International dual PhD programme

The international dual PhD degree programme promotes doctoral mobility and scientific cooperation. It is an unique opportunity for a PhD student enrolling in the first year of a thesis, to carry out his/her research work under the responsibility of at least 2 PhD supervisors (Université Paris Cité – partner university) for the entire duration of the PhD.

PhD supervisors must hold an accreditation to supervise research or equivalent. The PhD student is required to spend his/her study period alternately in at least both institutions.

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What is an international dual PhD degree ?

It is a PhD degree, carried out both in a French institution of higher education and one or several foreign higher education institutions. The PhD student is therefore directed by a thesis supervisor in each institution. The student utimately obtains at least two degrees: one from the French higher education institution and the other from one or several international partner institutions.

Who can apply for it?

The future PhD supervisor of Université Paris Cité must be at the initiative of the dual PhD degree programme request or application.

The International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) is responsable for the instruction of the international dual PhD degree agreement. They establish the terms and conditions of the thesis: duration, lengths of stay in each institution, the balanced payment of the registration fees, title of degrees, number of the defense jury’ members, place and deadline of the defense.

The College of the Doctoral School is in charge of the issues related to the thesis: pedagogical and administrative enrollment, defense…Etc

Note: the international co-supervision for a dual PhD degree agreement can be set up only during the first year of the PhD program in both institutions. Any request/application from a PhD student in a superior year will be refused by Université Paris Cité.

Application period

From May 1st 2022 until the 19th of November 2022

Three key actions

The international dual PhD degree has 3 key actions. All the undertakings listed thereafter are intended for national and international PhD students. They are necessary to set up the international dual PhD degree and to obtain the double degree from Université Paris Cité.

Setting up an international dual PhD degree
  • Find at least two PhD supervisors, one at Université Paris Cité, the other in one or several foreign universities.

Attention: only researchers with an accreditation to supervise research or equivalent can supervise a thesis in France. To find out more, contact the doctoral school of reference for your field of study research.

See the list of Université Paris Cité Doctoral Schools

  • Get acquainted with the thesis director/supervisor of Université Paris Cité about the conditions and procedure for setting up an international dual PhD degree
  • Learn how PhD studies work in France and at Université Paris Cité, as well as the rules and regulations regarding international dual PhD degree. Although each joint PhD supervision is regulated by an agreement, it is imperative to respect the rules of PhD studies in France.
  • The negotiation of the agreement with the partner university is carried out by the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) in accordance with the PhD supervisors. All the concerned parties validate and sign the agreement (PhD student and supervisors, president or rector of the universities, etc.).
  • Once all the signatures have been gathered, the cotutelle is valid, provided that the administrative registration in the two or several universities is completed each year.
  • PhD students enrolled at Université Paris Cité in September must be aware of registration timeline and procedures at the partner university of their international dual PhD degree

At Université Paris Cité, international PhD students must register as French doctoral students in accordance with the calendar set by the College of the Doctoral School – CED, (the content on this page is in French).


During the international dual PhD degree

The Doctoral School and the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) must be informed of any administrative and/or pedagogical changes affecting your international dual PhD degree.

  • Pedagogical changes: change of thesis supervisor, thesis subject, date of defense,….
  • Request for interruption of the PhD for a maximum of one year, see with the College of the Doctoral School for the extension and modification of your international dual PhD degree (Note: a PhD cannot be extended for more than 6 years).
  • The withdrawal from the international dual PhD degree.
Defending your PhD thesis

The CED and the Doctoral School (ED) are the dedicated contacts of PhD students for all questions whether they are of pedagogical or administrative nature.

Please note that organizing the PhD thesis defense takes time. Finding a jury and a defense date that suits everyone takes at least 3 months. If the date of the defense exceeds the validity of the dual PhD agreement or if it exceeds the date of the amendment for extension:

  • Either a new amendment is drawn up following an extension request made by the student. Students are then required to enroll for the following year.
  • Or the international dual PhD degree agreement is null and void, i.e. it expires given the agreement is no longer legally valid. The PhD will then lose the Cotutelle status. Students will be required to pay the tuition fees in Université Paris Cité for all the previous  years, if in the case it has not already been done.

Three tips to succeed:

  • Obtain information about the procedure for your PhD defense at Université Paris Cité (even if the defense takes place abroad). Inform the Doctoral School and the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) of the desired date of defense.
  • To constitute the thesis jury, send a jury proposal to the Doctoral School (even if the defense takes place abroad).
  • After the defense, the minutes of the exam board meeting, the defense report and the thesis must imperatively be sent to the College of the Doctoral School in order to be awarded of a PhD degree from Université Paris Cité.


