Even if you have the student status, the PhD is above all a professional experience. In France, it is a 3 year contract (up to 5 years abroad) for which you will be paid 1758€ (gross salary) each month minimum. This salary may be higher depending on your type of PhD funding and if you exercise a complementary activity in parallel (teaching, business consultancy, and so on).
During your PhD, you will work in a research laboratory under the supervision of a PhD supervisor who will guide you in the realisation of your PhD dissertation. Moreover, in order to write your PhD thesis, you will need to follow a complementary training provided by the doctoral school:
- Project Management
- Bibliographic research
- Development of experimental protocols
- Synthesis experience, characterization and so on
- Result analysis
- Writing scientific documents (thesis report, scientific articles, …)
- Work presentations (dissertation defense, seminar, congress, …)
Doing a PhD is very demanding mentally and physically. It requires a very strong implication, a motivation and a rock solid moral (failure’s rate is quite high). But it is the price to pay to have a high-level training. These years will allow you to be an expert in your field and gain significant experience in project management.
Moreover, the PhD is quite recognized abroad if you wish to work in the chemistry field. Unfortunately, it is less the case in France even if things are changing. However, having a PhD may be necessary to access certain positions in academic research but also in R&D in some big companies. Plus, these years will allow you to build an important professionnal network that will be precious in the future.
There are not really good or bad PhD subjects. Above all, it has to match with you. The process of talking about it with master supervisors and teachers is therefore really crucial. Moreover, it is important to do some research on laboratories or industries that could interest you. So do not hesitate to contact PhD students or postdoctoral researchers of the concerned team to find out if you will like this place.
Several elements must be taken into account in order to choose to apply for a PhD subject:
Of course, it must interest you and allow you to be trained for your future professional project. Do not hesitate to talk with competent people to be well advised in your choice.
The type of funding will first impact the salary but also the PhD location. There are several financing depending on where you will realize your PhD (academic laboratory, enterprises, several laboratories in France, in foreign country, and so on).
3. Welcoming structure
You have to ask yourself the good questions about the place where you will realize your PhD. Does the laboratory or the company have a certain reputation in the field, are necessaries equipments available ?
4. The PhD supervisor
Choosing your PhD supervisor is very important because he/she will follow and guide your work throughout the process. Knowing his/her reputation in the field is quite important as well as his/her availability or even his/her personality.
Some subjects do not allow to publish scientific articles, nor to present its work in conference, but “only” patents; which is not a problem if you want to continue in the industry, but will be one if you wish to pursue in the academic field.
6. Quality of life
Doing your PhD in a comfortable environment is always more benefic for your work. This is a point you should not forget.
Today, there are a lot of PhD and funding offers. A strong motivation and a solid studies record will offer you a wider choice for the PhD subjects and the associated funding.
You can find PhD offers on different websites :
Here are the main fundings after the T2MC master:
- Doctoral contract (selection on competitive exam or master rank)
- CIFRE in enterprise (selection based on interview and academic level)
- On projects obtained by the laboratory (ANR, Europe, region, …) with selection on interview
- ICE, special device of the BFC region which allows to have business management courses in parallel (selection on interview then defense of the project in front of a regional jury)
- CEA (internal process of the CEA)
- Cancer league (selection on files)
In the chemistry field, it is an obligation to have funding to realize your PhD. The research for funding must begin at the start of the first year to contact laboratories (even in M1 for some laboratories abroad). Competitive exams and interviews usually take place between May and July for starting the PhD in October or November.