International joint PhD or “cotutelle”

What is a “cotutelle”?

A cotutelle is a PhD program offered jointly by two higher education institutions: one in Canada, the other one in France. It allows the students to get a double/joint PhD degree delivered and recognized by both the institutions. The students enrolled in a Cotutelle PhD program get an invaluable international research experience. Their research works are conducted both in Canada and France. Joint PhD programs are an extraordinary asset for the students and for the cooperation between Canadian and French institutions.

On the occasion of the Franco-Canadian meetings on Cotutelle PhD Programs, several university staffs and researchers have discussed the importance of the “cotuelle” program

The joint PhD allows doctoral candidates to gain knowledge about research methods and scientific approaches of both countries. It is a unique opportunity that opens access to the international level of research.
In addition, joint supervision facilitates the establishment and strengthening of collaborations between research laboratories of the two countries.
Therefore, it is not a case of granting “two PhD degrees for a single thesis”, but rather of jointly recognizing the work accomplished by the student in both institutions, under the supervision of the two professors.
The French legislation gives great flexibility to the universities in the establishment of joint PhD. Article 4 of the decree of January 6, 2005 authorizes universities to bypass French mechanisms if these are contradictory to the requirements made by the foreign partner institution.


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Cotutelle Mc Master
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Cotutelle UOttawa
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Cotutelle UBC
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Cotutelle at a glance
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Cotutelle (CampusFrance)
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The assets of cotutelles:

  • Increased attractiveness of higher education and research institutions in the two countries;
  • Improved student experience on the university, scientific, cultural and personal level for the doctoral student;
  • Build closer connections between researchers, laboratories and institutions and strengthening of collaborations in the field of scientific research.

Thomas Kraft (left) & J.F Richert (right) are sharing their experience in “cotutelle”.

Funding opportunities

A PhD student who wants to be involved in a cotutelle needs two kinds of funding: one for the Phd itself and one for the extra-cost of international mobility (travel fees, cost of living abroad).
The Embassy of France offers funding especially dedicated to “cotutelle” PhD students. For more information on programs and funding available for Joint PhD students, visit our website.

Interview of Nicolas Duhaut, higher education attaché, on Radio Canada Vancouver (in French): "France is getting closer to Anglophone Canadian Universities ", December 2.

You can download below a pdf document describing what are the international PhD cotutelles:

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International "Cotutelle" PhD booklet
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Update December 28, 2012

Last modified on 28/12/2012

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