Bi-nationally supervised doctoral procedures („Cotutelle“)

Bi- nationally supervised doctoral procedures („Cotutelle“)

The University of Wuppertal (BUW) seeks to strengthen international research while increasing its own international presence and furthering mobility.

A joint doctoral degree („Cotutelle“) allows a doctoral candidate to earn a jointly conferred degree at two (in some cases more) universities on the basis of a single academic contribution, i.e. the doctoral thesis, resulting from research conducted at both universities.

The doctoral candidates must be supervised by at least two supervisors with equal rights, one from each participating institution. While they are fully registered in two universities, they have to comply with all bureaucracy including admission requirements and time-consuming assessment regulations at both institutions. The doctoral students should strive to divide their time between the two universities equally (at least ⅓ of the doctorate should be spent at each of the partner institutions) and remain in close contact with both supervisors for the duration of their studies.

Supervisors or doctoral candidates should ideally already indicate when registering a doctoral project if a bi-national doctorate is intended. However, it is usually also possible to transform an ongoing doctorare.

Further details regarding both the doctoral studies and the administrative requirements depend on whether the candidates wish to pursue a degree at a university with which BUW has a structured program for joint doctorates (which is planned in some disciplines), or at another university where an individual agreement will need to be made individually for the doctoral student.

The individual agreement on joint supervision is to be concluded on the basis of the respective doctoral regulations ("Promotionsordnungen") of BUW and the applicable legal regulations at the foreign university(ies) involved; special regulations are laid down exclusively for this one doctoral procedure. It is not possible for foreign institutions to proceed with a cotutelle procedure without a legal basis.

The contract on joint supervision should be drawn up very carefully in order to avoid potential problems arising during the course oft he doctoral procedure. All types of individual agreements have in common that they are rather time-consuming to negotiate.

Due to the high workload for everyone involved, applicants and supervisors are advised to carefully consider whether the added value of an individual joint doctoral degree agreement to their research matches the demands of the bureaucratic process.

The International Center at BUW is responsible for coordinating and arranging the contract and its signing process; it provides information and advice on Cotutelle procedures and funding opportunities.

Further information can be found on the pages of the HRK and the DFH.

International doctoral candidates or those interested in doing a doctorate can obtain information and advice on doctoral studies at BUW by contacting the Center for Graduate Studies.






Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Andrea Bieck
Gaußstr. 20
D-42119 Wuppertal

Tel.: +49 (0)202 439 2181
E-Mail: bieck[at]

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