What is cotutelle?

Taking doctoral studies under a cotutelle arrangement means being awarded a doctoral degree by two universities in two different countries and having the doctoral thesis co-supervised and defending it at one of the two institutions.

The doctoral candidate works on the doctoral thesis in the two countries involved, spending at least six months at each institution, under the supervision of a thesis supervisor at each of the two universities.

For the doctoral thesis to be done under cotutelle, a specific agreement must be signed by the two institutions.


What do I need to do if I am a doctoral candidate or a future doctoral candidate? 

If you are starting doctoral studies at the UPC:

  1. Apply for admission to a doctoral programme at the UPC, if you haven't already done so.

  2. Request permission from your thesis supervisor to carry out your thesis under a cotutelle arrangement with the approval of the academic committee of the doctoral programme.


Please bear in mind that you must:

  1. Respect the prevailing regulations at the two universities. 

  2. Spend at least six months at each institution. 

  3. Pay all corresponding enrolment fees at the UPC, in accordance with the official fees. 

  4. Apply for the doctoral degree certificate to be issued by the participating universities once you have passed the thesis defence, in accordance with applicable regulations.

If you are starting doctoral studies at a university outside Spain: 

You will need to approach the coordinator of the doctoral programme that you wish to take at the UPC to request the start of the collaboration. If you reach an agreement, you must follow the steps described in the previous section. 

What do I need to do if I am a thesis supervisor at the UPC? 

  1. Accept or reject applications for cotutelle and request validation from the academic committee of the doctoral programme. 

  2. Contact the Doctoral School to begin arranging the cotutelle agreement

  3. Negotiate the conditions of the cotutelle agreement with the other university (start and end dates, mobility, work to be carried out by the doctoral candidate, student financial aid options, etc.).

  4. Once an agreement has been reached, the Doctoral School's approval will be needed for the cotutelle agreement to be valid.

Please bear in mind the following:


1. You must supervise the thesis in a coordinated manner with the other university and supervise the doctoral candidate throughout the process of writing the thesis. 


2. You must inform the other university of any possible problems, changes or unforeseen circumstances that occur during the writing of the thesis. 


3. The thesis examination committee must be appointed by mutual agreement between the two universities. The composition of the examination committee must comply with the laws and regulations governing the countries and universities participating in the agreement. In any case, most of the members must be external to the universities participating in the cotutelle, and all of them must have PhDs.

Further information

Academic Regulations for Doctoral Studies of the Universtitat Politècnica de Catalunya

If you have any questions, please contact us.