Demonstrating the ability to pay for doctoral study is very often a prerequisite for admission to a doctoral programme. Several financing options are available.

Doctoral contracts
Doctoral contracts are new public mechanisms for financing doctoral education that emphasise professional research experience, an essential part of doctoral education. They have replaced the old systems of research allocations and teaching assistantships. Anyone holding a Master’s degree or equivalent, regardless of age, may apply.

Doctoral contracts are for three years and offer all of the benefits of a formal employment agreement. Contract terms are identical at all French institutions of higher education and research. Each doctoral contract specifies the objective and the duration of the mission of a particular doctoral candidate, as well as the type of activities in which the candidate will be engaged under the contract. Contracted candidates have the right to paid vacation and accumulate seniority, just like other civil servants.

The minimum guaranteed gross compensation ranges from about €1,300 to €1,700. Doctoral departments are responsible for recruiting candidates.

CIFRE: Research training agreements with industry
Conventions Industrielles de Formation par la Recherche (CIFRE) enable young researchers to complete their dissertation while working for a firm. Participants agree on a research and development programme that is pursued in cooperation with a research team based outside the firm. CIFRE-funded candidates must hold a Diplôme d’ingénieur, or an equivalent qualification such as a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree in engineering.

International joint doctoral programmes
Most joint degree programmes are accompanied by dedicated financial aid, the main purpose of which is to defray the candidate’s travel costs.

Governed by an agreement between a French institution of higher education and a partner institution outside France, joint doctoral programmes allow candidates to work on their dissertation in two countries according to defined conditions such as time spent in each country, dissertation defense, financing and so on.

The basic terms of such agreements are as follows:
·    candidates perform their work under the supervision of a dissertation adviser in each of the countries involved
·    candidates divide their time between the participating institutions
·    the language of the dissertation is specified in the agreement
·    the dissertation is defended only once, but successful candidates receive two degrees
·    joint supervision of dissertation research is not, in itself, a mechanism of financial assistance, but it may be (and often is) accompanied by such assistance.

The recent creation of joint doctoral colleges by French and foreign universities has enabled more joint-supervision arrangements to obtain financial support for programmes designed to foster international mobility in science and academia. Students enrolled in a joint-Phd programme with a French university are eligible to specific grants provided by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Contact the French Embassy for more information :

Brain Gain Malaysia Grants
Malaysian researchers can also apply for Brain Gain Malaysia grants, sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), which enable scientists or PhD students to gain research exposure and build networks at the international level.

Selected scientists are granted a scholarship in order to conduct research within a university or a research institute overseas. The programme is divided into two distinct programmes: the International Fellowship programme and the Post-Doctoral programme.

MyPhD Grant
MyPhD is one of the programs under MyBrain15 which aims to achieve the target of 60.000 PhD holders in Malaysia by the year 2023. It provides funding for studies at PhD level. The objective of this program is to increase the number of local professionals and highly skilled knowledge-based innovation and creativity that can generate economic growth and local industry. This program is an incentive from the Malaysian Government to increase knowledge and skills of community members in line with national economic development objectives under the New Economic Model (NEM), which is innovation-driven economy.
More information on applications on MyBrain15

Erasmus Mundus Phd
This program, financed by the European Union, is designed to strengthen European cooperation and international links in higher education by supporting highly qualified European students, while also enabling students from elsewhere in the world to fulfill a portion of their degree requirements by studying in 2 or more European institutions. From 2010, Erasmus Mundus grants are available not only for Master's programs but also for doctoral programs chosen for the Erasmus Mundus program.

Individuals wishing to participate in an Erasmus Mundus program (with or without grant) must apply directly to a specific Erasmus Mundus master's or doctoral consortium. There are no common applications or common deadlines.
More information on the website of the European Commission

Eiffel Doctoral Grants
The program of Eiffel excellence grants, launched in January 1999 by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, is designed to support the international student recruitment efforts of French institutions of higher education. In 2005 the program was expanded to include the Eiffel doctoral program, which provides research support to highly qualified doctoral candidates from outside France.

The objectives of this grant program are to train, in France's postsecondary institutions, future world leaders in three priority areas - science, economics and management, and law and political science, and to encourage applications from students from emerging countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the new member states of the European Union. The new doctoral program also invites applicants from industrialized countries.

All applications must be submitted by French institutions of higher learning and forwarded to EGIDE, the program administrator. Applications are accepted only from French postsecondary institutions. Therefore, French postsecondary institutions preselect from among their best international applicants those whom they wish to propose for Eiffel doctoral grants.

Online applications open in September until January. For intake september 2012, applications' deadline is 6th January 2012. More information on

Nota Bene: If you wish to do a joint PhD or to complete a three year PhD in France, come to the MFUC with a thesis proposal. We will be able to help you find a suitable research department in a suitable university according to your research project.