Administrative Procedures

Rules and regulations

The decree of May 25, 2016 sets the national framework for training and the procedures leading to the issuance of the national doctoral diploma and more importantly the dual PhD supervision (under Article III)

  • It sets out the elements that must be included in the international dual PhD degree agreement, such as “The terms and conditions for the constitution of the jury and the material, pedagogical and linguistic support of the students. It must include the following information:
  • “The title of the thesis, the name of the thesis supervisor and the student, the name of the contracting higher education institutions and the nature of the prepared degree.
  • The language in which the thesis is written; when this language is not French, the writing is completed by a substantial summary in French.
  • The procedures for the recognition of training activities carried out in one or other of the higher education institutions.
  • The arrangements for the payment of tuition fees in accordance with the pedagogical provisions adopted, without the doctoral student being obliged to pay fees in several institutions simultaneously.
  • The health insurance coverage terms as well as the conditions of accommodation and financial aid that the doctoral student can benefit to ensure his/her mobility.”

The decree of May 25, 2016 also states that:

  • “The thesis gives rise to a unique defense. (…)”.
  • “The terms and conditions for the protection of the subject, the filing of reports and the reproduction of theses, as well as those for the management of the research results common to the laboratories involved, their publication and their exploitation, are decided in accordance with the specific legislation of each country involved in the preparation of the thesis and specified by the convention.”
The 6 step process

Graduate and PhD students

Last year master students or first year doctoral students must contact their future PhD supervisor to set up the cotutelle.

Teacher, professor and future PhD supervisor

PhD supervisors are requested to contact the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) for the instruction of the international dual PhD degree agreement. The PhD supervisors are the dedicated contacts of the IRO for all questions related to the international dual PhD degree program.

Step 1 : Before applying

Please refer to the vade-mecum explaining the procedure for setting up an international dual PhD degree

  • Fill out the application form and get it approved by the directors of the laboratory and of the Doctoral School (ED)
  • A letter of consent from the PhD supervisor of the partner institution(s) should be joined to the PhD student application
  • Send these signed documents to the SRI “cooperation team”, along with any important document (employment contract, confidentiality agreement, scholarship certificate, etc.)

PhD supervisors are required to provide any relevant information necessary for the elaboration of the joint-supervision agreement as soon as possible in order to comply with the deadlines.

Please note that the request for the implementation of an international dual PhD degree is made during the first year of the PhD in both institutions.

Step 2 : Application

The Dual PhD supervision application is examined by the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO). At this point, additional information may be requested from the PhD supervisors.

Step 3 : Negotiation

If the evaluation of the application has been validated, the International Relations and Strategy Office (IRO) will contact the partner institution in order to start the negotiations of the co-supervision agreement based on the information provided by the future PhD supervisors.

Step 4 : The signature of the agreement

Once a common ground has been reached on the various provisions of the agreement, all parties involved will have to sign the agreement (PhD student, PhD supervisors, president/rector of the partner institutions, etc.).

Step 5 : Validity of the agreement

Once all the signatures have been collected, the agreement is considered valid.

It remains effective provided that the PhD student enrolls administratively in both contracting universities through the duration of the PhD programme.

Step 6 : Presentation of the Agreements 

A list of the ongoing Dual PhD degree agreements will be presented to the Research Commission.

Note: The co-supervision agreement is recorded on the date of the last signature. It is valid for a period of three years.

Financial Support
  • International mobility grant from the French Government for an international PhD co-supervision. Scholarships from the French Government are awarded by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs for internships or language stays in France. A majority of them are awarded by the Cooperation and Cultural Action Departments of French embassies and General Consulates abroad. Read more

Eiffel scholarship. This scholarship programme offered by Campus France is designed to support the international recruitment efforts of French higher education institutions. It applies to three priority areas of study:

    • Sciences
    • Economics and management
    • Law and Political Science

More information visit Campus France

  • Specific scholarship programmes for a PhD joint-supervision. Such as the French-Mexican Doctoral Program/CONACYT, the program of the French-German University (UFA) or the programme of the French-Italian University (UFI)…
International Relations and Strategy Office
Grand Moulins Campus
5 rue Thomas Mann
75013 Paris
85 boulevard Saint Germain Paris 6e

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