Jointly-supervised PhD program

The jointly-supervised PhD thesis (cotutelle) is a research training course that involves two institutions from two different countries, two PhD courses and a single student.

In short, the 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 University of Pavia, the PhD student will have to pay each year the amount corresponding to the regional tax and the duty stamp (140+16)

At the end of the doctoral programme and upon positive evaluation of the Committee on his/her thesis 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 template” 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; incoming cotutelles with a non-EU country must be approved by the Academic Senate.


The prerequisite for the activation of a cotutelle agreement is that the student, of his/her supervisor, has scientific relationships with a researcher or a research team at the partner institution, who is available to act as the student’s co-supervisor.

In order to set up the agreement, the following requirements must be met:

  • The PhD student must be enrolled in 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.


We speak of “outgoing” cotutelle in the case of a PhD student enrolled at UNIPV who wishes to stipulate a cotutelle agreement with a foreign university. In this case, the agreement must be based on the template approved by UNIPV government bodies. The text may undergo changes at the request of the partner university, where these do not concern contents deriving from national provisions and/or University regulations; in case of substantial changes, the agreement must be submitted to the Academic Senate for approval.


We speak of “incoming” cotutelle when it concerns a student already enrolled in a PhD program at a foreign university, who wishes to stipulate a cotutelle agreement with UNIPV. In this case, the use of the agreement template provided by UNIPV is not mandatory, although recommended. However, the terms of the agreement must remain unchanged with regard to contents deriving from national provisions and/or University regulations. In case of substantial differences with the model approved by the UNIPV governing bodies, the text of the agreement must be submitted to the Academic Senate for approval.
All incoming cotutelle agreements stipulated with universities in non-European countries must, in any case, be submitted to the Academic Senate for approval.
In the case of incoming cotutelle, the student is admitted to the PhD program at UNIPV doctoral course as a supernumerary student, through the same resolution of the PhD course Academic Board with which the agreement itself is approved.


The PhD office must be involved from the start in the activation of a cotutelle agreement.

Students and teachers interested in receiving further information or in stipulating a cotutelle agreement are therefore asked to promptly contact Virginie Gallati or Fabio Panza (, tel. 0382/985983-82). Likewise, the competent offices of the partner university must also be involved in the drafting phase of the agreement.

The student who decides to activate a cotutelle agreement has the responsibility of managing and coordinating the relations with the competent offices of both universities, as well as with the academics, in order to arrive at a text shared by all the parties involved.

It is recommended to collect information in advance about the requirements set by the partner institution for the activation of such an agreement, to avoid unpleasant inconveniences. For example, many institutions, unlike UNIPV, set a deadline by which the cotutelle project must be presented, or require the approval by a specific commission. Therefore, it is advisable that the student or the professor of the partner institution inquires about this from the competent office.



Following the increasing number of requests, UNIPV has formalized its own template of cotutelle agreement, approved by the Academic Senate and the Administrative Council.
The use of this template is mandatory for “outgoing” cotutelles (where the student’s first seat of enrollment is UNIPV) and recommended for “incoming” cotutelles. With the exception of Except for minor and non-substantial aspects, the contents of the text deriving from national provisions and/or University regulations are not negotiable, even if this prevents the signing of the agreement itself.


The financial support is ensured in the following ways:


Virginie Gallati
+39 0382 985983

Fabio Panza