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PhD, Postdoc, and Professor Salaries in France

France has a strong academic tradition and is committed to investing in research and education. Since French universities are public and state-run, academics who hold permanent positions are civil servants. This means that their salaries are set by the government. All salary statistics in this article are pre-tax amounts.

PhD Salary

The doctorat is the highest academic degree and is required to hold French academic positions. The French doctorate is a primarily a research degree meaning that students do not take any mandatory courses. It can take three to six years to earn a French doctorate. The government set minimum doctoral salaries of €1684.93 per month for doctoral students who are only conducting research and €2024.70 per month for those who also have teaching responsibilities.

Postdoc Salary

A postdoc is a one- to five-year contract that allows a researcher to further specialize in a particular field after earning their PhD. Unlike more senior academic employees, postdocs are not civil servants and there is no national legislation concerning their salaries. However, many postdocs work at public research institutions which have highly-regulated salaries that are calculated based on degree and seniority. For example, postdoc salaries at Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CRNS) range from €2,000 to €3,700 per month. Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA) pays its postdocs a salary of €2,653 per month.

Maître de conférences (MCF) Salary

This is the first permanent position, equivalent to an associate professor. MCFs are civil servants so their salaries are set by national legislation and don’t vary between institutions or disciplines. There are two ranks of MCF which determine the compensation level: classe normale and hors classe. Within these classes are different tiers which correspond to seniority. The salary scale for an MCF goes from €2,169.63 to €3,865.97 monthly for classe normale and from €3,123.58 to €4,976.56 a month for hors classe.

Professeur des universités (PU) Salary

This permanent position is equivalent to a full professor. A PU is also civil servant so their salaries are determined by national legislation. They do not vary between institutions and disciplines. There are three ranks of PU which determine the compensation level: 2e classe, 1re classe, and classe exceptionnelle. Within these three ranks are different tiers that correspond to seniority. The salary scale for 2e classe starts at €3,102.15 and goes to €4,531.39 per month, while the scale for 1re classe is from €3,865.97 to €5,473.28 per month. The salary scale for the highest rank, classe exceptionnelle, is from €5,473.29 to €6,220.96 per month.

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