Cotutelle & Joint PhD Programs

Cotutelle & Joint PhD Programs

Macquarie University has been participating in cotutelle degree programs since 1999. These became a formal component of our research strategy in 2007. The aim is to establish deep, continuing relationships with international research universities through the joint research candidate supervision. By the end of 2014, we will have had over 210 cotutelle and joint PhD candidates with more than 110 universities from over 30 countries, led by China, Germany and France.

As such, the cotutelle and joint PhD schemes are open to both international and domestic PhD candidates. Scholarship and travel funds are provided to eligible candidates. These are in addition to the existing MQRES and PGRS fundings.

Each student entering a cotutelle or joint PhD program must have a legally binding agreement between Macquarie University and the partner institution. The Higher Degree Research Office at Macquarie University is responsible for facilitating these agreements.

For more information on joint supervision programs, please download the Cotutelle and Joint PhD Fact Sheet.

Cotutelle versus joint PhD model

 Head to head

Cotutelle Joint PhD
Joint enrolment at MQ and an overseas university Joint enrolment at MQ and an overseas university
Priority institutional partners – but open to all universities subject to approval Institutional partners require Academic Senate Approval
Institutional memorandum of understanding (MOU) not compulsory Institutional MOU/agreement required
Separate progress assessments One university is designated as the lead
Single thesis submitted to both universities Single thesis submitted to the lead university
Separate examination Joint examination
Two testamurs One joint testamur
Two graduation ceremonies One graduation ceremony

Cotutelle model

The student is enrolled at both universities and fees are payable at the home university. Macquarie University always charges fees for the full duration of candidature but fee scholarships are awarded to eligible applicants. The dates of initial enrolment may be different at the two universities. The entrance requirements for each university are fully respected.

Both universities will appoint at least one of its staff as the supervisor and these supervisors jointly guide the student's research program. The supervisors are encouraged to maintain contact with each other.

For each such student there will be an agreement, signed by suitable authorities at each university, specifying inter alia the study program, supervision, funding and examination processes. This must be completed before the student enrols in the partner university.

The student spends at least one third of their time at each university which may be in one or more periods of time, subject to funding and the needs of the research program.

Each university makes its own decisions about the admission, award of scholarship and progress approval of the student, including any coursework. There is no removal of any authority from either party.

At the conclusion of the research, a single thesis is prepared that is submitted for independent examination by both universities. Each university's examination process is fully complied with including an oral viva voce examination. Each university makes its own decision about the award of the degree, including a grade or mark if that is the practice.

If successful the student is able then to graduate and attend a graduation ceremony at both universities. The degree titles may be different according to the local regulations. The testamurs (degree certificates) carry a comment line to the effect that the degree is awarded under a cotutelle agreement.

Cotutelle Sample Testamur

Joint degree model

For any joint degree there will be an umbrella framework agreement that establishes the program. This will be signed by suitable authorities in both universities. The Senate of Macquarie University needs to consent to each such agreement.

The student is enrolled at both universities and fees are payable at both universities but some overseas universities only charge fees for the period of residence. Macquarie University always charges fees for the full duration of candidature but fee scholarships are awarded to eligible applicants.

There is a joint decision to admit the student to the joint degree program. The dates of initial enrolment may be different at the two universities but the duration of joint enrolment will be agreed. The entrance requirements for each university are fully respected

Both universities will appoint at least one of its staff as the supervisor and these supervisors jointly guide the student's research program. The supervisors are encouraged to maintain contact with each other.

For each such student there will be an agreement, signed by suitable authorities at each university, specifying inter alia the study program, supervision, funding and examination processes. This must be completed before the student enrols in the joint program. It is understood that the student may be transferred from an initial single enrolment at one university into the joint program.

The student spends at least one third of their time at each university which may be in one or more periods of time, subject to funding and the needs of the research program.

Each university makes its own decisions about the admission and award of scholarship. Progress assessment of the student, including any coursework is jointly agreed. The joint decisions are made within the specifications of the student agreement AND the umbrella framework agreement.

At the conclusion of the research, a single thesis is prepared that is submitted for a single examination process agreed by both universities. This may be either one of the university's own process or a merged process containing elements of both.

If successful the student is able then to graduate and attend a graduation ceremony at only one university. The degree title is as specified in the agreements. The testamur (degree certificate) carries the crests of both universities and is signed by authorities in both universities.

Joint PhD Sample Testamur

Key differences between cotutelle and joint PhD

  • Joint PhD has one testamur (certificate) jointly awarded
  • Cotutelle PhD has two testamurs, annotated to reflect cotutelle enrolment
  • Joint PhD requires umbrella framework agreement as well as student agreement
  • Joint PhD has fees payable depending on residence in some cases
  • Joint PhD has single examination process (designed together), cotutelle is examined twice
  • Joint PhD student has single graduation ceremony, cotutelle has two available

Travel allowance claim

You may be eligible for a Travel Allowance if you hold a Cotutelle or Joint PhD supervision agreement with Macquarie University and have a travel allowance specified in your agreement. Unless otherwise specified, a travel allowance will usually cover one return economy airfare. Travel must be undertaken in accordance with the Macquarie University Travel Policy

In order to book your flights, you should submit the Cotutelle/Joint Degree Airfare Request Form, included in your offer package, to the HDRO. We will use the details on your form to arrange to book flights on your behalf, and will then contact you with your itinerary and any additional flight information before you depart. This applies to both inbound and outbound travellers.

