Combined degree for an interdisciplinary doctorate

A combined degree for an interdisciplinary doctorate (interdisciplinary PhD) is only allowed for combinations of minimum 2 existing degrees at Ghent University. Candidates should have 1 supervisor for each discipline that is involved and the interdisciplinary nature of the doctoral project should be motivated. After successful completion a degree ‘Doctor of [degree/discipline A] and of [degree/discipline B]’ will be awarded.


When working on an interdisciplinary doctoral project (which is often also supervised by researchers working in different disciplines or faculties), doctoral students often hesitate which existing degree they will pursue.

A combined degree allows them to include a minimum of 2 existing degrees (disciplines) in 1 degree. Doctoral students applying for an interdisciplinary PhD shall motivate why the proposed combination of doctoral degrees is a better reflection of the research conducted than one of the combined degrees.

Considering an interdisciplinary PhD? Contact

3 Criteria research

In order to qualify for an interdisciplinary PhD the research needs to meet a set of 3 criteria:

  1. The disciplines and expertise contained in the research proposal differ considerably.
  2. The contribution of expertise, knowledge and methodologies from every discipline involved is equally necessary to successfully carry out the research. The research is not a combination of monodisciplinary research lines each of which is carried out under the supervision of an individual researcher. None of the disciplines involved is merely an auxiliary discipline.
  3. The results of the interdisciplinary research lead to scientific progress in all of the disciplines involved (or in an emerging discipline combining the disciplines involved).
  4. Only combinations of 2 or more existing doctoral degrees are allowed. Both combinations within 1 faculty and combinations between 2 or more faculties are eligible.
  5. The application for an interdisciplinary PhD is initiated by the PhD student.
  6. At least 1 supervisor per discipline involved needs to support and approve the application.
  7. Every application includes a written motivation in which the interdisciplinary nature of the research is explained.
  8. Every faculty that is involved in the interdisciplinary PhD needs to give permission to the PhD student to enrol for the combined degree.
  9. In case of an interdisciplinary PhD between 2 or more faculties a main faculty is appointed. It is the responsibility of the main faculty to inform the other faculty or faculties if there are changes to the modalities of the enrolment for the combined degree.
  10. Every discipline is represented in the examination board.
  11. During the doctoral examination the examination board evaluates the interdisciplinary character of the dissertation on the basis of the 3 criteria for interdisciplinary research as stated above.

8 Conditions

More information: Regulations for the interdisciplinary PhD (in Dutch)


After successful completion the student will be awarded a diploma mentioning the combined degree, the faculty or faculties involved and a reference to the interdisciplinary examination board.

The diploma supplement mentions the fields of study involved and the specificity of the doctoral examination (interdisciplinary evaluation).


  1. Send an e-mail to stating that you would like to do an interdisciplinary PhD.
  2. The co-ordinator will send you the proper instructions and the form 'Application for an interdisciplinary PhD'.
  3. Complete the form together with your supervisors and return to
  4. When the application is approved and signed, you will be asked to collect the document at the faculty. This will be at the main faculty if you are doing an interdisciplinary PhD with more than one faculty involved.
  5. Mail the completely signed application form to to be enrolled in the interdisciplinary programme.

Contact information