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Jointly supervised PhD (cotutelle)

The cotutelle is a useful opportunity to enhance the international dimension of PhD studies. The key feature of this tool is that the PhD student can carry out his/her doctoral program both at UNIPV and at a foreign university, under the joint supervision of two experts in the subject (one for each university). Upon successful completion of the PhD course and after a single final exam, the candidate will receive a double or joint PhD degree, valid in both the countries involved.
The PhD student is enrolled in two PhD programmes at the same time: one at the Home Institution (where he/she enrolled first) and one at the Partner Institution. The student works under the guide of two supervisors, one for each PhD programme. Attendance is divided into periods of approximately equal length.
During the cotutelle, the student must pay the enrollment fees at one Institution only; the other institution will exempt him/her from the fees.
At the end of the doctoral program and upon positive evaluation of the Committee on his/her discussion, the student obtains a double PhD degree recognized in both the countries involved. The final examination takes place at one of the two institutions in front of a joint committee, which customarily includes the two supervisors of the thesis.

The cotutelle tool was promoted by the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) which, at present, has signed four framework agreements for PhD cotutelle, respectively with the French Conference of University Presidents (agreement) (February 13, 1998), the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (agreement) (June 15, 1998), the Conference of Rectors of Universities in Germany (agreement) (November 17, 2000) and the Conference of Rectors of the Swiss Universities (agreement) (February 26, 2003). However, the UNIPV Academic Senate has decided, by resolution of January 21, 2013 that cotutelle agreements for PhDs can be stipulated with institutions all over the world.

The PhD office must be involved from the start in the arrangement of a cotutelle: the agreement regulates in fact many administrative aspects that must be approved by the competent authorities. Anyone – PhD student or professor – who is interested in receiving more information or in entering into a PhD cotutelle is therefore requested to get in touch promptly with Virginie Gallati ( 0382/985983).
For the same reason, also the competent offices of the partner University must be involved in the agreement drafting process.

First, the student - or his supervisor - should already have scientific relationships with a researcher or a research team in the partner institution, who is available to be the student’s second supervisor.
In order to start a cotutelle, the following requirements are needed:
  • The PhD student must be enrolled on the 1st or 2nd year.
  • The Academic Board must give a favourable opinion on the cotutelle project and provide the PhD office with the minutes of the meeting. In case UNIPV is the host University, the Academic Board must also decide the cycle of enrollment of the student and the UNIPV supervisor.
  • An individual agreement must be arranged between the two Universities and signed by their legal representatives.
  • The student must be enrolled, following the agreement signing, in a PhD programme at each University involved in the agreement.

The student must take care of inquiring about the requirements set by the partner Institution for the launch of a cotutelle. For example, many institutions, unlike UNIPV, set a deadline for the submission of cotutelle projects, or require it to be approved by a committee. It is therefore recommended that the PhD student or his/her professor checks these requirements with the competent office.
PhD students in cotutelle who pay the enrollment fees at UNIPV are covered by accident insurance and third-party liability insurance during their authorized PhD activities in Italy and abroad. PhD students in cotutelle who do not pay the enrollment fees at the University of Pavia will be required to subscribe the accident insurance proposed by UNIPV, and will be covered by the third-party liability insurance subscribed by UNIPV on behalf of all its students.

Given the increasing number of requests, UNIPV has formalized its own cotutelle agreement draft, approved by the Academic Senate and the Administrative Council.

All UNIPV students holding a PhD scholarship can apply for a 50% increase of the scholarship in case of authorized period of research abroad. This increase may be required for up to a maximum of 18 months (not necessarily consecutive). The procedure to apply for the 50% increase is described in the “Frequently asked questions” section.

PhD students without scholarship can apply to obtain grants from other sources.

Virginie Gallati
+39 0382 985983