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Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for the 2020 entry will open on September 1

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Although we strive to give you the most complete information on this web site, following are some of the most common questions we hear from our applicants. 

If you think of something else you would like to know, please do not hesitate to contact us.  


The HEC Paris PhD Program is built on a strategy of excellence in PhD instruction and placement success. It is a small and intensive program aiming to attract outstanding students with the highest level of ambition. Only between 10 and 12 students are enrolled every year and 1 to 4 in each area of specialization. The rigorous selection process and the small number of students admitted into the program ensure that we attracts high-calibre students. 
Selectivity, demanding and intensive course training, close supervision, and full immersion in the research activities are cornerstones of HEC Paris’ philosophy in PhD training. HEC Paris is also pursuing a successful policy of encouraging academic exchanges with the world’s best business schools and research presentations in the leading conferences.  
HEC Paris’ international, research-driven, young and yet renowned faculty is a key ingredient of success in our PhD Program. HEC faculty members are publishing many research articles in top research journals every year, and are active in all domains of research in management. The depth and quality of HEC Paris PhD course offer ensures that PhD students receive the training needed to carry out research at the forefront of their field. 

 

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As one of the oldest and top business schools in the world, HEC Paris has been successful in placing its PhDs in many leading business schools worldwide. They work in faculty positions in Europe, the United States and Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia/Oceania. Some alumni also take up academic positions in economics departments, research organizations, or engineering schools.

While 90% of our recent PhDs pursue an academic career, some choose to pursue a career in government or international institutions or consulting where the skills acquired during the PhD are highly valued.


 

A successful PhD requires intensive training and comprehensive knowledge on research methods and current research trends. PhD students devote their entire first year to coursework, and a substantial part or most of their second year. Required course work in the second year vary by area of specialization. During this first year, PhD students will learn theoretical foundations, receive state-of-the-art methodological training and acquire knowledge about key insights and research findings at the frontiers of their field. HEC Paris faculty devote a considerable part of their time to training PhD students. 
During the second year, PhD students will work on their thesis proposal. The thesis proposal is defended at the end of the year front of faculty from their area of specialization. With the help of their supervisors and other faculty members, they will define the most promising questions and avenues for their research ideas, and determine the research design. 
Year three to five is dedicated to working on their research, presenting papers at conferences, enrich their research knowledge by spending time abroad in an international university, prepare their job market paper and of course the defense of their thesis. 

 

HEC Paris PHD curriculum


 

The program is designed for five years although few students are able to complete their thesis within four years. As in most leading PhD programs in management, this is the time students need to prepare for the academic job market, advance their research vita (publications, working papers, and presentations) to maximize their chances for a high-profile faculty placement.

 

HEC Paris PHD curriculum

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The HEC Paris PhD Program offers only one entry per year, in early September. 

All our professors hold an international PhD and over 60% are international. Thus, HEC professors and staff members communicate exclusively in English.

Therefore, the language of instruction is 100% English and we do not require any French language knowledge. Thus, we require that all candidates when they apply must prove proficiency in English by submitting the TOEFL, IELTS or the Cambridge exam.

Score requirements: 
Toefl: 100 IBT
Ielts: 7.5 

Exemption: English natives and applicants who studied their Masters 100% in English.
 

When you live an study in a foreign country is it important to learn the local language not only to speak but also to understand the culture and customs.

Therefore, we offer all PhD students who do not speak French (from beginner to proficiency level) to register for the French language course. They can join the course during the entire program.

HEC Paris Learning Center of Languages is also the perfect place to learn or strengthen French and many other languages.

 

A majority of our successful PhD students go on an academic visit in another top business school or research department. Most of these visits take place during the 3rd and 4th year of the PhD studies. Such visits are very flexible and vary a lot in length (in general between 3 and 12 months). Students receive additional financial support for research visits. Every year, HEC Paris also receives around 3 to 5 visiting PhD students from other schools and departments around the world. 

To build your personal research network it is essential to join international conferences, in general between year 3 and 5. Students receive financial support for conferences under the condition that they present a paper. The PhD program also finances Job Market events.

 

No, we do not offer any online program. 

Build on a strategy of excellence, the HEC Paris PhD Program aims to attract outstanding students with clear ambition to become top researchers in international academic institutions.

If you are passionate by research and wish to take the step from research consumer to research producer and join the world of academia, yes you are fit for the program.

We welcome applications from candidates of all nationalities, who are fluent in English and who have an outstanding academic record.

A university degree in a specific field is not required but applicants must hold a Master's or equivalent (sciences, engineering, .). Previous professional experience is not a requirement but may be a plus depending on the specialization.

No, there is no age limit to apply for the program. The average age is 29. 

