are advised to prepare the elements of the submission:

thesis file (a single pdf 1.4 file), abstracts in French and in English (each of 1700 characters maximum), keywords in French and in English, appendices in electronic form (other than pdf) if applicable. Once connected (with the University's email identifiers (indicated on the registration certificate)), the doctoral student follows the instructions, registers his thesis file and downloads at the end of the registration the charter for the electronic deposit and diffusion of theses charte_internet_et_intranet.pdf and the contract for the online publication of a defended thesis, which he signs and hands over to the jury on the day of the defense.

Important: the elements of the deposit can be modified until three weeks before the date of defense.

If the jury requests modifications to the minutes after the defense, the doctor must submit a second copy of the minutes within three months, after having had the modifications approved by the thesis director.

The printing of the manuscript is the responsibility of the laboratory. 

For any question or remark on the electronic deposit: correspondents can be contacted by e-mail: 

For the École Centrale de Marseille, the legal deposit of the thesis is the paper deposit. For more information, the doctoral student must contact the doctoral studies department at 04 91 05 46 20, Mrs. Nathalie Briffa (e-mail :

III - The defense

The defense is public, except in exceptional cases when the subject of the thesis is confidential and the President of the University has granted an exemption.

A defense report is established and countersigned by all the members of the jury. The doctoral degree is awarded by the President of the University on the recommendation of the jury, after the defense of the thesis. The diploma indicates the specialty or discipline, the title of the thesis or the title of the main work, and the names and titles of the jury members. Obtaining the doctor's degree confers the grade of doctor.