The Doctorate: Training through Research
The Doctorate is…
…the highest university diploma in the European system, known in France as the “LMD” system.
…training and education through research and signifies that students have acquired specific skills related to strategic and innovative research fields.
…opens doors to management positions, public and private-sector research jobs, teaching, and other possibilities involving innovation and development.
Training through Research
Both secondary and university education have similar goals of transmitting knowledge, methods to activate and combine this knowledge, and know-how. Recently, there has been more emphasis put on creating knowledge, or research, through different methods like personal projects.
Research professions require people who are trained to conduct research. Other professions which deal with R&D, innovation, and business development strategies require knowledge of how research works in order to better evaluate current knowledge, possible future developments, and be able to reflect upon the uncertainties which inevitably come with research.
The best way to acquire this ability is through hands-on experience, by working with the best knowledge-creating labs. Each doctoral student spends most of his/her time working with others in the lab, becoming more and more independent, and is guided by an established, certified researcher (HDR).
Theoretical teaching and professional training are but a small part of the program.
At the end of the PhD, the student has become an independent researcher. The program has developed: familiarity with the evolution of knowledge, the habit of posing questions and seeking innovative solutions to problems, solid organizational skills and knowledge of how to collect information, and autonomy. This training corresponds to many of the skills which employers seek for management positions.
This personal, 3-year investment does not, however, yield much of an advantage for starting salaries (+5% to 10%). It does open doors to specific careers like public and private-sector research and university teaching positions (1/3 of students), as well as other jobs requiring autonomy and professional responsibility.