The Cotutelle/Joint Degree Airfare Request Form can be downloaded from our Forms page

Applicants who were not issued with a Cotutelle/Joint Degree Airfare request form should contact the Scholarships Team at hdrschol@mq.edu.au  for further information.

Accommodation and airport transfer for international HDR candidates: Information about University accommodation options and free airport transfers for International students, is available through Macquarie International.

Benefits of cotutelle/joint PhD programs

Institutional benefits

  • Deepens and strengthens research collaborations and networks at an individual and institutional level.
  • Fosters a higher level of cooperation between researchers in their respective fields through co-supervision.
  • Provides access to new funding schemes and access to new international enrolments.
  • Provides an opportunity to increase joint publications, citation rate and rankings.
  • The candidate benefits (listed below) make the institution more attractive to potential candidates.

Candidate benefits

  • Exposes candidates to different academic environments through joint enrolment and supervision.
  • It enhances a candidate's training experiences and gives them access to the latest research equipment and technologies at two institutions.
  • Provides candidates with international networking opportunities that will expand their future employment opportunities – whether through exposure to new academic institutions or new industries.
  • Candidates are able to write one thesis that is examined at two universities.
  • Candidates may have access to new funding schemes.
  • Personal benefits of experiencing a new culture and environment. This obviously provides new personal experiences for the candidate but has the added effect of allowing them to further develop their soft skills.

Cotutelle partner universities

Cotutelle partner universities are assessed according to their research credentials and collaborative relationship with Macquarie University. They are assigned to one of the three 'priorities':

Priority 1: Priority cotutelle and joint PhD partners
Priority 2: Preferred cotutelle and joint PhD partners
Priority 3: Prospective cotutelle and joint PhD partners

Priority 1: Priority cotutelle and joint PhD partners

Priority 1 universities are research-intensive universities with strong research collaboration relationships (or potential) with Macquarie University. For prospective joint PhD applicants from these universities, a cotutelle or joint PhD MQRES scholarship can be approved for award at any time for qualified applicants.

Belgium

Brazil

Canada

China

Denmark

France

Iceland

Italy

Japan

Netherlands

Norway

Portugal

Spain

South Africa

Sweden

United Kingdom

Priority 2: Preferred cotutelle and joint PhD partners

Priority 2 universities are other preferred international partner institutions which have existing or are in the process of establishing a formal research collaboration relationship with Macquarie. Prospective joint PhD applicants from these universities are assessed competitively by Higher Degree Research Committee (HDRC).

Argentina

Austria

Brazil

Canada

Chile

China

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Iran

Ireland

Italy

Japan

Mexico

New Zealand

Poland

Russia

South Africa

Sweden

Switzerland

Thailand

Ukraine

United Kingdom

And all top 300 universities by Shanghai Jiaotong Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Priority 3: Prospective cotutelle and joint PhD partners

For prospective joint PhD applicants from universities not listed in the above tables, a special case needs to be made for by the principal supervisor and Associate Dean - HDR of the relevant Faculty. The case will be reviewed and assessed by the DVC (Research), via the Higher Degree Research Office based on the merit of the proposed research relationship.

Universities approved by Academic Senate for Joint PhD degrees

Canada

  • University of Toronto

Denmark

  • Aarhus University

Finland

  • University of Helsinki

France

  • École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
  • Université de Lyon
    (including St Étienne)
  • Université de Toulouse
  • Université Montpellier
  • Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie
  • Université de Strasbourg

Germany

  • Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Heidelberg University
  • Hamburg University(*)
  • Leipzig University
  • Goettingen University
  • LMU Munich University
  • Ruhr-University Bochum
  • University of Potsdam
  • University of Potsdam (*^)

Italy

  • University of Trento(*^)

Netherlands

  • University of Amsterdam
  • Free University of Amsterdam
  • University of Utrecht
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • University of Groningen(*^)
  • Radboud University Nijmegen

Norway

  • University of Bergen

Spain

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Sweden

  • Lund University

United Kingdom

  • Cardiff University
  • Lancaster University
  • Heriot-Watt University(*)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Bristol
  • University Dundee(*)
  • University of Durham
  • University of Edinburgh(*)
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow(*)
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Newcastle(*^)
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of St Andrews(*)
  • University of Strathclyde(*)
  • University of York

Joint PhD MOUs only implemented in selected cases as indicated by an asterisk (*). The asterisk with circumflex (*^) indicates a member of the consortium agreement for the Joint International Doctorate in Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain (IDEALAB).

Supervisor FAQs

1. What is the difference between a cotutelle and joint PhD?

Cotutelle

This is a simultaneous enrolment in a PhD at Macquarie and one of its partner universities that will enable candidates to submit one thesis for examination at both universities. If satisfactory the candidate will be awarded two testamurs - one from each institution. About half of the candidate's time will be spent at each university under the supervision of researchers.

