Research

Doctoral College Regulations

Introduction
The purpose of these regulations is to define the structure, the conditions pertaining to the organization, the access and the development of studies required for the preparation of a thesis in order to obtain the degree of Doctor in USEK.
Doctoral College
  • A Doctoral College has been established within USEK, responsible for the coordination between Doctoral Schools and the follow up of doctoral students, preparing them for professional and academic integration. The Doctoral College contributes to the coordination and the coherence of doctoral studies within the different Faculties and Institutes of related disciplines, representing a Doctoral School for Sciences and Technology and another for Human and Social Sciences.
  • The President of the Doctoral College is appointed by the President from among the tenured faculty members holding the academic rank of Professor. He is assisted by two coordinators of the Doctoral Schools (a specialist in Human and Social Sciences and another in Sciences and Technology), both shall hold the academic rank of Professor, and by an administrative unit called “Secretariat of the Doctoral College” (1).
  • The Doctoral College consists of a Council composed of the President of the Doctoral College, Coordinators of the Doctoral Schools and Heads of the Doctoral Commissions in the different faculties. This Council shall meet twice a year at least upon the convocation of the President of the Doctoral College. A quorum of 2/3 of the members is required to hold the Council’s meeting.
  • The Doctoral College Council is responsible for:
    • defining the general applicant selection criteria;
    • deliberating over the admission of applicants;
    • organizing and promoting doctoral studies as well as ensuring their quality;
    • promoting university partnerships;
    • ensuring the supervision quality of doctoral students by units and research groups;
    • working with research centers to initiate research teams;
    • encouraging scientific contacts and exchanges among doctoral students;
    • ensuring the respect and implementation of the doctoral studies regulations as well as the Thesis Charter, and propose amendments, if necessary;
    • organizing the doctorials, for the presentation of the doctoral students’ papers which will be published in the Proceedings of the Doctorials.
  • 5. The decisions of the Doctoral College are taken by the absolute majority of the legal members. In case of parity, the President has the casting vote.


(1)Cf. Meeting of the USEK Council – MOM no. CU 1711/2010.3
Doctoral Schools
  • Two Doctoral Schools are established in USEK. They include the different Doctoral Commissions of related disciplines and are divided into Sciences and Technologies, and Human and Social Sciences.
  • The University President appoints the Coordinators of the Doctoral Schools from among the tenured faculty members who hold the rank of Professor, for one renewable year.
  • Coordinators of the Doctoral Schools are responsible for:
    • the implementation and follow-up of the Doctoral College policy in the concerned disciplines;
    • the promotion of coordination of teaching and activities among the different Doctoral Commissions of related disciplines.
Doctoral Commissions
  • A Doctoral Commission is established in each faculty with doctoral program. The doctoral program within institutes is attached to the concerned faculty. In this case, a faculty member from the institute is automatically a member of the Doctoral Commission.
  • Each Doctoral Commission is managed by a Head appointed by the President, on the proposal of the Dean, from among the tenured faculty members of the concerned faculty having at least the academic rank of Associate Professor.
  • The Doctoral Commission is composed of two members at least of the tenured faculty members having at least the academic rank of Associate Professor. These members are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Dean.
  • The Director of an institute attached to a faculty proposes to the President the name of the Doctoral Commission member having at least the academic rank of Associate Professor.
  • This Commission shall:
    • prepare, in accordance with the admission requirements stipulated in article 5, a written test (and oral, depending on some specializations), to evaluate the ability of the applicant to pursue doctoral studies. This test covers the following fields:
      • language skills;
      • general knowledge;
      • familiarity with the relevant literature;
      • methodological skills.
    • examine the applicants’ files and give an opinion as to their admission;
    • plan seminars; this planning should be approved by the Dean;
    • ensure the scientific follow-up of doctoral students and check their regular attendance during the whole period of their doctoral program;
    • evaluate regularly the quality of the doctoral student’s scientific work and the progress of his research;
    • inform the Doctoral College annually about the progress of work undertaken by doctoral students;
    • propose the members of the thesis jury to the Dean of the faculty;
    • provide the acquisitions of the Main Library in the disciplines related to research;
    • take part in determining the research axes and in organizing conferences involving doctoral students.
  • Decisions of the Doctoral Commission are taken at the absolute majority of its legal members. In case of parity, the Head has the casting vote.
Admission

