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VAE for PhD degree

To obtain a PhD degree without being a PhD student thanks to VAE – Vali­da­tion of Lear­ning through Expe­rience, to get a recog­ni­tion of his/her research acti­vi­ties, to have a bet­ter visi­bi­li­ty of his/her apti­tudes and com­pe­ten­cies on the employ­ment mar­ket, espe­cial­ly in the inter­na­tio­nal context.

Infor­ma­tion sessions


People who have expe­rience in research and have car­ried out ori­gi­nal scien­ti­fic works can apply for the vali­da­tion of lear­ning through expe­rience in order to obtain a PhD degree.

Research may have been done out­side the aca­de­mic fra­me­work (for example, in R&D depart­ment of a pri­vate company).

This vali­da­tion is pos­sible, sub­ject to the admis­si­bi­li­ty of the appli­ca­tion, wri­ting a dis­ser­ta­tion and  viva voce of the dis­ser­ta­tion in front of the jury.

The dis­ser­ta­tion of the VAE replaces the writ­ten the­sis. The dis­ser­ta­tion is a reflexive syn­the­sis of the way in which the can­di­date has built his/her research posture.

The VAE being regu­la­ted, allows to apply without condi­tions concer­ning degrees, natio­na­li­ty, age.

There is no dif­fe­rence bet­ween the degree obtai­ned as a PhD stu­dents and that obtai­ned through a VAE. The way of obtai­ning is not men­tio­ned on the degree.

The com­pe­ten­cies of the doc­to­rate degree are defi­ned by this decree.

For an individual:

  • Recog­ni­tion of his/her research activities
  • Bet­ter visi­bi­li­ty of his/her apti­tudes and com­pe­ten­cies on the employ­ment mar­ket, espe­cial­ly in the inter­na­tio­nal context

For a company:

  • Mana­ge­ment tool for employ­ment and com­pe­ten­cies : to insure cohe­rence bet­ween the degree and the posi­tion held
  • Retai­ning high poten­tials in the company
  • In the context of gro­wing glo­ba­li­sa­tion, staying com­pe­ti­tive internationally
  • Take into consi­de­ra­tion that the VAE is not just an auto­ma­tic conver­sion of expe­rience into a degree. It is neces­sa­ry to show his/her com­pe­ten­cies and prove it. The VAE pro­ject requires a real per­so­nal investment.
  • Be avai­lable and per­se­ve­rant. Plan more than one year to write and present your dissertation.

Steps of the VAE

The UTC orga­nises online infor­ma­tion mee­tings that will allow you to get infor­ma­tion without tra­vel­ling. We also orga­nise infor­ma­tion mee­tings at our offices in Com­piegne and Paris. 

Get infor­med about the research themes of UTC and iden­ti­fy your PhD specialisation.

Get in touch with the labo­ra­to­ry lin­ked to your cho­sen spe­cia­li­ty. An agree­ment from the pro­fes­sor – resear­cher for the scien­ti­fic super­vi­sion is neces­sa­ry before the admis­si­bi­li­ty stage.

Doc­to­ral school

The deci­sion of admis­si­bi­li­ty is based on the admis­si­bi­li­ty file and the inter­view with the admis­si­bi­li­ty commission.

The UTC offers an optio­nal gui­dance for the admis­si­bi­li­ty stage.

The admis­si­bi­li­ty file is first of all revie­wed by the VAE ser­vice in order to veri­fy the confor­mi­ty of the can­di­da­ture rela­ted to cri­te­rias of accep­tance. At this stage, the VAE ser­vice veri­fies ele­ments like diplo­mas, CV, work cer­ti­fi­cates, research acti­vi­ties report, publi­ca­tions, B1 English cer­ti­fi­ca­tion… Once this stage has been suc­cess­ful­ly pas­sed, the admis­si­bi­li­ty file is then pre­sen­ted to the admis­si­bi­li­ty commission.

The com­mis­sion is com­po­sed of  the direc­tor of doc­to­ral school, the head of VAE, two mem­bers of advi­so­ry board of the doc­to­ral school (inter­nal and exter­nal) and the scien­ti­fic super­vi­sor of the candidate.