Absolutely. The HEC PhD is taught 100% in English. Candidates when they apply must prove proficiency in English by submitting the TOEFL, IELTS or the Cambridge exam.

All our professors hold an international PhD and over 60% are international. Thus, HEC professors and staff members communicate exclusively in English.  


Score requirements: 
Toefl: 100 IBT (TOEFL order code: 3306)
Ielts: 7.5 


 

No, we require from all our candidates to take a GMAT or GRE test.

Yes, we offer a waiver for the English language test if you are a native English speaker.

No, we require a language test from all non English native speakers. 

 


 

Although you may hold an excellent Bachelor degree with exceptional academic records, the HEC Paris PhD Diploma is a national accredited degree and the French National Doctoral School requires that applicants hold a Master degree to apply for the program.  
 

Yes, we accept applications from motivated candidates who are enrolled in their final year of studies. You must upload your most recent transcripts on your application space and submit the final certified transcript and degree by end of October of the entrance year. 

Yes, there is no specific professional experience required to join the HEC Paris PhD program. 

No, the HEC PhD Program is a full-time program. As in most leading PhD programs, students are expected to devote all of their time and energy to their training, research, and completion of their PhD thesis.   Scholarships granted by HEC Paris and the HEC Foundation as well as additional funding opportunities are in place to allow PhD students to concentrate exclusively on their training and research. 

No, All PhD students are expected to live either on campus or in the Paris area in order to be close to their research peers and professors and participate in numerous research seminars that every specialization offers.

If you have a choice between a research master and another more professionalizing master degree, and you want to do a PhD after your master, it is typically a good idea to choose the research master. Opting for a research master offers two advantages. First, you will gain time as the research-oriented courses you take offer content that is useful for your PhD and that allows you to accelerate your course training during your PhD. Second, for admission at selective schools like HEC Paris, a research master may be viewed as a positive element as it shows that you know how to carry out research, what you need to learn for it and whether you are good at learning it.

However, please note that a research master is absolutely not a requirement. There is always the opportunity to get a complete, self-contained sequence of the required research-oriented course work during the PhD. 

Our students hold masters degrees not only in research but also in finance, economics, management, political science, engineering, law, etc.

The HEC PhD is open to candidates holding a Master degree. A research master is not a requirement, and most of our applicants and PhD students do not hold a research master. The most important admission criterion is the potential you show for developing ideas and carrying out top-level research, and there are many ways of showing this. Having excelled in a top-level research master program is a good way of showing your potential, but there are many other ways. 
What is a research master? Many universities and schools, especially in Europe, offer research master degrees, sometimes under names like MRes or MPhil (we are referring to "taught" masters, i.e. programs based on intensive course work). Thus, in these universities and schools, some research training is offered during the research master program, and some more during the PhD, with a lot of variation in the weight between the two. This is also true for HEC Paris. 

At HEC Paris we apply the online application system. Therefore, we will not accept any application or document sent by email or by post. 

Please refer to the Admissions page for more information on the process. 

 

Admissions 

Most top PhD programs have application deadlines in January or earlier, but many candidates are not ready with their application material at that time, especially in Europe where many programs generally have later deadlines in May or in June. For this reason, we have decided to offer two admission rounds in January and in April. 

Please visit the Admissions page to check the deadline calendar.

Candidates who are ready in January can receive early notification about their admission to the program, whereas candidates that need more time to prepare their application can take advantage of the late deadline in April. 
 

Admissions 

There is no difference in the chances of admission between both deadlines. We apply strictly the same criteria, and the quality of the admitted candidates is the same. Thus, if you are ready in January, there is no reason to defer your application, but also no penalty when you do so. 

The GMAT or GRE tests help us to evaluate the applicant’s analytical capabilities that are essential for a successful career in research. There is no minimum required test score, but successful candidates typically have very good test scores in the top quartile of the distribution. The average GMAT of admitted candidates is in general around 700. 
 

The HEC PhD Program is taught 100% in English. 

The TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge English language tests help us to appraise the applicant's language proficiency. Perfect knowledge of English is absolutely essential for a successful international research career in management.
 

No, we accept any of the mentioned tests without any preference.

To complete your application file, you must submit a GMAT or a GRE test score. Please note that we do not accept tests taken more than 5 years ago.

GMAT is organized by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council).

For full information about how to prepare the test and to find the test center nearest your city, we suggest that you visit the GMAT web-site.

GRE is organized by ETS (Educational Testing Service).

For full information about how to prepare the test and to find the test center nearest your city, we suggest that you visit the ETS web-site.

To complete your application, you must submit an official GMAT or GRE score which must be less than 5 years old. 

For the GMAT, please instruct Pearson VUE to send your official GMAT scores directly to the HEC Paris PhD Program:

code 0TL-6C-99. 


