Application steps

Louvain-La-Neuve

Doctoral Regulation at UCLouvain

The doctoral program in economics is a third cycle educational program.

  • For the PhD students registered after 14/09/2014, the Decree of 07/11/2013 - which defines the scope of higher education and the academic organization of studies in the French Community of Belgium (“Communauté Française de Belgique”) applies.
  • For the students registered before 14/09/2014, the program is directed by the Bologna treaty and the Decree of 31/03/2004 which define higher education and promote its integration into the European Higher Education Area. It also states the financing of the universities that belong to the French Community of Belgium (“Communauté Française de Belgique”). 

It consists of 180 ECTS divided as follow:

  1. the writing, the editing and the defense of a doctoral dissertation corresponding to at least 120 ECTS, and
  2. a research training program (equivalent to a minimum of 60 ECTS) that includes both courses, workshops and individual scientific training activities.

General Admission Criteria

The program is open to any person holding a recognized Master’s degree (120 ECTS) obtained with a grade of minimum14/20 (“Distinction”) OR a diploma equivalent to 300 Credits/ECTS (which will have to be valorised by our Registration Office AND the Doctoral Commission). Specific additional requirements apply according to the Doctoral Commission of each subject (see below).

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is obtained after passing the (private and public) defense of a PhD thesis that should outline the quality and the originality of the research as well as the candidate’s ability to communicate about his/her area of expertise.

Diplomas accepted for applying for the PhD program in Economics

Degrees allowing to apply for a PhD program WITHOUT complementary training *

  • Master 120 in Economics from a French – speaking Belgian (FWB) university
  • Other (including foreign) degree judged equivalent to a Master 120 in Economics from a Belgian (FWB) university

* Complementary training can be imposed during the PhD program to a student with a professional Master’s degree 120 ECTS in Economics   

Degrees allowing to apply to a PhD program WITH complementary training**

  • Master 120 from a  French – speaking Belgian  (FWB) university in a different field 
  • Master 120 in a different field from another  (including foreign)  university

**A student with a Master’s degree 120 ECTS obtained with honors or equivalent in a different field may be granted access after validating up to 60 ECTS of graduate coursework in economics or equivalent. The decision belongs to the Doctoral Bureau in Economics.

Refer also to the Admission criteria defined in the UCLouvain Doctoral Regulation (for all the students who register for the first time after 14/09/2014).

Application Deadlines

The next deadline for sending your demand of admission to the Economic's Doctoral Committee is available here.
The application file (see the details in Step 0 or Step 1 here below) submitted to the doctoral committee have to be sent 2 weeks prior to the deadline announced above to Isabelle Portzenheim by email in electronic format (PDF, in a single file).
Any file sent past that deadline will be studied at the next doctoral committee meeting.

Administrative Coordinator

The ESPO doctoral administrative coordinator, Isabelle Portzenheim, is located at the ESPO Faculty - Place Montesquieu 4/L2.05.01 - 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

Main Steps

The doctoral process consists of three main stages:

  1. Step 1: Admission (or Step 0: Pre-admission if required)
  2. Step 2: Confirmation
  3. Step 3: Private and Public Defenses

You can read the live basics here below and/or the complete information in the VADE MECUM

The pre-admission is an optional step, primarily intended to provide the necessary time to accomplish the administrative, financial and social stages involved in the integration in a new research environment. It allows qualified candidates to hold an official document confirming their admission to our Phd Program, which is needed (for example) when applying for scholarships, when organizing project funding, when requesting a visa and/or a work permit… Preadmission also formalizes the beginning a doctoral program that has not yet converged on a specific subject or the full composition of a supervisory panel.

The decision to pre-admit a candidate is taken by the Doctoral Bureau in Economics. A pre-admission is valid for a maximum of 12 calendar months and authorizes the candidate to:  

  • Define and prepare a thesis proposal under the guidance of the supervisor (mentor) 
  • Define and propose a program for individual research training in collaboration with the supervisor. Note that credits are awarded for courses and reading seminars during the period of pre-admission. 
  • Identify and establish a scientific collaboration with the supervisor, including the necessary contacts to compose a supervisory panel.

The following elements must be included in the electronic admission file (PDF, in a single file or it won’t be considered).

  1. Identity, full name (scanned copies of identity card and/or passport) 
  2. Contact information (address, telephone and email) 
  3. CV and copies of obtained university degrees 
  4. Proof of completion of Master’s degree in Economics equal to 120 ECTS with honors or equivalent, accomplished undergraduate and graduate university studies of at least 300 ECTS in total. A student with a Master’s degree 120 ECTS obtained with honors or equivalent in a different field may be granted access after validating up to 60 ECTS of graduate coursework in economics or equivalent. The decision belongs to the Doctoral Bureau in Economics.
  5. Letter of support from a faculty member to act as a permanent supervisor (see point 3.3.1.1)
  6. Research proposal (see point 3.3.1.2)
  7. Proposal for a research training program (see point 3.3.1.4)
  8. If needed proof of completion of compulsory courses or equivalent (see point 3.3.1.4)
  9. The candidate must be able to demonstrate an English proficiency equivalent to the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference, or to the 567 level of the TOEFL® PBT test, 87 of the TOEFL® iBT test or 6 of the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS). The proof of proficiency may be asked.

The pre-admission application has to be sent to the Doctoral Bureau in Economics administrator in an electronic format (PDF, in a single file or it won’t be considered).

