Everything you need to know about the international dual PhD degree can be found in this FAQ for the academic year 2024-2025.

Below are common questions about the international dual PhD :

What is an international dual PhD ?

An international dual PhD degree is a programme which enables a PhD student to carry out his/her research work under the joint supervision of several thesis directors. The programme encourages international doctoral mobility and the awarding of two or more PhD degrees (with mention of joint supervision) following a single defense in France or abroad.

What are the benefits ?

It allows students to be awarded a PhD degree from a French university and one or several foreign institutions. This degree is approved by the partner countries involved in the dual PhD degree agreement, thus offering more opportunities and acquiring additional skills through a unique and multicultural experience.

How long does it take ?

An international dual PhD degree takes a minimum of 3 years (full time). However, it is possible to include a 4th year when signing the dual PhD degree agreement and extend it thereafter by an amendment. The PhD degree cannot exceed 6 years.

What are the eligibility requirements ?

You must have a Master’s degree or equivalent (or same education level) and be admitted in your first year of PhD at Université Paris Cité and the partner university.


Registration and preparing your dual PhD degree

I want to register for an international dual PhD, what timeline should I follow ? When should I start the process ?

Preparing an international dual PhD degree requires time and organisation. It can only be set up if the applicant has enrolled in in the 1st year of his/her PhD degree programme in one of the partner institutions.

  • The application for the academic year 2024/2025 will run from June 15th to December 15th 2024.
  • Within this timeframe, you must complete your admission at Université Paris Cité and/or the partner institutions. You must then apply for international dual PhD degree programme.
  • If your application is selected, a minimum of 3 months of negotiations is needed, possibly more, to obtain your dual PhD Degree agreement. Just a word of advice; be prepared and organised.
  • The dual PhD agreement must be signed during the first year of PhD.
  • Please note that Université Paris Cité is usually closed during the first three weeks of August, you will therefore have to be proactive.
Is it possible to establish an international PhD with more than 2 institutions ?

Yes, Université Paris Cité allows an international PhD degree to be set up with more than one partner institutions.

Is it possible to establish a dual PhD with a partner institution that does not award a PhD ?

No. In order to enable the establishment of an international dual PhD degree, the co-contracting institutions must be authorised to award a PhD degree. Otherwise, the PhD student may opt for co-supervision which does not require double administrative registration. Read more on co-supervision. 

Who could be my PhD supervisor ?

You need to choose directors who are specialists in the field in which you wish to carry out your PhD thesis:

  • One PhD supervisor at Université Paris Cité, chosen from among the teachers and researchers of your doctoral school.
  • One PhD supervisor in the partner institution

Please note that both thesis supervisors must be authorised to supervise research in their respective institutions.


Where will I have to pay the registration fee ?

Regulations are very clear for international dual PhD degrees. It is generally agreed that registration fees should only be paid to one of the partner institutions (Ref: Article 21 paragraph 4 of Title III of the decree of 26 May 2016). The dual PhD degree agreement must indicate where the doctoral student will pay these fees for each year and which institution will exempt him/her from paying them. For the first year, you must then wait for the agreement to be signed or ask the Doctoral School College to register you and ask for a refund afterwards if the agreement indicates so. If you have to pay your registration fee in Université Paris Cité for the first year (doctoral contract, funding condition) and/or if you asked in your form to pay the registration fee here for the first year then you must pay the fee in Université Paris Cité even if the agreement is not signed yet.

If your dual PhD degree agreement stipulates an exemption from tuition fees this year at Université Paris Cité, you must present your certificate of tuition or proof of enrollment from the partner university and a copy of your dual PhD degree agreement to the enrollment service of the School of Doctoral Studies (CED).

When preparing the request form, you have to ask to pay the registration fees proportionally to the global duration of your stay(s) in each institution. Ex: If you spend 12 months at the partner institution and 24 months at Université Paris Cité, you have to pay two years at Université Paris Cité and one year at the partner institution.

If you have received other indications from the partner institution at this point, just follow their guidelines, the SRI and the CED will check afterwards if it is possible.

What are the process steps ?

Step 1: Find your thesis supervisors and start discussions about your research aspirations and PhD topic as soon as possible. Remember to check the application deadlines for the international dual PhD degree programme at Université Paris Cité as well as at the partner institutions.

Step 2: In the interim, make good use of your time. Enroll in the first year of your doctoral studies at Université Paris Cité.