For the inter­view, the can­di­date must do a 15 minute pre­sen­ta­tion with a power point sup­port and then ans­wer ques­tions of the experts. The com­mis­sion will eva­luate the can­di­date capa­ci­ty to fina­lise his/her VAE process.

A 3 hour package is plan­ned to accom­pa­ny the can­di­date during this admis­si­bi­li­ty process.

It includes :

  • Ana­ly­sis of the admis­si­bi­li­ty file and 15 minute feedback
  • A mock pre­sen­ta­tion and feed­back (1:30)

The admis­si­bi­li­ty file must pro­vide the infor­ma­tion allo­wing spe­cia­lists to car­ry out a per­so­na­li­zed stu­dy of the VAE pro­ject. An admi­nis­tra­tive admis­si­bi­li­ty deci­sion as well as an opi­nion on the fea­si­bi­li­ty of the vali­da­tion pro­ject will be issued.

Pre­pare the admis­si­bi­li­ty file

After the inter­view with the can­di­date, the com­mit­tee decides on the accep­tance of the request.  This deci­sion may be very favou­rable, favou­rable, reser­ved or unfavourable.

In case of unfa­vou­rable deci­sion, the can­di­date is not allo­wed to pur­sue the VAE pro­cess at UTC. Obtai­ning a very favou­rable, favou­rable, or reser­ved deci­sion does not pre­judge in any way the final deci­sion of the VAE jury.

The UTC offers a double gui­dance for the VAE. This gui­dance is assu­red by a pair of experts:

- VAE super­vi­sor, an expert in ana­ly­sis of com­pe­ten­cies and work psy­cho­lo­gist and

- scien­ti­fic super­vi­sor, a pro­fes­sor-resear­cher of the UTC hol­ding an HDR (accre­di­ta­tion to super­vise research), spe­cia­li­sed in the field of the candidate’s activities.

The can­di­date must write a dis­ser­ta­tion and present a viva voce of the dis­ser­ta­tion to the VAE jury.

Fol­lo­wing the VAE logic and that of the doc­to­rate, the dis­ser­ta­tion is com­po­sed of two parts:

Part one: Candidate’s feed­back on the pro­gres­sion of the pro­fes­sio­nal and per­so­nal expe­rience as a resear­cher through ana­ly­sis of the acti­vi­ties and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of com­pe­ten­cies. Can­di­date must demons­trate the acqui­si­tion of com­pe­ten­cies defi­ned in the RNCP file. In brief, in this part, it is a reflexive syn­the­sis on the way in which the can­di­date has built his/her posture.

The objectives of the guidance to writing a dissertation are :

  • Unders­tand what is expec­ted by the VAE jury
  • Reflexive feed­back on his/her expe­rience by retur­ning to the past situa­tions to dis­tance them­selves in order to obtain know­ledge with new signi­fi­ca­tion. This requires awar­ness which until now were auto­ma­tic and often without signification.

The expert metho­do­lo­gic, spe­cia­list in com­pe­tences ana­ly­sis ensures that the can­di­date fol­lows the requi­re­ments of the VAE process.

His/her mis­sions are to:

  • Present the logic of the tem­plate of the dis­ser­ta­tion to the candidate
  • Pro­pose a method to des­cribe and ana­lyse the candidate’s activities
  • Help the can­di­date to iden­ti­fy his/her skills, to defend them and to for­ma­lize them in the dis­ser­ta­tion with regard  to the diplo­ma concerned
  • Help the can­di­date to rea­lise reflexive feed­back of his/her experience

This part is pre­pa­red with the VAE super­vi­sor. Nine inter­views are pro­po­sed to the can­di­date for a total of 16 hours.

Part two: The syn­the­sis of research works and its publi­ca­tions rela­tive to the cur­rent state of know­ledge in rela­tion to the field of research. This part is pre­pa­red with the scien­ti­fic super­vi­sor, a pro­fes­sor-resear­cher of the UTC hol­ding an HDR (accre­di­ta­tion to super­vise research), spe­cia­li­sed in the field of the candidate.

Inter­views can take place online or at the UTC in Compiegne.

An accom­pa­niment conven­tion is signed up by the can­di­date, the UTC and finan­cial third part eventually.

