Application information

The PPU program is aimed at students holding, at the date of their enrolment in the program, a master degree or the equivalent in science, medicine and related fields from an university outside from France. The application call opens in October for an enrolment in the following October.


Overview of the selection process

The call for applications opens September 1 by the presentation of the research projects of laboratories willing to recruit a student.


Students interested in a research project contact directly the thesis advisor of this project by sending a CV and a motivation letter. Each laboratory can present only one candidate to the selection committee and, therefore, must choose one candidate among the numerous applications they receive. Students chosen by host laboratories fulfill the application form in concertation with their host laboratories. Host laboratories submit the application of their candidate by November 21.


Applications presented by host laboratories are evaluated by a selection committee who short-lists a number of candidates to be interviewed. Candidates are informed of the results of this first round of selection by mid-December. Short-listed candidates are invited for a four-day interview on the campus of Institut Pasteur during February. Final results are communicated shortly thereafter. Selected students are enrolled in the program by the beginning of October.


Exact dates for each steps are clearly indicated upon the opening of each call.


Student eligibility

To apply to the program, the following conditions are required :


Diploma : Students must hold a master degree or an equivalent university degree in science, medicine or related fields delivered by an university located outside of France. In France, a master degree corresponds to five years of academic education; students holding a BSc or a Ba acquired after four years of academic education might be considered if they have an additional experience of laboratory works associated with a written final report or a publication. Enrolment in the PPU is only at the 1st year of Ph.D.


Language : The program is run entirely in English and, therefore, fluency in English is required (TOEFL  and GRE scores can be indicated when submitting your application). No knowledge of French is necessary.


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


External funding : Candidates with an external fellowship are eligible to enter the PPU program, however, they have to go through the same application procedure and be selected by the committee.


Thesis advisor eligibility

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


If there are multiple research teams (recognized as independent teams) in a host laboratory, each research team can submit an application for a prospective Ph.D. candidate. Each research team can present only one candidate. For two years following the acceptance of a student into the program, the host laboratory cannot submit an application sponsoring an additional student. However, if there are multiple research teams in the host laboratory, only the research team that already has a student in the program is restricted to submit a project.


Application procedure

Candidates choose and are chosen by a host laboratory. The first step to enter into 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 on-line at the opening of the call or shortly thereafter (see current call), around beginning of October. Students interested in a research project must contact the thesis advisor indicated for this project, by sending a CV and a letter of motivation. At the end of the call (usually mid-December), each laboratory (or research group in a laboratory) can present one candidate.


Candidates are advised to contact potential host laboratories at the latest four to six weeks before this deadline to allow sufficient time for communication between the candidate and the laboratory.The candidate chosen by a host laboratory to be presented to the selection committee should then download and fill the application form in concertation with the host laboratory. The filled application form must be submitted by the host laboratory; do not send the application yourself. Please note that recommendation letters will be requested and will have to be send by the reviewers to the Graduate office (


Evaluation of applications by the selection committee. The applications are evaluated on the basis of the academic qualification, previous experiences and scientific potential of candidates. In general, applicants are expected to be among the top of those qualified to enter a Ph.D. Program in their home country. Completed applications arriving at the graduate office by the deadline are subjected to a multi-step evaluation procedure. The admission is highly competitive.


The first assessment is carried out by a selection committee composed of :


  • External scientific senior researchers who are familiar with the applicant’s national education system.
  • Representatives of doctoral schools, who ensure that the applicant is eligible to register for a Ph.D. at a Parisian University.
  • Institut Pasteur scientists, including members of the graduate office.


Subsequently, Faculty members (including the Scientific director, the Teaching director of Institut Pasteur and the Dean of the PPU program) will short-list candidates to be interviewed according to the rankings given by the selection committee. Results are communicated to candidates by the end of January.


Interview week. Short-listed candidates are invited for a four-day visit in the Institut Pasteur during March. During that time, they will :


  • Visit the host laboratory and meet its members ;
  • Visit the Institut Pasteur (technical core facilities, museum, scientific library, …) ;
  • Meet the Dean of the program, the Teaching director of Institut Pasteur, Ph.D. committee members, as well as students and scientists working at Institut Pasteur ;
  • Present their master’s degree work (results or in progress) and their Ph.D. project to the scientific committee ;
  • Meet all together at luncheons and diners.


During their stay, candidates are evaluated by personal interviews and a thorough assessment by a scientific committee. This committee comprises a panel of scientists from the Institut Pasteur, the partner universities in Paris and representatives of partner institutions. Members of the committee cover the various scientific research domains developed at Institut Pasteur. None of the members from the Committee has a candidate in the group of invited applicants. The dean of the PPU program and the Teaching director of Institut Pasteur attend the examination sessions.


The committee examines the intellectual capacity, the general scientific knowledge, the overall comprehension of the Ph.D. project and the motivation of the student, and establishes a final ranking. The number of candidates who can be admitted is defined by the Direction of the Institut Pasteur and takes into account resources for fellowships and appropriate training. Eight to ten students might be recruited each year.

Travel expenses (economic fare) and housing during the interview week are covered by the PPU program.

Mis à jour le 27/06/2014