Step 3: Once registered, upload the Cotutelle agreement request form. It must be completed and signed by your PhD supervisor and the Doctoral School at Université Paris Cité. Thereafter, the doctoral school will send it to the IRO (International Relations Office) for handling. (cooperation.iro@u-paris.fr). Please pay special attention to completing all the sections of the form, otherwise may need need to contact you requesting additional information.

Step 4: After evaluating your application, the IRO’s International Cooperation team will contact the partner institutions involved to negotiate, validate and sign the international dual PhD degree agreement.

This agreement is a key document. It will define the terms and conditions for all your dual PhD degree (registration, tuition fees, PhD duration, subject, supervision, language, planification and duration of travel periods abroad, information relating to the organisation of the defence: language, place, composition of the jury ….

Please note several months of negotiation will be necessary. As soon as the dual PhD degree agreement is signed, you will officially be admitted in a dual Phd. If you need to register before the agreement is finalised, you can decide to pay the registration fee at Université Paris Cité in the meantime. If the fee must actually be paid to the partner, a refund procedure will be proposed to you by the doctoral schools college once the agreement is signed.

In order to enroll in the first year of the PhD, I had to pay fees at both institutions. Can I be refunded for half of the advanced fees ?

The refund of registration fees already paid is examined after the school of doctoral studies has reviewed the PhD student’s application.

My arrival at Université Paris Cité

My international dual PhD degree agreement is now signed by all parties. When can I come to Université Paris Cité ?

All you need is to obtain your visa. Please contact the French consulate/embassy of your country of residence as soon as possible. In order to begin your research, please do not underestimate the time needed to obtain your visa.

The doctoral school college will contact you to rectify you registration if necessary

During my PhD

I was not able to come to Université Paris Cité or I had to change my plans, will I have to reallocate the periods of stay negotiated in the agreement ?

Yes. If your international dual PhD degree agreement has already been signed, the schedule of stays will have to be modified by an amendment in order to establish your new dates of stay. As a reminder, all students must stay at Université Paris Cité for the equivalent of 12 months.

My international dual PhD degree agreement was signed before the creation of Université Paris Cité. Will the merger impact my agreement ? Will I have to sign a new one ?

The universities Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot merged and integrated the IPGP on 1st January 2020 to form Université Paris Cité. This newly formed university has since taken over the rights and obligations that were binding on its founding institutions, particularly, with regard to agreements. Thus, the international dual PhD degree agreements signed by Paris Descartes or Paris Diderot before the creation of Université Paris Cité remain in effect. At the end of your PhD you will receive a diploma from Université Paris Cité, even if your PhD began before the merger.


Is it possible to change one of my PhD supervisors or the subject of my PhD ?

Changing your PhD supervisors: You have the possibility to change your thesis supervisor, if this change is validated by your doctoral school.

Subject of your PhD thesis: It can be modified with the approval of your thesis supervisor and if necessary, of the Monitoring Committee.

To do so, you have to:

  • Inform your doctoral school at Université Paris Cité and/or the partner institutions.
  • Request the form to amend dual PhD degree agreements, fill it out and send it to the International Relations Office.
Is it possible to extend an international dual PhD ? If so, how ?

Yes. To do so, you will need to obtain the approval from your doctoral school and the university. As soon as you receive it:

  • Make a request for special permission to your doctoral school manager.
  • Meanwhile, submit a request for extension and add it to your special permission request.

At Université Paris Cité : If both your requests are approved, you will need to sign an amendment to your dual PhD Degree agreement. You have until December to do so. The place where you should pay the registration fees will be specified in the amendment.

At the partner institution(s): Please check whether any further steps are necessary.


I completed my first year, how do I re-enroll the following year ?

To re-enroll at Université Paris Cité, please contact the administrative manager of your Doctoral School. Please ensure to re-enroll in your international dual PhD degree programme’s partner institutions. All the payment terms and conditions as well as tuition fees exemption are outlined and available in the agreement.


Can an international dual PhD student do a gap year ? If so, what are the conditions ?

It is entirely possible for an international dual PhD degree student to take a gap year or a semester off. However, there are some conditions that are required to obtain an agreement:

  • The request must be submitted on an exceptional basis. It must be justified and argued with the Doctoral school.
  • A gap semester or year should only be made once in the course of the PhD. In other words, it is not possible to split it up into several periods.
  • The request cannot be submitted before the 2nd year of the PhD thesis.
  • It cannot be granted without the validation of the president of the institution, as well as the consent of both your PhD supervisors and the director of the doctoral school (and School of Doctoral studies’ commission).
  • A modification request must be submitted to the doctoral school to set up an addendum to your agreement.