Cotutelle partner universities are assessed according to their research credentials and collaborative relationship with Macquarie University. They are assigned priorities (see Q2).

Joint PhD degree

This PhD is a joint research degree program with selected international research-intensive universities. Candidates admitted to this program will undertake research in both universities. Subject to satisfactory completion of all agreed award requirements and examination at just one institution, the two universities will jointly award a degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the candidate, who will receive a single testamur bearing the crests of both universities.

Joint PhD degree programs are done only in conjunction with universities approved by the Academic Senate. For a list of these universities please see above.

2. What does Priority 1, 2 & 3 mean?

Cotutelle partner universities are assessed according to their research credentials and collaborative relationship with Macquarie University. They are assigned to one of the three 'priorities'. Please see above for a full list.

3. What is the typical duration of a cotutelle/joint PhD?

Between 2 - 3 years with at least 1 year spent at each university. The duration will depend on the individual candidate's situation and previous collaboration with the supervisors.

4. How do I start the process of hosting a cotutelle/joint PhD candidate?

Please complete the Cotutelle/Joint PhD Proposal Form. You will probably need to liaise with the supervisor at the Partner University and the candidate to answer some of these questions. Once completed please discuss the proposal with your Associate Dean (HDR) and Faculty HDR Manager. The ADHDR will need to endorse the proposal and it then needs to be sent to the HDRO for consideration by the Director.

We would also encourage you to come in and talk to us if this is your first time hosting a Cotutelle/Joint PhD candidate – or even if you'd just like to touch base with us. It is often easier for us to answer any questions you may have on the spot. Please email hdrcotutelle@mq.edu.au if you'd like to arrange a time to talk.

5. How long does the process take?

Each candidate has a Cotutelle/Joint PhD agreement set up for them. As this agreement must address each individual candidate research needs, the process can take anywhere between 3-7 months from start to finish.

6. Why does the process take this amount of time?

Agreements need to be drafted and then checked and modified by process managers and legal professionals at both universities. This is to ensure that the terms are acceptable to both Universities policies and both countries legal requirements. This attention to detail at the agreement drafting stage is in the best interests to all involved, in particular for the candidates to mitigate risks of enrolment, scholarship, examination, research integrity and IP issues during their research.

7. If a candidate is already enrolled in a PhD program, can they still apply for a cotutelle with Macquarie?

This is usually possible in the first year of enrolment, however you and your candidate should allow time to complete negotiation processes for a signed agreement within that year. After the first year the candidate has probably gone too far down their research path to be able to involve a new supervisor fully in their research plan.

8. What funding does Macquarie have available to candidates? Is it guaranteed?

When candidates apply to Macquarie for a Cotutelle/Joint PhD they are considered for a Cotutelle/Joint PhD scholarship. This scholarship generally covers their tuition fees at MQ for the duration of the joint enrolment (up to 3 years), a return economy airfare from MQ to the home/host institution and a stipend while on MQ campus.

Please note that the scholarship is not guaranteed. Candidates must meet the scholarship criteria and are assessed by both the appropriate faculty and HDRO.

Candidate FAQs

How much time must I spend at each university?

Usually there is a minimum of one year at each university although this can consist of two or more separate visits.

Who do I talk to first about a cotutelle?

Your supervisor. If s/he does not know about cotutelles then set up a meeting with the HDR Co-ordinator (International Research Training Partnerships).

Can I add on a cotutelle if I am currently enrolled?

This is usually possible in the first year of enrolment, however you should allow time to complete application processes within that year. After the first year you have probably gone too far down your research path to be able to involve a new supervisor fully in your research plan. 

What if the other university wants me to do some coursework?

A limited amount of coursework (say, one semester) can be considered reasonable, but Macquarie expects its PhD students to do research, not coursework.

I have a Macquarie scholarship, will this continue at an overseas university?

Generally only the fees scholarship will continue. As a cotutelle is a partnership, Macquarie will expect the overseas university to provide you with a stipend for the period there. Your supervisor should contact GPO if this is a problem.

I really want to go to the USA, is this possible as a cotutelle?

Very difficult. Most American PhD programs have 2 years of coursework and very high fees.  Macquarie University will not pay those fees under any circumstance. If you are currently receiving an MQ scholarship, you will not be able to undertake the American coursework. In practice it may be much easier to go to a campus as a visitor, if your supervisor has good contacts.

Do I need to speak another language to do a cotutelle?

Clearly it will help but in many areas (especially business and science) research groups conduct discussions in English, especially in Europe. Day to day living in France, Germany, Spain, Italy requires the local language, but Scandinavia and the Netherlands have very high levels of English in the whole population. Generally a thesis can be written in English anywhere in the world. An abstract is often required in the local language. Oral examinations (defence / jury / disputation) will often be in English.

Got another question? Send it by email to the High Degree Research Office.

Useful links

If you are an interested potential candidate or supervisor, contact Catherine Murphy, HDR Co-ordinator (International Research Training Partnerships) at the Higher Degree Research Office.

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