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 June 15th 2024 to December 15th, 2024

Procedures & Forms

All the steps listed below are destined to national and international students. They are required to set up a dual PhD and to obtain the doctor diploma from Université Paris Cité.

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.”
Setting up an International Dual PhD Degree

You will find below the steps to implement a dual PhD, which will lead to the signature of an agreement between the two institutions that will set in motion the administrative and pedagogical formalties to award the double diploma. This agreement will also enable to legally protect  the research of the PhD candidates in regards to intellectual property, confidentiality and publications.

1.Preparation of the dual PhD request

First the student needs to find two thesis supervisors, one in Université Paris Cité, the other in one foreign university or more.

Caution: Only the researchers with an authorization to direct researches (HDR) can supervise a thesis in France. If you need, you can contact the doctoral school of your study/research field. It is not possible to have more than one thesis supervisor in each institution. If you already have a cosupervision, you will need to end it in order to establish a dual PhD.

  • Refer to the list of doctoral school of the university
  • Read the conditions carefully with the thesis supervisor from Université Paris Cité and follow the steps to set up the dual PhD:
  • Fill out the dual Phd request form and have it signed by the thesis supervisor and the director of the doctoral school, in this order. The doctoral school will probably ask you to complete its admission procedure before signing 

Please note: The dual PhD agreement can only be signed during the first year of PhD in both institutions. It is not possible to make a request if the student has already completed his or her first year in one of the two institutions.

The doctorants enrolled in Université Paris Cité in September must be aware of the academic calendar and the enrollment process at the partner institution.

  • In Université Paris Cité, non-French student must enroll by the same way the French students do, following the calendar set by the CED (Doctoral School College).
  • In case of registration fee waiver for the first year the student must complete his.her enrollment file on eCandidat and the enrollment team will get back to him.her once the agreement is signed.
  • If the students must pay his.her registration fee in UP Cité for the first year, he will be able to finalize the enrollment process with the CED before the signature of the agreement if he complete and submit the dual PhD request form after. If he.she doesn’t the student will be considered as a regular student in UP Cité.

2. Examination of the request

The signed request form must be sent to the Strategy and International Relations Office (SRI/IRO) by the doctoral school. The dual PhD request will then be examined by the IRO to check its coherence and conformity regarding to the regulations and norms of the university. Additional informations can be asked to the thesis supervisors. Once the examination is completed, the IRO will contact the partner institution to start the negotiation related to the provisions of the dual PhD agreement.

3. Negotiation

The IRO will negotiate the dual PhD agreement with the partner.s institution.s in light of the informations communicated by the future thesis supervisors.


Once the parties agree on the terms, all the concerned persons sign the agreement. The institutions will sign one after the other respecting this order: Thesis supervisor à Director of the doctoral school à Institution head (President/Rector) or his or her delegate. The PhD candidate can sign at any time during the process. The IRO will be responsable for collecting the three signatures from UParis Cité and from the candidate as needed.

5.Validity of the agreement

Once all the signatures are collected, the dual PhD is set. It remains effective if the student registers in the two partner institutions for the entire period of his or her thesis. The IRO will send the signed version to all the concerned persons on UParis Cité’s side. The agreement will remain in effect until the defense deadline, which is generally the first three years of the PhD.

Note: If the student was not able to defend his or her thesis before the deadline in the agreement, he or she must make a request for an extension. For any change to the initial agreement (thesis supervisor, periods of stay, etc…), a modification request must be made (cf. requesting an addendum).

Requesting an Addendum (modification and/or extension of the agreement)

For any change or extension of the initial agreement, a modification request form must be given to the doctoral school, who will sign and transmit it to the International Relations Office. In the case of an extension request, the form must be completed at the same time as the usual derogation request, and must be transmitted to the doctoral school by all the PhD students at UParis Cité after the third year.

Once the IRO receives the request, we will follow the same steps as the setting up of the initial agreement, enabling to establish an addendum to it.

For the enrollment, while waiting for the addendum to be signed, the student can pay his or her fee in the institution indicated in the request form. However, in UParis Cité’s side, in case of a fee waiver for the concerned year, we will have to wait until the addendum is signed before the registration team can issue the registration.

In case of an extension, the addendum will be valid until the new defense deadline, that generally being one additional year.

Note: The addendum can only be signed for one year and if the student doesn’t defend his or her thesis before the new deadline, another addendum must be requested during the next year following the same procedures. As a reminder: In France, six years is the maximum duration of the PhD.

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.


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

Programmes offered by Campus France

Existing international funding is listed in the Campus Bourses directory.

Binational institutions

These institutions aim to promote the academic collaboration between two countries. They are able to fund theses in dual PhD between the concerned countries:

Withdrawal from the International Dual PhD or From the PhD

In case of withdrawal, the dual PhD the withdrawal form must be completed and signed. It will enable us to define clearly whether the withdrawal only concerns the dual PhD procedure or whether it concerns the entire thesis. If it only concerns the dual PhD procedure then the student will be allowed to complete his or her thesis in one of the two institutions, according to his or her choice.

The IRO will determine on a case-by-case basis the measures that must be taken. It is possible that no further steps are required.

International Relations Head Office
Grand Moulins Campus
5 rue Thomas Mann
75013 Paris
85 boulevard Saint Germain Paris 6e

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