From approximately thirty in 1990, the number of DS increased regularly until their generalisation in 2000. There are now about 300 of various sizes and scope: some are single-discipline, others multi-disciplinary, some are linked to a single establishment, others to several.
A DS is accredited for a period of 4 years by the ministry of higher education and reRechercher, after assessment by the Haut Conseil de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur (HCERS: French Supreme Council for ReRechercher and Higher Education). It is overseen by a principal, assisted by a council on which a significant number of PhD candidates sit.
There role was specified and strengthened by the 2006 decree on doctoral education.
The DS participates in choosing PhD candidates (Education). The doctoral school ensures there is sufficient remunerationfor the PhD candidate. In fact, as preparing a PhD is a professional experience, it is natural that it should be remunerated. This also allows the PhD candidate to develop and prepare his/her thesis full time.