1. Only those who hold a Research Masters’ degree or an equivalent diploma, and who show an appreciable academic level(2) may apply for admission and register for the admission test, whose date is fixed by the University’s academic calendar. Any applicant whose GPA in the Masters’ degree is equal to or greater than 85/100, according to the American grading system (equal to or greater than 15/20 according to the French grading system), may also apply for admission.

2. The applicant shall also:

  • show proof of all the academic years previously completed;
  • submit two recommendation letters issued by teacher-researchers;
  • submit a duly completed application enclosing all the required supporting documents;
  • submit a brief proposal of the expected research areas and the prospective topic;
  • have at least a GPA of 85/100 in the Masters’ program;
  • pass the admission exam. The USEK graduates should also pass this test. Only applicants who are authors of two articles published in an indexed journal with a signature ranking of the said articles among the three top positions, are exempted of this test.

3. Applicants to doctoral studies may not apply for admission on the basis of a transfer file.

(2)The equivalent degree shall be obtained from the Commission of Equivalences in the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Registration and Re-registration
  • Each applicant, accepted in the doctoral studies program, shall register in the same semester following his admission, or in the following one, since admission remains valid for two consecutive semesters. If the applicant does not register within the established deadlines, he shall reapply for admission and re-pass the relevant test, without having to open a new file.
  • As soon as admission is validated, all doctoral students should register their doctoral thesis, every semester, according to the relevant acronym and code.
  • Following initial registration, each applicant shall re‐register his thesis at the beginning of each semester, to be maintained in his studies, even if, during a certain semester, he is not attending any course or seminar. In addition to the registration fees and the course credits, the student shall install each semester tuition fees corresponding to 7.5 credits, assigned to the thesis.
  • A doctoral student has the right to interrupt his/her studies once, and only for one semester; interruption must be approved by the Thesis Director and Head of the academic unit concerned. As soon as he/she returns, he/she shall fill in a readmission form (Rf. Interruption of Doctoral Studies Request Form; Readmission to Doctoral Studies Request Form). If he/she is absent for more than one semester, he/she will be excluded from the program. In order to return, the Ph.D. student will require an admission procedure (not a readmission procedure).
  • Following the opinion of the Thesis Director and the Head of the Doctoral Commission, the Doctoral College may exclude from the program a doctoral student whose progress in the work is deemed unsatisfactory, or has exceeded, without prior approval, the number of years assigned to doctoral studies. (Rf. Notification of Expulsion from Doctoral Studies Form)
Thesis Director
  • Starting the initial registration of the applicant, the Head of the Doctoral Commission, following the approval of the Dean, appoints a Thesis Director, responsible for the scientific follow-up of the student’s work. This director, generally proposed by the applicant, is chosen from among the tenured faculty members, unless otherwise specified by the President, and shall hold, at least, the academic rank of Associate Professor. He supervises the research conducted by the doctoral student and his thesis. The prior approval of the President of the Doctoral College is required for the co‐direction of the thesis if the nature of the work necessitates so. The co-director may be selected, if possible, from among the tenured faculty members or may be a teacher-researcher from outside USEK. He should hold, at least, the academic rank of Associate Professor.
  • The Thesis Director shall hold at least two meetings every semester with the doctoral student. At the end of each semester, the Thesis Director is required to present to the Head of the Doctoral Commission an evaluation report of the research conducted by the doctoral student under his supervision. The progress report prepared by the student himself/herself is attached to the evaluation report of his/her supervisor.
  • A faculty cannot supervise more than four theses at the same time, unless otherwise previously stated by the President.
  • Any plan to change the Thesis Director shall be justified and communicated by the Head of the Doctoral Commission to both the Dean and the President of the Doctoral College for approval. (Rf. Change of Thesis Director Request Form in Doctoral Studies)
Thesis Charter
The respective obligations of the Thesis Director and the doctoral student are explained in detail in a thesis charter outlined by the Doctoral College in accordance with the principles exposed set out in these regulations.
Submission of a Thesis Proposal
  • At the end of the first semester of registration, or the latest during the following semester after the initial registration, and unless otherwise allowed by the Head of the Doctoral Commission for a third eventual semester, the doctoral student shall write a thesis proposal of at least 20 pages to be submitted to his Thesis Director. It includes:
    • definition of the research area;
    • detailed problem statement;
    • rationale;
    • literature review;
    • description of the adopted methodology;
    • preliminary plan;
    • selected and commented bibliography.

