Preparation for the thesis defense is governed by articles 5 to 7 of the ministerial decree of 28 November 1998.
HDR candidates whose application has been accepted by the Research Commission of the Academic Council of the University (see previous tab) may schedule their defense, with the assistance of their HDR supervisor, within the following twelve months.
The procedure is similar to that of a thesis defense. The two main differences are:
- THREE (instead of two) pre-reviewers must authorize the defense: at least two of them must hold an HDR, and two of them must be faculty members of another university than the one where the defense takes place.
- The jury must be composed of at least FIVE members, and at least half of them must be full professors or the equivalent.
- The HDR supervisor must communicate the names of three reviewers who are facutly members of another university and are accredited to supervise research (HDR), to whom the thesis manuscript should be sent. After reading the thesis, and at the latest three weeks before the scheduled defense date, the reviewers send a pre-report indicating whether the thesis has the scientific qualities to meet the discipline's requirements for a defense. The reviewers do not necessarily need to be jury members.
- The defense jury must have at least five and no more than eight members, and at least half of them must be from another university. The jury is chaired by a professor of rank A or of an equivalent rank. At least half of the jury members must be professors or hold equivalent qualification. The other jury members usually hold an HDR. Each jury member must receive a copy of the HDR application sufficiently early to be able to examine it in depth.
- With the approval of the reviewers, the Director of the Doctoral School authorizes the defense by means of a decree signed by the President of the University.
- Defense by videoconference: see document Procedure for defending a thesis or HDR with part of the jury attending by videoconference.
- At the end of the defense, the jury deliberates before awarding the candidate the accreditation to supervise research. This title is awarded without honors. The defense report, which must be signed during the deliberation, is sent to the Doctoral School administration, which issues a provisional certificate of successful completion of the defense. It usually takes one year to issue the diploma.
- The president of the jury prepares the final defense report, and usually sends it within six weeks of the defense to the Doctoral School and to the HDR holder. This report must be sent to the section of the National Council of Universities corresponding to the discipline of the recipient, which grants full professor qualification.