The gap period is not recognized in the duration of the thesis. During this period, the PhD student must therefore temporarily suspend his/her training and research. However, the student will have to pay the registration fees unless the gap period covers the entire academic year.

In exchange, Université Paris Cité agrees to guarantee the registration of the PhD student on his/her return from the gap period. However, it is the responsibility of the PhD student to take all the necessary steps to re-enroll as soon as he/she returns.

Please note: it is recommended that the PhD student be vigilant and check with the partner institution whether it is possible to interrupt his/her thesis temporarily.

In fact, a student’s request for a break in international dual PhD degree programme implies the validation of both partner institutions, which are not subject to the same legislation.

Defense and Graduation

When do I have to request my PhD defense ?

The request for PhD defense must be made no later than 3 months before the deadline which is specified in the dual PhD degree agreement or amendment. Contact the manager of your doctoral school as soon as possible.

My defense date was set late. I'll have to defend after the end of the academic year. Will I have to pay the registration fee again for this new year ?

It all depends on your new defense date. If the new date is between September 30rd and December 15th, then it will not be necessary to re-enroll and you will not be required to pay the tuition fees for a new year at Université Paris Cité. However, any expired agreement requires an amendment to be drawn up. In this case only, a procedure with the CSI is ineffective.

For this condition to be applicable you must also :

  • No later than September 20: Inform your Doctoral School of your new defense date. This must of course be between September 30rd and December 20th.
  • No later than one month before the date of the defense: Submit the complete defense file to your Doctoral School. The application is processed by the College of Doctoral Schools to which your Doctoral School is attached, then validated by the Presidency of Université Paris Cité.

In case of violation of any of these conditions, re-enrollment and payment of tuition fees will be MANDATORY. A special permission request must then be made to the Doctoral School. For a joint PhD, you also need to add a request for extension of your agreement.

Where will I get my degree ?

Following validation of the PhD programme and the defense, two or more PhD degrees will be awarded to the student. One at Université Paris Cité and one or more at the partner institution(s). It will mention the student’s speciality and the total number of credits obtained (180 Ects) as well as the mention “the thesis was carried out under joint supervision” and the name of the partner university.


Useful information and contacts

What types of financial aid are available ?

At Université Paris Cité, there are 2 types of financial aid:

  • The IRO mobility grants for PhD students. Please note they are limited.
  • Financial aid from the School of Doctoral Studies: This funding is also limited (not many) and is granted by mutual agreement between the CED and your home Doctoral School.

However, external institutions do offer scholarships. To obtain them, the PhD student will have to meet certain selection criteria:

Please contact the above organizations for more information. Please note :

The costs of the jury’s visits will be covered in accordance with the rules and financial possibilities of each Doctoral School and laboratories.

Who are my contacts ?

At Université Paris Cité you have 3 dedicated contacts.


Elaboration, follow-up and revision:

The International Relations Office, international cooperation team is available to answer your queries.

Please send an email to : cooperation.iro@u-paris.fr

Administrative procedures and follow-up

The process steps related to application, enrollment, re-enrollment and defense should be taken with the manager of your doctoral school and the School of Doctoral Studies (registration or defense).

Pedagogical and research matters

Before and during your dual PhD degree: PhD subject, supervision of your work… must be done in accordance with your PhD directors. It is up to you to contact them directly and, if they do not know each other, arrange contact between them so that they can discuss their common interests and together define a research topic for your dual PhD degree

Who can help me with my visa application?

The doctoral school college can help you with the visa application process and establish a hosting agreement for the duration of your stay in France if necessary. The authorities in the Embassy are very likely to ask you for a copy of your dual PhD agreement.


What is your advice to find housing ?

The steps relating to the search for accommodation in Paris must be carried out as a priority and on an individual basis by the PhD student. However, the SRI will, as far as possible, be able to direct/assist the PhD student in his/her research by offering (if available) a room at the CIUP.

Please note that the CIUP (Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris) quota is very limited. Moreover, obtaining a comfort room is only possible at the beginning of the academic year, therefore please take prompt action

Other options such as the Stud’appart platform is also an option that should not be neglected.




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