Jointly-supervised PhD thesis

The jointly-supervised PhD thesis (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 programme both at UNIPV and at a foreign university, under the joint guidance of two supervisors, one for each university. Upon successful completion of the PhD programme and after a single thesis defense, the candidate will receive a double or joint PhD degree, valid in both the countries involved.
The PhD student is enrolled in two similar PhD programmes at the same time: one at the home institution (where he/she got enrolled first) and one at the partner institution. The student works under the guidance of two supervisors. Attendance is divided into periods of approximately equal length.
The student is supposed to pay the enrollment fees at one institution only; the other institution will exempt him/her from the fees.
At the end of the doctoral programme and upon positive evaluation of the Committee on his/her defense, the student will be awarded a double/joint PhD degree recognized in both the countries involved. The final defense takes place at one of the two institutions involved (usually the home institution) in front of a joint committee.
An individual agreement must be subscribed in order to set up a jointly-supervised PhD (see “Agreement drafts” below).
The jointly-supervised PhD agreements are promoted by the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) which, at present, has signed four framework agreements with the French Conference of University Presidents on February 13, 1998, the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities on June 15, 1998, the Conference of Rectors of Universities in Germany on November 17, 2000 and the Conference of Rectors of the Swiss Universities on 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 jointly-supervised PhD: the individual agreement regulates many administrative issues 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 agreement 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 jointly-supervised PhD, 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. In case UNIPV is the partner university, the Academic Board must also decide the cycle of enrollment of the student and the supervisor at UNIPV.
  • An individual agreement must be arranged between the two Universities and signed by their legal representatives.
  • The student must be enrolled, following the subscription of the agreement, 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 specific committee. It is therefore recommended that the PhD student or his/her professor checks these requirements with the competent office.


Following the increasing number of requests, UNIPV has formalized its own draft of cotutelle agreement, 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). PhD students without scholarship can apply to obtain grants from other sources, such as the Vinci call (only for jointly-supervised PhDs involving a French institution).

All students can apply for the assignment of a mobility scholarship, if available.


Virginie Gallati
+39 0382 985983

Fabio Panza