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PhD via VAE

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The recognition of prior learning, known as VAE (Validation des Acquis de l'Expérience) in French, offers new opportunities in terms of acknowledging your professional skills in the world of research. Find out more about the different steps for transferring your experience into academic expertise.

The department of continued education in each college is responsible for welcoming candidates and checking their administrative admissibility. Receiving a PhD via VAE requires recognition of the following points:

  • A career path equivalent to a thesis level in higher education: Your professional experience must be equivalent to the research work required for obtaining a thesis in higher education. This equivalence is crucial in guaranteeing the quality and relevance of the VAE.
  • Acquisition of knowledge and skills in compliance with the qualifications framework for PhD degrees: Your experience must demonstrate that you have acquired knowledge and skills in line with the PhD qualifications framework. According to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning in different education and training systems, this means being capable of working at the forefront in a field, mastering advanced skills in research and innovation, demonstrating substantial authority, innovation, autonomy as well as scholarly and professional integrity.
  • The ability to write and present a major scientific research paper: Writing and presenting a major scientific research paper orally are essential skills for earning a PhD via VAE.

These criteria are examined by the University of Bordeaux's colleges, each of which is qualified in its specific field, in particular the College of Law, Political Science, Economics & Management, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Human Sciences, the College of Science & Technology. The VAE for a PhD is a strict process designed to guarantee the quality and value of the degree awarded.

VAE steps

The assessment procedures for administrative admission can be adapted to meet the specific requirements of each doctoral school.

The department of continuing education and the doctoral school with which you are affiliated are available to help you every step of the way. Here is a breakdown of the process:

  1. Administrative admissibility: The doctoral school issues an opinion after examining your pre-application and provides you with the necessary information.
  2. Assessment interview: You will be interviewed by the doctoral school during a VAE Commission, where an opinion will be given on whether you should continue pursuing the VAE process.
  3. Drafting your VAE application: The doctoral school will guide you in drafting your VAE application, while encouraging you to reflect on your advancement in your research career. You will analyse your work, your methods, your scientific findings, and list your scientific publications.
  4. Assessment by reviewers: The doctoral school selects reviewers to assess your application and write a detailed report to the Chair of the selection jury.
  5. Defense before the VAE jury: The doctoral school chooses the members of the jury, which is made up of two members from the university, including the vice-president in charge of research and a graduate of the doctoral school, as well as three outside members, including two researchers or researcher-reviewers with an HDR accreditation and a lecturer-researcher with an HDR accreditation.
  6. Award of the degree: If the jury's opinion is positive, your degree will be awarded. In some cases, it may be validated subject to certain conditions, such as the submission of additional documentation, training in research or drafting a publication.

Colleges: Contacts

  • College of Law, Political Science, Economic Sciences, Management & Demographics

    Department of Continuing Education

    +33 (0)5 56 01 81 47


  • College of Health Sciences

    Department of Continuing Education

    +33 (0)5 57 57 47 76


  • College of Human Sciences

    Department of Continuing Education

    +33 (0)5 57 57 19 23


  • College of Science & Technology

    Department of Continuing Education

    +33 (0)5 40 00 64 52