What is it?

French institution of higher education accredited to award doctoral degrees may conclude agreements with one or more foreign institutions of higher education enjoying the same prerogatives in their countries, in order to enable international joint supervision of thesis. International joint supervision is intended as a means of buttressing the international dimension of doctoral schools fostering mobility for doctoral candidates in different scientific and cultural arenas and scientific cooperation between research teams in France and abroad.

The international joint thesis supervision agreement may be a framework agreement along with, for each thesis, an enforcement agreement, or an agreement concluded specifically for each thesis.         

  • The doctoral project is the subject of an international research cooperation,
  • Doctoral candidates are enrolled each year in two doctoral programmes in two higher education institutions: one in France, the second abroad
  • Doctoral candidates are let under the responsibility of two supervisors, one in each country,
  • Doctoral candidates are integrated in two research units, one in each country,
  • The thesis shall be prepared over alternating periods between the institutions involved maintaining a balance and in accordance with the procedures set out in the agreement, the duration of their stay in France and in the partner country is at least one year,
  • Defence of thesis shall take place in a single session
  • Upon successful defence of thesis, the contracting institutions may award the doctor a doctoral degree from each of the two institutions, stating that the award was made as a consequence of an international cotutelle agreement 
  • The application for international joint supervision of thesis must be done before first enrolment in a doctoral studies programme at the University of Paris-Saclay. The agreement must be signed by all parties by the end of enrolment in the second year of doctoral studies at the University of Paris-Saclay,
  • The normal duration of a doctoral project is 3 years in France (with possible extensions by derogation). In the case of international cotutelles, the doctoral project can be planned for a longer period (4 years for example).

What are the prerequisites?

The international joint thesis co-supervision "cotutelle" agreement goes beyond an international research cooperation between researchers. As part of a cotutelle agreement, the doctoral candidates is enroled simultaneously in two higher education institution accredited to award the doctorate, one in France and one overseas, which conclude an agreement for the purpose of co-issuing the doctorate diploma. 

The first objective of the application for a cotutella agreement is to assess the value of establishing such a partnership between Université Paris-Saclay and a foreign partner institution. The second objective is to collect all the information necessary to prepare the agreement. If the framework of the international co-supervision of thesis is not adapted to your situation, know that the international mobility of doctoral students can also be organized within the framework of an international co-supervision or other less formalized frameworks for an international (Learn more about the "European Doctorate" Label).

  • The foreign institution must be accredited to award the doctorate,
  • The cotutella agreement must be clearly beneficial, more than an international cooperation within a less formal framework,
  • The conditions envisaged must be compatible with the doctoral charter of Université Paris-Saclay, the national regulatory framework and the internal regulations of the doctoral college and the doctoral school,
  • The two thesis supervisors, in France and in the foreign partner country, must be authorized to supervise a doctoral researcher, according to the specific provisions of their country.
  • The favorable opinion of the doctoral school for a doctoral candidate's registration at Université Paris-Saclay must be acquired before taking steps to establish an international co-supervision agreement (more ...)
  • The application for international joint supervision of thesis must be done before first enrolment in a doctoral studies programme at the University of Paris-Saclay. The agreement must be signed by all parties by the end of enrolment in the second year of doctoral studies at the University of Paris-Saclay,

The short questionnaire below will help you to clarify how it may be beneficial to formalize this international cooperation and to identify the strengths of your project before applying :

Benefits for the doctoral candidate and conditions guaranteeing the smooth flow of the doctoral project

Is there a benefit for the doctoral candidate in preparing his/her doctoral thesis under international joint supervision? How will joint supervision be provided to the doctoral candidate? Have the thesis supervisors planned stays or travel to the partner country during the course of the thesis project? How will joint scientific supervision for the doctoral project be structured (who does what and why? complementary skills? etc.)? What financing terms are planned? (for the doctoral candidate, various miscellaneous expenses incurred further to joint supervision - travel expenses for defence of thesis, for instance) What rules apply when it comes to coursework required during the thesis?

Scientific research cooperation

Does the agreement fall within the scope of a structured research partnership (LIA, GDRI, international research programme)? Does the agreement come further to a more informal scientific cooperation agreement between research units (researcher mobility exchange, joint publications between researchers from two units)? Are there any joint research publications common to the prospective thesis supervisors? Does the subject of the doctoral project require this agreement to be adopted (e.g., field research connected with a specific geographic site, access to an experimental platform, etc.)?

International Cooperation between Institutions

Does the agreement make it possible to contribute to the development of strategic international cooperation for Université Paris-Saclay and other institutions belonging to Université Paris-Saclay? Does the agreement make it possible to maintain or ramp up existing cooperation? Does the agreement enable incoming, outgoing, balanced mobility of students, of doctoral researchers? Does it facilitate the development of incoming, outgoing, balanced mobility for researchers?

I'm interested! How do I apply?