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Supervising PhD students

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You play a vital role in helping your PhD students succeed. In this section, you will find information and resources that will help you guide and support them throughout their research.

The status of thesis supervisor

All PhD students are placed under the control and academic responsibility of a thesis supervisor who has an accreditation to supervise research (HDR) or an authorisation to supervise a thesis (ADT).
Scientific supervision may be provided jointly by a thesis supervisor and a thesis co-supervisor. Both must have an HDR or ADT.
The status of supervisor without an HDR or ADT is not recognised by the Decree of 25 May 2016, amended by the Decree of 26 August 2022.
If the co-supervisor is from a public industrial and commercial institution with research assignments, a private training or research facility, a private research foundation, a private business or a government department, the number of co-supervisors can be increased to two.
In the case of a cotutelle PhD, the thesis supervisor from the partner institution must have an equivalent status.

The doctoral project: a collective commitment between candidate and supervisor

As a thesis supervisor, you play a pivotal role in the success of the student you are going to supervise. Your involvement begins in the doctoral project's development phase. Whether it was entirely suggested by you or created with your future PhD student, it's your expertise and your knowledge of the resources available that allow you to estimate the technical, material and financial feasibility within the time allotted to the PhD.

A PhD is often seen as the confluence of student, subject and thesis supervisor (and funding). The rights and duties of PhD students and thesis supervisors are clearly defined by regulatory documents. However, each thesis supervisor has their own way of supervising a PhD and each PhD student has their own expectations and motivations.

It is therefore crucial that the ways in which the thesis supervisor and the PhD student operate are compatible in order to ensure the success of the research project. It is essential that the future PhD student and the future thesis supervisor discuss their respective expectations before beginning the thesis (frequency of meetings, professional interactions in France and abroad, the team's life, pace of work, etc).

The rights and duties of PhD students and thesis supervisors are set out in the University of Bordeaux's Doctoral Charter.


Good practices

The Graduate Research School offers a training course for all future supervisors. The course will provide information on good practices and the contacts you need to have at the university to successfully carry out your role.

For more information about the training course