For the GRE, please instruct Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send your official scores directly to the HEC Paris PhD Program: 

code 0795, choose any department code

You must also upload your personal score results on your application.

Please note that the above tests are valid for 5 years. 

To complete your application, you must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score which must be less than 3 years old. 


For the TOEFL, please order a copy of your score sheet for the HEC Paris PhD office through your local center.  

Code number: 3306 

After the issue of TOEFL results, please add your personal test report form to your application.


For the IELTS: Before taking the test please nominate on the IELTS Application form HEC Paris School of Management as your score test receiver institution.

Please fill in the receiver's information as follows:

  • Name of person/department:
    PhD Program/Admissions Office
  • Name of institution/agency/body/employer:
    HEC Paris School of Management
  • Address:
    1, rue de la Libération,
    78351 Jouy en Josas CEDEX,
    France

After the issue of IELTS results, please add your personal test report on your application. By uploading your score in your application, you give us the permission to verify the result. For more information  please visit the IELTS web-site.

For the Cambridge tests: Please upload your personal score report on your application. By sharing this information, you give us permission to verify the result. For more information please visit the Cambridge test web-site. 

There are no minimum required or minimum cut-off scores for applying to the HEC Paris PhD Program. We accept applicants with a wide range of scores. If you have taken a test several times, the Admissions will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application. 

TOEFL: 100 IBT

IELTS: 7.5

Cambridge: C2

No. In the least, your unofficial score available on the test date must be uploaded to your application form by the deadline.

Please note that incomplete applications cannot be submitted and will not be accepted under any exceptional circumstances. 
 

No.  You are advised to wait until your application is complete including the official management test scorecard (test taker copy) before submitting. 
If on the deadline date, you have still not received the official score results, we will exceptionally accept your unofficial GMAT or GRE score given on the day of the test or a screenshot of your GMAT or GRE score from the respective websites.  Once the official scores are available to you, they must be scanned and sent by email to doctorat@hec.fr.  The HEC admissions team takes no responsibility for updating non-communicated scores. 
 

We recommend that you take the GMAT/GRE/TAGE MAGE test at least 2 weeks in advance of submitting your application. 
 

No, none of our Programs at HEC Paris apply waivers. The PhD Program requires a management test from every candidate and cannot be waived by previous professional or research experience. 

Yes, we offer a waiver for the English language test if you are a native English speaker.

No, we require a language test from all non English native speakers. 

 


 

No. In the least, your unofficial score available on the test date must be uploaded to your application form by the deadline. Incomplete applications cannot be submitted and will not be accepted under any circumstances. 
 

HEC Paris receives a large number of applications every year and only completed online applications will be considered. However, we may exceptionally accept unofficial test scores for candidates whose test date is very close to the application deadline.  

No, you cannot apply twice in the same recruitment year. 
If you have been rejected you may apply again for the following intake but it makes sense only if there is a substantial addition to the application material provided (improved GMAT/GRE score, a new excellent diploma, research papers or other remarkable academic achievements, etc.). 
 

No. There is no minimum GPA requirement to apply for variances in grading systems around the world. 
 

On your application, for each degree, enter the grade using the grading scale of your local institution's GPA (grade point average) indicated on your transcript (ex : 3/4, 7.1/10, 82/100, first class, second upper class, etc). If you do not have any average on your transcript, you have to calculate it. 


 

The application fee is fixed to 50€ by an online payment via the application portal. Please contact us for other means of payment, doctorat@hec.fr 

Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.

 

No, all applicants are required to pay the non-refundable application fee.

HEC Paris has one of the largest campuses in Europe. Its academic, leisure and sports facilities offer students and staff the holistic life you would expect from a world-class institution. The school also provides a perfect balance between the rural and urban worlds. It is located on the Paris-Saclay plateau hosting one of the world’s eighth largest research-education-technology hubs.

The 340-acre wooded campus is located approximately 20km from Paris city center and 7km from the prestigious Versailles palace.

We offer to all our PhD students to live on campus during their studies. We especially encourage students to live on campus at least during their first year of studies as the course load is intense. From the second year some PhD students move to nearby cities or move to Paris. HEC Paris has negotiated housing opportunities with the national CROUS nearby the 'Cité Universitaire' in the fourteen's 'arrondissement' of Paris, close to easy transportation to the campus.

The campus is not only a place to study but also to live and network with students from other programs (MBA, Masters programs). In total HEC Paris welcomes more than 4500 students of 60 different nationalities on its campus every year and many of them live on the campus.

The campus is also an intense student life with over 100 various student clubs and sport activities. 

The PhD students' Association participates actively in the organization of the campus life activities and are present at the Student Affairs Office regular meeting between the Student Affairs Office and students.

Read more about  the campus and more facilities, IT, sport, library, etc here.