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Research at AMU

Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) is an outward-looking intense research university with a strong tradition of welcoming international students and researchers.
Every year, AMU welcomes young and senior researchers who come to study for their PhD, do a research residency to pursue their work or access documentary resources, or give university teaching.

AMU is structured around 111 research units (or laboratories), 77% of which are co-led by major research bodies (CNRS, Inserm, IRD, CEA, etc.), and boasts remarkable scientific potential in fundamental and applied research, which is both interdisciplinary and organised around five major disciplines:

  • Arts, Languages, Literature and Humanities
  • Law and Political Science
  • Health
  • Economics and Management
  • Sciences and Technologies
  • Enrolling in a PhD at Aix-Marseille Université

    The 1st step to do a PhD is to obtain approval from a thesis director with HDR accreditation (“habilitation à diriger des recherches”) and to be hosted within a research unit or team. The thesis director will supervise your thesis work and guide you throughout your PhD studies (between 3 and 5 years).

    Before contacting a thesis director, you should first identify one of the 12 Doctoral Schools and the research unit linked to your field. Then, view the list of accredited research lecturers and researchers in your chosen research unit.

    Please, note! To enrol in a PhD, you must have a national Master’s degree or another degree at Master level.

    You will obtain a PhD, which is the highest-level degree awarded at university. The thesis refers to the document you will have to write and present to a jury to obtain your PhD.

    A minimum level in French may be required to enrol in a thesis in Literature, Humanities or Social Sciences. For Hard Sciences or Biology, there is generally no requirement to speak French. In this case, your thesis may be written and defended solely in English, and the thesis summary may be translated into French.

    The required level of French and thesis language depend on the selection criteria for each Doctoral School.

    To find out more about how to enrol, please view the section “enrolling in a PhD” by the AMU Doctoral Training Department (DFD).

    There are many ways to do a PhD at AMU

    • Standard PhD with enrolment and viva exclusively at AMU under the supervision of one of the institution’s thesis directors. You will be issued with the AMU PhD degree.
    • Joint PhD between AMU and another university in France or abroad. This means that you will have 2 thesis directors who work together to monitor your research. Enrolment and viva are only possible in your main thesis director’s institution, which means that your degree will be issued by this university.

      Find out more on the website of the AMU Doctoral Training Department (DFD).

    • International co-tutelle PhD where you prepare your thesis under the joint direction of two thesis directors, one from AMU and another from an institution abroad. You will enrol in both institutions each year but fees are only paid to one of the two universities depending on the co-tutelle agreement. You will receive two degrees, one from each institution.

      Find out more on the website of the Doctoral School (ED) at AMU with which you will be affiliated.

    • Industrial PhD or “CIFRE programme” where you can do your PhD in industry, linked to a public university on the basis of a jointly-defined research project. In this case, you will have two supervisors: a thesis director from AMU and a scientific supervisor in industry. You will receive an employment contract from the company and the degree will be issued by AMU.

      Find out more on the ANRT website and the website of the Doctoral School at AMU with which you will be affiliated.

    Doctoral funding

    • PhD contract

    The PhD contract is the main form of potential funding for PhD students. It is open to all PhD students enrolled in their first year without any condition of age or nationality. The PhD contract is a temporary employment contract (CDD), generally lasting three years. It provides the same social guarantees as any legal employment contract.

    The allocation of PhD contracts and selection criteria depend on each Doctoral School.

    • The CIFRE programme provides a permanent employment contract (CDI), or a temporary employment contract (CDD) with a company, with a minimum gross annual salary of €23,484 (€1,957 per month).

    Find out more on the ANRT website.

    • European funding through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions    
    1. The joint European Doctorate is open to all international students and provides funding for the three (3)-year PhD programme. It is completed in three (3) European institutions in three (3) different countries.
    2. The European Industrial Doctorate brings together two (2) partners, with one university and one company. The PhD student must prepare their thesis at the university, with joint supervision from both partners. They spend 50% of their time with the private partner (company, small business, non-profit, foundation, museum, etc.), and are employed by one of the partners, and potentially seconded.

    Find out more at the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions website.

  • Doing a lab research residency without taking a PhD at Aix-Marseille Université

    The 1st step is to identify a research lecturer or researcher to host you in their research laboratory or team and supervise your research during your residency at AMU.

    We recommend supporting your application with as much information about your project as possible. In particular, please include a detailed presentation of your research project (thesis topic, scientific issue, etc.), the purpose and duration of your residency at AMU, a CV mentioning your degrees and career experience, any funding (grant) that you have obtained.

    The laboratory will then work with you to establish a work plan and will support access to equipment, facilities and other authorised laboratory resources.


    PLEASE NOTE! If you have not enrolled in a PhD programme or signed a PhD contract at AMU, your stay will need to be governed by a research residency agreement (Convention d'accueil en laboratoire). You will also need to show a professional and civil liability insurance certificate to access the laboratory.

    Your host laboratory at AMU will support you in these procedures.

Useful links

A research residency at Aix-Marseille Université is possible either at the invitation of a research lecturer or researcher who is a member of one of the AMU research bodies, or by directly responding to a job offer or call for applications.

The university also occasionally welcomes researchers on a grant from other institutions or bodies who intend to pursue a research project and/or take part in the activities of one of the university’s research laboratories [1].  In this case, you will need to identify a research lecturer or researcher to host you in their research laboratory or team.

[1] Websites for research units (or laboratories

Come as a “Guest Researcher or Professor”

Every year, Aix-Marseille Université issues a call for applications for “Guest Professors”, which is open to research lecturers and researchers from universities abroad, whether or not they are partner institutions. They generally stay for 1 month.

Your application must be presented by a research lecturer or researcher at Aix-Marseille Université, who will be your “colleague of reference”.

Residency programmes at IMéRA

IMéRA is the university’s Institute for Advanced Study, which promotes interdisciplinarity by hosting research and artistic residencies, selected on the basis of an assessment procedure that meets international standards.

The residencies (3-to-12 months) are organised around thematic programmes and chairs in four main fields: Art, Science and Society; Mediterranean, Crossing Paths - Explorations of Interdisciplinarity; and Global Phenomena and Regulation. They are open to researchers from all disciplines who are already employed in an institution abroad.
Find out more on the IMéRA website.

A*Midex Chair Programme

The university’s A*Midex Foundation has launched a Chairs of Excellence programme with the aim of recruiting exceptional internationally-recognised lecturers, research lecturers and researchers for large projects that contribute to the strategy of the Aix-Marseille site.

Your application must be presented by a research lecturer at Aix-Marseille Université.
Find out more on the Foundation's website.

Useful links

Post-doc residency offers or calls for applications are regularly published on the websites of the university’s various research bodies:

  • The websites of research units (or laboratories), most of which are co-led by major research bodies (CNRS, Inserm, IRD, CEA, Inrae, etc.) linked to the major disciplines - Sciences, Arts, Languages, Literature and Humanities; Law and Political Science; Health; Economics and Management.
  • The websites of University Institutes which bring together all or some of the activities of the various research units around an interdisciplinary theme.
  • The websites of Convergences Institutes:
  • The websites of University Research Schools (Graduate Schools):
  • AMU also regularly publishes offers on scientific job platforms:

Other websites :