Doctoral studies

The Wallonia-Brussels Federation's research centres, laboratories and Universities have a cutting-edge scientific framework and high-quality infrastructure. These advantages make a major and active contribution to establishing and strengthening international partnerships.

Thanks to this impetus, the universities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation strongly promote joint thesis supervision, enabling doctoral students to conduct research work at a Wallonia-Brussels Federation university and a foreign institution.

A PhD is an internationally recognized degree which opens doors to jobs which require a high level of qualification and to a career in academia.

Preparing a PhD thesis is both a contribution to scientific research and a form of personal development through research.

The 3rd “cycle” is the highest level of university education. It includes:

  • Doctoral training, the completion of which is recognized by the awarding of a research training certificate. This training is undertaken as part of a research team, overseen by a thesis director.
  • Work connected to preparing and defending a thesis, leading to the awarding of a PhD degree.
Before starting the registration process, you must choose a thesis supervisor for the field of research you would like to study. You may define your project with them and discuss its feasibility and any financing. You must also determine a proposal with them as to the membership of the support committee, which will be submitted to the doctoral faculty commission. To find a study supervisor, we recommend you view the university websites, the General doctorate regulations specific to each higher educational establishment and the research directory on the federal scientific policy site.


21 doctoral schools, attached to the Scientific Research Fund (F.R.S.-FNRS), group together thematic, interuniversity, interdisciplinary and international doctoral schools which ensure the structure and supervision of the doctoral training of candidates.
For more than 80 years, the Scientific Research Fund - F.R.S. - FNRS has been contributing to the development of fundamental research in Wallonia-Brussels and has encouraged excellence. The Fund promotes the production and development of knowledge, on the one hand by financing researchers on an individual basis and, on the other hand, by supporting research programs in the university laboratories.

Learning French

In the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the official language is French. However, a large section of the population also speaks very good English.

Ability to speak French is generally not required for a PhD, as the thesis can be written in English. However, every institution is free to set its own admissions criteria. We therefore advise you to contact the admissions service at your chosen higher education institution.

Registration fees

Doctoral registration fees are €835 for the initial registration.
For subsequent years, registration fees are around €50 per year.

Admissions and registration procedures for PhD students who are non-European Union nationals

To know the conditions to fulfill and the formalities of admission and registration, click here.

Funding options

To find out about funding programmes for doctoral studies, click here.