    The final topic should be sent to the secretariat of the Doctoral College.
  • Following the approval of the Thesis Director, the Head of the Doctoral Commission calls the doctoral student for an oral interview related to his thesis proposal. The Head of the Doctoral Commission may be assisted by an assessor, selected from among the tenured faculty members, if the nature of the subject necessitates so.
  • Following the approval of the Thesis Director and the Head of the Doctoral Commission, the doctoral student shall, during the semester following his initial registration, submit his subject and the thesis proposal to the secretariat of the Doctoral College in accordance with the submission procedure required by the Doctoral College. (Rf. Thesis Proposal Submission Request Form)
  • The secretariat of the Doctoral College registers the topics in a special record and publishes on the University website the list of doctoral students and the chosen topics.
Structure of the Doctoral Program
  • The doctoral studies curriculum is composed of 60 credits divided as follows:
    • Doctoral Program
    • Thematic program, of two seminars at least, proposed by the Doctoral Commission (organized according to the academic profile of the doctoral students)
    • Methodological program of a seminar
    • Number of credits: 9 credits
    • Grading: P(4) /R (Pass, Repeat)

    • Doctoral Program
    • Common program proposed by the Doctoral College dealing in general with multidisciplinary themes (one and/or two seminars)
    • Number of credits: 3 or 6 credits
    • Grading: P/R

    • Doctoral Program
    • Doctorials and publication of the relevant Proceedings
    • Number of credits: 3 credits
    • Grading: P

    • Doctoral Program
    • Thesis and academic defense
    • Number of credits: 45 credits
    • Grading: /100

    TOTAL 60 credits

  • The minimum duration to achieve the doctoral studies is six semesters, as from initial registration. A semestrial extension, of maximum four consecutive semesters, even if the student changes his research topic (Rf. Change of Doctoral Thesis Topic Request Form), may be granted by the President of the Doctoral College, following a report and a justified opinion from the Thesis Director and the Head of the Doctoral Commission. Following this deadline, the topic is deemed cancelled and the doctoral student is excluded from the program. (Rf. Registration Extension Request in Doctoral Studies Request Form)

