Before the thesis

You want to do a PhD but have a lot of questions? We try to answer a few below:

Acceptance, admission and registration
Doctoral student, dual status
Doctorate, research training
Guide for doctoral students
Internationalize your doctorate
Doctoral partnership guide

Acceptance, admission and registration

To have access to your doctorate, two administrative formalities must be fulfilled:

-   Acceptance - With the agreement of the future thesis supervisor, contact the President or Secretary of the Doctoral College that corresponds to his/her field of research, to obtain authorization to register for the doctoral studies.

-   Registration - With the letter of acceptance from the Doctoral College, go to the registration desk, request registration for the doctorate AND for the doctoral training (only one tuition fee for both, with reduction for staff members).



If you received your 2nd cycle diploma at a foreign university (outside Belgium), an admission procedure may have to be initiated BEFORE these two formalities.



Doctoral student, dual status

At ULiège, doctoral students carry out their research under a dual status: that of student AND member of staff. As such, they receive an identifier "s" (i.e. student) and "u" (i.e. university), as soon as their registration is validated.

As a student, the doctoral student therefore depends on the Education and Student Administration (AEE) and also on the Human Resources Administration (ARH) as an employee - and/or its funding body if this is external to ULiège.


In accordance with the European Charter for Researchers, which considers the doctorate as research training through research and the doctoral student as a professional researcher at the start of their career, all doctoral students are researchers. As such, ULiège doctoral students report to the Research and Development Administration (ARD). 


Doctorate, research training

The doctorate itself is associated with a doctoral training (FODOC) of 60 ECTS minimum (90 max) that all doctoral students must validate. The follow-up of this training can be spread over the entire duration of the doctorate. Its content is determined by each College but is generally divided into three main parts:

-   Thematic training: seminars, study days, doctoral student days, organized by the interuniversity thematic doctoral schools of the FNRS (EDT) which cover several research areas identified by doctoral schools (ED followed by a number corresponding to the field of research). See the FNRS website: > Funding researchers > Doctoral schools, conferences, publications;

-    Scientific production: participating in conferences or writing articles are valued;

-   Transversal training: ULiège offers a large number of transversal training courses (communication, teamwork, management of the doctoral project, preparing for post-thesis, etc.) which may be suitable for all doctoral students regardless of their field of research. See the transversal training agenda here.


The activities carried out within the framework of doctoral training must be encoded regularly in the doctoral management tool to allow the Doctoral College to validate them and make it possible, at the end of the doctorate, to generate an attached doctoral training certificate. to the diploma. See the MyULiège Student portal (identifier "s")> Courses> My doctorate.


Guide for doctoral students

To discover the doctorate in 10 questions, click here . The ARD has put together a wonderful little illustrated guide for you to help you get involved (or not) on the path to research.

For more information on research at ULiège, also consult “Doing a doctorate” in the “Research and Innovation” tab of the ULiège website.


Internationalize my doctorate

To combine a mobility program with a ULiège/host university co-diploma, opt for the joint guardianship. All the info here.


Fund your doctorate
There are many possibilities to fund your doctorate (see this document).

Here is a small non-exhaustive overview:

  1. Assistant : The doctoral student divides his/her time between their thesis and teaching activities (practical work, administrative tasks). The duration of the doctorate is 6 years in this case.
  2. Fixed subject thesis with call for applications : The promoter has already obtained funding for a specific subject and is making an international call for applications. The best candidate is selected and must own the subject.
  3. Doctoral scholarship : The promoter and the future doctoral student discuss together to establish the subject of the thesis. They decide to apply for a scholarship call. The most frequent doctoral scholarships are awarded either by the university or by the FNRS (National Scientific Research Fund in Belgium: You may have an Aspirant FNRS, FRIA, FRESH grant or another FNRS grant. In this case, your doctorate lasts 4 years and a maximum of 4 hours (FRIA or FRESH) or 8 hours (Aspirant) per week (annual average) may be required of you in administration tasks or in didactic supervision activities.

Here you will find a tool to help you find funding.


Author: Virgine Christophe, project manager at ARD
Thanks to Sarah Robinet, NRS candidate in the Faculty of Science for her contribution to the funding section.

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