The Interuniversity PhD Program offers a unique bilingual environment where students can learn across intellectual traditions.  

The program’s official languages are French and English, and its requirements may be completed in either of these languages or in a combination of both of them. 

Because students who understand both French and English are best able to take full advantage of the program’s many opportunities for intercultural exchange, all students are strongly encouraged to develop their language skills while in the program.

The program’s language protocols are as follows:

Written Work

All written work, including the thesis, may be submitted in French or English.


The language of discussion in Block A seminars is the same as the language of instruction, with the understanding that students may express complex ideas in the program’s other language.  

Professors determine the language or languages of instruction and discussion in Block B seminars. 

Exams and defence

Students determine the language(s) of discussion in their comprehensive examinations and thesis defence.


The doctoral forum is bilingual.  Students and jury members speak in their language of choice and translations are provided when necessary.

Admission Requirement

Applicants must be fully proficient in English or French at the point of admission, as stipulated by their home institution. Consult our Admissions page for more information.

Degree Requirement

During the course of their studies, candidates must also demonstrate their understanding of an additional language relevant to their thesis research or to the program as a whole.

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to assess whether students have this linguistic proficiency.  If necessary, supervisors should recommend a course of study and reassess upon its completion.

When determining their student’s proficiency, supervisors have the discretion to consider a variety of possible indicators, including but not limited to:

  1. the necessary language is the student’s mother tongue, or they have completed their secondary or postsecondary education in that language.
  2. the student has passed an oral or written test of comprehension, set and administered by the supervisor, by a colleague, or within the home department. Supervisors may call on the expertise of colleagues at the partner institutions if necessary, through the intermediary of the Graduate Program Director.
  3. the student has obtained a B or higher in formal language courses.  The level and extent of the coursework to be followed should be determined by the supervisor in conjunction with the training provider, taking into account the needs of the research.
  4. the student has successfully completed a graduate-level course that is taught in the necessary language. 

Any student who disputes their supervisor’s assessment should present a request for reassessment to the Graduate Program Director, who will either perform the reassessment or enlist a colleague to do so.

Montreal has a wealth of opportunities to improve your language skills.  We have assembled some options here, focussing on public institutions.

I Want English Training
I Want French Training