I am about to begin my second master's degree in math in France. I am not from France; I did my first master's in my country.

In my course, master's thesis is in 2nd semester but I want to start working on it in 3rd week of August because I will apply to PhD positions in November and December in other European nations as well as France. My Potential advisors are not from France but other European nations.

So, under French system can I have a advisor from another nation and can I start working early on the thesis?

  • Your question does not directly match your title. You could have a non-French national who works at a French University. Please edit your question. Also, the answer would be specific to a given University's and department's policies, unless France has some national-level policy Jul 20, 2022 at 16:04
  • 2
    Please do not add additional questions, particularly after you've already gotten answers to the first. I do not understand what "more detailed answers" you expect. Ultimately it doesn't matter whether "French masters programs allow (X)", what matters is whether your masters program allows it for you specifically and whether this other person will agree to advise you, and the only place you can get that answer is going to be from whatever program you are applying to/has accepted you and from your desired advisor.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 20, 2022 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


This will depend wildly on the institutions and programs (both host and guest). At my Alma Matter, the Master Logique et Fondements de l'Informatique program stipulates:

Stage de recherche (mémoire de master)

Vers le LMFI : Les étudiants de master dans une université étrangère qui souhaitent faire un stage de recherche (mémoire de master) à l'Université Paris Diderot peuvent prendre contact avec X.

Depuis le LMFI : Les étudiants du LFMI ont aussi la possibilité de faire leur stage (mémoire de master) dans une université étrangère (ou en codirection entre Paris et l'étranger). Les étudiants intéressés peuvent prendre contact avec Y.

It essentially says that you can do your research with them if you are in a different institution, and that you can do your research in another place.

But, in both case, the important point is that you need to reach out to X or Y. This will be essential, and cannot start too early: having two institutions agree on the modalities of your thesis will be extremely complicated in some cases.

As nobody here is going to list all the possible combination of institutions and program, I assume that this is the best answer you will receive: ask.


There is no definite answer to this question: each Master program or even curriculum within a Master program can define their own rules on how subjects and advisors for Master thesis work can be chosen by the student. From those that I know it could range from subjects and advisors only to be chosen in a defined list of subjects / advisors set up by the program to widely open as long as the subject of the thesis is in adequate relation with the topic of the program.

This information should be indicated on the program's curriculum. If you cannot find it, you should ask your question to the Professor or Associate Professor in charge of the program.


This isn't an answer, since I don't know the French system, but advice that might help.

My best guess is that this is uncommon, since the institution you are enrolled in has little influence over an external advisor and that person has little incentive, especially financial and time, to help you when you need it. And, an advisor from another nation is probably harder to arrange than one from another French institution.

So, make sure that you have permission to do this before you start, or even commit to a program. The head of the program is probably a good source of information and can give permission if it is possible at all.

Another option that could possibly be open is to have co-advisors, one from the "home" institution and one from away, where the home advisor is responsible for keeping all the duckies lined up and the external one for the actual advice to help you advance in field.

Starting the thesis research early is also a bit risky in case you can't come to an agreement on the topic and the plan with all of the interested parties. That doesn't mean that the effort is wasted in the long term, but without a specific agreement, you might be required to change focus, putting what you have already done on hold.

Be cautious. Talk to those with authority. Get permission. Good luck.

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