The can­di­date is enrol­led admi­nis­tra­ti­ve­ly at the doc­to­ral school of the UTC.

Interview 1 – (1 hour)

  • Pre­sen­ta­tion of the tem­plate of the dissertation
  • Expec­ta­tions of the VAE jury

Interviews 2 and 3 – (2×2 hours) 

  • Present the evo­lu­tion of his/her expe­rience and his/her motivations
  • Out­line his/her pro­fes­sio­nal project
  • Des­cribe his/her acti­vi­ties lin­ked to the diploma
  • Des­cribe the places of his/her activities

Interviews 4, 5 and 6 – (3×2 hours)

  • Iden­ti­fy his/her competencies
  • Defend his/her com­pe­ten­cies in rela­tion to the requi­re­ments of the diploma
  • Cri­ti­cal dis­tan­cing vis a vis his/her experience
  • Present his/her know­ledge fol­lo­wing the trainings

Interviews 7, 8 and 9 – (1 hour + 2×2 hours)

  • Advice for pre­pa­ring the pre­sen­ta­tion in the front of the jury
  • Feed­back on the pre­sen­ta­tion support
  • Mock pre­sen­ta­tion

Before viva voce, two repor­ters will eva­luate the dis­ser­ta­tion and write their reports. The pre­sident of the uni­ver­si­ty will autho­rise the defense of the dis­ser­ta­tion. The viva voce of the VAE dis­ser­ta­tion are orga­ni­sed all along the year, except June, July, August. The viva voce of the VAE dis­ser­ta­tion is simi­lar to the viva voce of the the­sis. The com­po­si­tion of the jury is as follow:

  • The direc­tor of the doc­to­ral school or his/her repre­sen­ta­tive duly desi­gna­ted – the pre­sident of the jury
  • A pro­fes­sor – resear­cher of the UTC, HDR – the reporter
  • A per­so­na­li­ty from out­side of the UTC – the reporter
  • One or two per­so­na­li­ties with PhD from out­side of the UTC with at least fif­ty percent of the jury is com­po­sed of the uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors or assimilated.

The VAE jury deli­be­rates and writes the viva voce report.

The vali­da­tion can be total, par­tial or refu­sed. If the vali­da­tion is not total, we can request the can­di­date to rewrite the syn­the­sis of his/her works or to pro­vide com­ple­men­ta­ry works (for example publish an article in peer revie­wed journal).

To start

The pre­pa­ra­tion of the admi­nis­tra­tive file is a per­so­nal work. To down­load the admi­nis­tra­tive file of the UTC, we thank you for ente­ring your email address and cli­cking on the access but­ton below. It will allow us to iden­ti­fy people inter­es­ted by the VAE. In which case we will send them addi­tio­nal infor­ma­tion of VAE in form of news­let­ters, tar­ge­ted infor­ma­tion, etc. Only the autho­ri­sed per­son­nel of the Conti­nuing Edu­ca­tion and the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion direc­tor of UTC have access to the can­di­dates email address.

The legal treat­ment is your accep­tance which you can with­draw at any moment by wri­ting to

The email address is dele­ted 3 years after the date of your last contact.

In accor­dance to the Euro­pean regu­la­tions 2016–679 named RGPD, you have the right to access, to rec­ti­fy, and to delete data rela­ting to you and the rights you can exer­cise at You also have the right to limit the use of these data which can be exer­ci­ced at

For all ques­tions rela­ted to the use of per­so­nal data you can contact the dele­gate of the UTC’s data pro­tec­tion ( If you think that yours rights were not res­pec­ted after contac­ting us, you can make a claim with the CNIL.


  • Pediods of sub­mis­sion of admis­si­bi­li­ty file

From Janua­ry 1 to May 31 and from Sep­tem­ber 1 to Decem­ber 15.

  • Admis­si­bi­li­ty com­mit­tee and jurys

From Janua­ry 1 to May 31 and from Sep­tem­ber 1 to Decem­ber 15.

Contact and documentation


Head of the VAE – metho­do­lo­gic supervisor
Mag­da­le­na Villette
 +33 (0)3 44 23 79 48 (49 19)
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