Joint PhD (Joint Doctorate)
A joint PhD (other names: Joint Doctorate; co-tutelle doctorate) is a doctoral degree awarded by two (or more) different institutions, who share the responsibilities of supervising, coordination and examining a researcher’s work towards a PhD degree.
It is made possible through a contract of cooperation between the doctoral researcher, his or her supervisors (one at each institution) and the respective institutions of higher education. Either a joint degree is awarded or a double degree. In each case, the joint responsibility of each of the partners is clearly mentioned on the official diploma.
Considering a joint PhD?
Joint PhD contracts:
- can be established from the start of the PhD degree
- can also become a joint PhD during the course of research
- can even be drawn up close to the PhD defence, as long as the minimum conditions set out by Ghent University and the partner university have been met (see below)
Students from Ghent University, as well as students from other universities, can start up the procedure for a Joint PhD degree.
Ghent University can also be a degree-awarding partner in joint Ph.D’s between member institutions from the Ghent University Association on the one hand and other Flemish or international universities on the other.
Ghent University has set minimal terms that must be met before a joint PhD contract can be established.
The doctoral candidate:
- must have a approved PhD research proposal at Ghent University (the contract states the date of approval by the faculty)
- must have a supervisor in each cooperation institution
- must formally enrol at each institution and therefore pay the tuition fee
- must carry out research at each institution for at least six months
- must defend the PhD degree in one of the partner institutions
In case of partnership with another Flemish institution, in some cases the student will be exempt from paying fees at one of these institutions.
The degree awarded can be either a joint degree (one diploma signed by each institution) or a double degree (two diploma’s, with the name of the partnering institution clearly mentioned so they cannot be mistaken for two separate degrees).
A/ Check possibility
First contact the student administration services of the partnering institution to make sure that joint PhD’s can be awarded there.
Make sure you have a supervisor at both institutions.
C/ Approval (incl. application procedure)
There are several steps to get your PhD research approved. One is recommend to start up these steps simultaneously.
1. Procedure at faculty level: approval of research plan and supervisor (incl. application procedure)
All international candidates need to complete a (mostly administrative) procedure during which the academic aspects (equivalence of your degree, research proposal, language skills) will be evaluated. This procedure may take some time (discounting the time spent gathering your documents and applying for a visa).
PhD supervisors are invited to register their international candidates who have acquired funding via the online tool Phd Wizard. In that case the standard application procedure (for candidates without funding) will be slightly different.
Holders of a Belgian degree must follow the standard admission procedure (i.e. only approval by faculty needed).
2. Procedure at central level: drawing up of joint degree contract
For the drawing up of the contract, either the student or the supervisor must contact jointPhD@UGent.be.
Be sure to mention:
- names of both supervisors (including contact details)
- partner institution (including contact details)
- name of doctoral degree at Ghent University
Each contract is drawn up individually and signed by the research student, the respective supervisors, the dean of the UGent faculty involved and the rector (vice-chancellor / president) of each participating university. It contains elements such as: form of degree, authorship for publications and intellectual property, place of defense, tuition fee etc.
Funding for joint PhD’s
Ghent University’s Research Council makes funding available for outgoing as well as ingoing mobility of PhD researchers who meet all the requirements for a joint PhD.
Read up on the guidelines and procedures for funding for incoming mobility and outgoing mobility (mobiliteitskrediet, information in Dutch).
For specific questions and templates of contract, please contact jointPhD@UGent.be