Following the approval by the Doctoral Bureau, the candidate who receives a written authorization to register as a doctoral student with a “pre-admission” status for up Doctoral Committee in Economics - Vademecum 
9 to 12 months, has to register himself as a student at our central services - SIC.  The PhD student has to pay the annual administrative fees that is due: UCL tuition fees.

The admission to the doctoral school is the first mandatory step to take within the doctoral process. The admission application has to be sent to the Doctoral Bureau of Economics administrator in an electronic format (PDF, in a single file) or it won’t be considered.

The following elements must be contained in the electronic admission file (PDF, in a single file or it won’t be considered):
Note: more details in the VADE MECUM

  1. Identity, full name (scanned copies of identity card and/or passport) 
  2. Contact information (address, telephone and email) 
  3. CV and copies of obtained university degrees 
  4. Proof of completion of a Master degree in Economics (alt. M.Sc. in Economics) 120 ECTS with honors or equivalent: accomplished undergraduate and graduate university studies of at least 300 ECTS in total. A student with a Master’s degree 120 ECTS obtained with honors or equivalent in a different field may be granted access after validating up to 60 ECTS of graduate coursework in economics or equivalent. The decision belongs to the Doctoral Bureau in Economics.
  5. Letter from a faculty member agreeing to act as the thesis supervisor. (see Vade Mecum - point 3.3.1.1)
  6. Letters (or e-mails) from each member of the supervisory panel agreeing on being part of it
  7. Research proposal (see Vade Mecum - point 3.3.1.2)
  8. A research training program proposal (see Vade Mecum - point 3.3.1.4)
  9. If needed proof of completion of compulsory courses or equivalent (see Vade Mecum - point 3.3.1.4)
  10. The candidate must be able to demonstrate an English proficiency equivalent to the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference, or to the 567 level of the TOEFL® PBT test, 87 of the TOEFL® iBT test or 6 of the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS). The proof of proficiency may be asked.

 

You are entitled to follow doctoral courses in a different institution if approved by the Doctoral Bureau of Economics.
There are two doctoral schools in Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles recognized as a Graduate School in Economics by FNRS:  

  • the Doctoral School of Economics formed by UCL, Université de Namur and Université de Saint-Louis – Bruxelles
  • the Doctoral School of Economics formed by ULg, UMons, and ULB.

The role of these doctoral schools is twofold:

  1. to provide an organized set of training activities leading to the best possible preparation and conduct of internationally recognized research in economics
  2. to socialize doctoral candidates into a research-driven environment through close contacts with faculty members. PhD students registered to these universities are allowed to follow doctoral courses and seminars organized by the two doctoral schools.

You need to register to a course through your personal online account, if you encounter any issue, please contact Ms Solange Dujardin
See also the offer of doctoral courses in economics 

The confirmation step is organized at a time and a location that suit the candidate and his supervisory panel. 
It involves several elements:

  1. At least 1 month prior to the intended confirmation date, the candidate or the supervisor informs the Doctoral Bureau in Economics (via the administration, Isabelle Portzenheim) about the upcoming event. 
  2. The candidate or supervisor may request the presence of a member of the Doctoral Bureau at the confirmation. Analogously, the Doctoral Bureau may signal their intention to assist at the confirmation. In both cases, the Doctoral Bureau will coordinate with the supervisory panel as to find a suitable date for the confirmation.
  3. Unless a request has been made as of (2), the supervisor informs the Doctoral Bureau about the date of the confirmation proof. 
  4. Two weeks prior to the confirmation, the candidate submits his Confirmation Proof Form  duly filled out, a written report or authored article(s), showing progress of his research project. The minimum requirement is to have achieved a thorough literature review and to have specified the research’s methodological frame. If an article is submitted/published, a short written note should document the position of the article within the thesis proposal.  The work scheduled ahead should also be described. 
  5. At the confirmation, the PhD student has to make an oral presentation (20 minutes) of his completed and of his future work.
  6. After his presentation and the discussion that follows amongst all the members, the supervisory panel (and possible members of the Doctoral Bureau) deliberates upon the confirmation’s conclusions.
  7. The confirmation report (PV) is written by the supervisor and signed by him and all members of the supervisory panel. 
  8. The Confirmation Proof Form submitted by the PhD student also has to be signed by all his supervisory panel members. 
  9. These 2 documents (original versions) have to be submitted to Doctoral Bureau (via the PhD administrator) for validation request. The request must include the 2 following: a. The ECTS grid  duly completed with the credits requested to be validated in regards of the doctoral program b. The justifications of the activities allocating credits (ECTS) that have to be validated

The private defense can be scheduled at the earliest one year after successfully passing the confirmation proof.
 
The organisation of the defenses can be of 2 types:  

  • type “1”: public defense happening at least 1 month after the private defense (See point 2.5. First method for organising private defense and public defense of the UCL Doctoral Regulations: https://uclouvain.be/en/research/valodoc/doctoralregulations.html)
  • type “2”: public defense happening less than 1 month after the private defense” (See: point 2.6. Second method for organising private defense and public defense of the UCL Doctoral Regulations: https://uclouvain.be/en/research/valodoc/doctoral-regulations.html). 
    n.b.: this formula must remain exceptional and must be justified to the Doctoral Bureau by the thesis Supervisor(s).

The supervisory panel decides the type of the defense scheduled and this should be specified on the form outlining the suggested composition of the board.