International Doctoral Program, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France

Publish Date: Oct 27, 2015

Deadline: Oct 20, 2015

International Doctoral Program, Pasteur Institute, Paris

The Pasteur - Paris University International Doctoral Program (PPU) program accepts students holding, at the date they start the program, a master degree or the equivalent in science, medicine and related fields from a university outside of France. The application call opens in September for the class beginning in October of the following year.


There are 3 steps in the selection process.

1. Mutual pairing of candidates with research projects/advisors/laboratories. Research projects of laboratories interested in recruiting a student are posted on this website in early September – see Current Call. Students interested in one or more research projects contact directly the thesis advisor of the project(s), sending a CV and a motivation letter. The thesis advisors evaluate the applications they receive, requesting more information as desired, and choose one applicant to propose to the program. Students chosen by host laboratories complete a detailed application form in collaboration with their host laboratories. The applications are submitted to the program by the advisors before a deadline that is usually in the second half of November.

2. The applications are evaluated by the PPU Admissions Committee in December, with advice from external experts around the world. The candidates with the strongest applications are selected for an interview.  

3. These candidates are interviewed by the Admissions Committee and other scientists during a four-day visit to the campus of the Institut Pasteur in February. Final results are communicated shortly thereafter.

Exact dates and deadlines for each step are clearly indicated in Current Call.


Diploma: Students must hold a master degree or an equivalent university degree in science, medicine or related fields delivered by a university located outside of France, by the time that they begin the program. In France, a master degree corresponds to five years of academic education; students holding a B.A. or a B.S. acquired after four years of academic education may be considered if they have additional laboratory experience with a written final report or a publication. Students who already have begun doctoral training elsewhere are not eligible (except for highly unusual, justified circumstances). Students with a master's degree obtained in France are not eligible, due to our agreements with the doctoral schools of the Paris Universities.

Language: The program is run in English and therefore fluency in English is required (TOEFL or other language proficiency scores may be indicated when submitting your application). No knowledge of French is necessary.

Age: The PPU doctoral program does not have an age restriction, but most accepted candidates are 24-26 years old and start their Ph.D. within a year of finishing their M.S., a few within 3 years.

External funding: Candidates with external funding are eligible to enter the PPU program if the funding constitutes employment or if the funds can be allocated to the Institut Pasteur to pay the candidate’s salary. Such candidates must go through the same application procedure and be selected by the committee.

Mobility : Students who have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the 1st day of recruitment by The PPU Program (1st day of employment) are not eligible. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. These rules are in compliance with the mobility rules of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the H2020 program.


To present a candidate to the PPU program, thesis advisors must hold an HDR (Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches) diploma. The host laboratory must be located at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. The research team must be affiliated with a doctoral school of the University Paris-Descartes, the University Pierre et Marie Curie or the University Paris Diderot. Laboratories affiliated to doctoral schools of other universities cannot present candidates, yet.

If there are multiple scientists holding an HDR in a host laboratory, each one can propose a project and submit an application with a prospective Ph.D. candidate. There is no longer a limit of one PPU student per laboratory.


Candidates choose and are chosen by a host laboratory. The first step to enter the PPU program is to choose and be chosen by a host laboratory. A list of host laboratories and the research projects they propose is posted in the Current Call section of this website in early September. Students interested in one or more research projects must contact the thesis advisor of the project(s), sending a CV and a letter of motivation. Advisors may request additional information, including reference letters, as they think best, and may interview some candidates by Skype. Each advisor must choose just one candidate for his/her project to present to the Admissions Committee.

Candidates are advised to contact potential host laboratories as early as possible in order to allow sufficient time for communication between the candidate and the laboratory. Since each advisor must choose only one candidate, candidates may apply to more than one laboratory. Advisors are asked to notify candidates who will not be selected as soon as possible.

The candidate selected for a project then downloads the application form from this website and fills it out in consultation with the host laboratory. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are welcome but not required. The completed application form must be submitted by the host laboratory; do not send the application yourself. Please note that recommendation letters will be requested and must be sent by the authors to the PPU office (

Evaluation of written applications by the Admissions Committee. The written applications are evaluated in December on the basis of the academic qualifications, previous research experience and scientific potential of the candidates. In general, applicants are expected to be among the top of those qualified to enter a Ph.D. program in their home country.

The Admissions Committee is composed of Institut Pasteur scientists, representatives of the Doctoral Schools (who verify that the applicant is eligible to register for a Ph.D. at a Parisian University) and members of the PPU Program Office (who are themselves also Institut Pasteur scientists). The Admissions Committee solicits written evaluations of the applications from external senior scientists who are familiar with the applicant’s national education systems. The most promising candidates are selected for an interview.

Interview week. Selected candidates are invited for a four-day visit to the Institut Pasteur during February. Travel expenses (economy fare) and housing during the interview week are paid by the PPU program. During the visit, candidates:

Visit the host laboratory and meet its members;

Visit the Institut Pasteur (technical core facilities, museum, scientific library, …);

Meet the Dean of the PPU program, the Teaching director of the Institut Pasteur, members of the PPU Program Office, current students and other scientists working at the Institut Pasteur;

Are interviewed by Institut Pasteur scientists who are experts in the candidate’s past and future research projects and by a member of the Admissions Committee.

Present their Master’s degree research (results or in progress) and their Ph.D. project to the Admissions Committee which then asks questions;

Meet all together at luncheons and dinners with students and scientists.  

The Admissions Committee examines the intellectual capacity, the general scientific knowledge, the past research accomplishments, the understanding of the proposed Ph.D. project and the motivation of the student, and considers the comments and advice of other interviewers. It then chooses the students to be offered admission and those to be put on a waiting list. The number of candidates who can be admitted depends upon the financial resources available; at least 10 places are usually available each year. Candidates are informed of the decisions shortly after the Interview week; successful candidates are generally given 2 weeks to tell us whether they accept admission.  Admission is highly competitive; each year many more qualified candidates apply than can be accepted.

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