(4)The grade P (Pass) is ≥ to 85/100 according to the American grading system (15/20 according to the French grading system).
Nomination and Composition of the Thesis Jury
  • Following the approval of the Thesis Director, the Head of the Doctoral Commission proposes two rapporteurs to the Dean. The approval of both the President of the Doctoral College and the President is required for this nomination. One of the rapporteurs at least is chosen from the faculty members from a university other than USEK. The two rapporteurs automatically become members of the jury and shall deliver their report within a deadline of 30 working days.
  • The jury, proposed to the Dean by the Head of the Doctoral Commission, is composed of a minimum of five members; two of them should not be from USEK. Out of the five members, who constitute the Jury, at least four of them should hold the academic rank of Associate Professor. The President of the Jury, who can at the same time be the thesis director, must hold the title of Professor.
  • Prior to communicating the thesis to the rapporteurs, the jury shall be approved by both the President of the Doctoral College and the University President. (Rf. Thesis Jury Composition Request Form)
Thesis Submission
  • The doctoral student is not allowed to submit his/her thesis before completing and validating all his/her credits of doctoral training, and not before publishing two scientific articles in indexed journals as the main author, or presenting two scientific papers within the framework of one or two international and specialized seminars.
  • The approval of the Thesis Director as well as the written opinions of both rapporteurs, are communicated by the Head of the Doctoral Commission to the President of the Doctoral College, along with the Thesis Submission / Defense Form, duly completed. The President of the Doctoral College validates then the thesis submission. (Rf. Thesis Submission / Defense Form)
  • The doctoral student shall submit 8 copies of his thesis at the secretariat of the concerned academic unit, as well as a digital copy at the secretariat of the Doctoral College, in accordance with the procedure of submission required by the Doctoral College.
  • A certificate of thesis submission is delivered to the doctoral student by the secretariat of the Doctoral College.
Thesis Defense
  • The doctoral student is informed in writing by the secretariat of the Doctoral College of the date of his thesis defense.
  • The thesis defense shall take place two months at least after submitting the thesis to the secretariat of the Doctoral College.
  • The thesis defense is public, unless otherwise exceptionally stated by the President.
  • An announcement for the thesis defense is issued by the secretariat of the Doctoral College and posted in the different academic units, ten days at least prior to the date of the defense.
  • The thesis defense, as well as the deliberation, cannot take place unless all the jury members are present. The deliberation is held behind closed doors.
  • Following the deliberation, the jury members shall fill and sign the record of thesis defense. The President of the jury writes the minutes of the thesis defense co-signed by all the jury members who attended the defense. A duplicate of these minutes is attached to the diploma. The minutes shall indicate the grade obtained by the student, as well as the distinction in accordance with the following scale:
    • Grade: 85 / Distinction: Honorable (or “cum laude”)
    • Grade: 90 / Distinction: Highly honorable (or “magna cum laude”)
    • Grade: 95 / Distinction: Highly honorable with praise (or "summa cum laude")
    • Grade: 100 / Distinction: Highly honorable with praise and recommendation for publication

For the distinctions “Highly honorable with praise” or “Highly honorable with praise and recommendation for publication”, the unanimity of the jury members is required.
Appeal
Until the nomination of the jury, the doctoral student can submit to the Doctoral Commission any disagreement he may have with his Thesis Director. The Doctoral Commission will listen to each of the litigant parties. Its decisions can therefore lead to an appeal to the Doctoral College at USEK.
Plagiarism
Plagiarism refers to the insertion, in an academic and scientific work, of textual extracts, iconographic documents, ideas or analyses, of other authors, by representing them as one’s own original work, either by appropriation of the said texts, documents or ideas of others, or by omission of the correct reference of others’ texts, documents or ideas and their sources.

Plagiarism represents a serious misconduct of an ethical nature. USEK, believing in the transmission of knowledge as primarily related to ethics, autonomy, interdisciplinarity and transparency, considers plagiarism as a violation of the academic and scientific work integrity in universities. It is therefore subject to punishment, in this case to student expulsion, annulment of the Bachelor, Master or Ph.D. degree, and even criminal prosecution, if applicable.

USEK reserves the right to review every research work (reports, projects, dissertations, theses), by submitting them to a plagiarism detection software and/or to any other appropriate means(5).

It is understood that when a doctoral student is caught in the act of plagiarism after reviewing his work, and that his thesis is deleted, it is no longer possible for him to submit a new application for admission to doctoral studies at USEK(6).

(5)Cf. Meeting of the USEK Council on 8/2/2012
(6)Cf. Meeting of the USEK Council on 5/12/2012

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