Background Information

What is a Cotutelle?


Cotutelle students have their doctoral studies not only supervised jointly by academics from an Australian University and a French University, but if successful, the student will be awarded a joint or double-badged doctoral degree by the two institutions, stating that the award was made as a consequence of a Cotutelle agreement with the partner institution.

Cotutelle is possible in all French universities, under French national regulations, with any foreign country.

Cotutelle is at present possible in many Australian universities, each university having its own regulations. Some universities have accepted the principle of Cotutelle with all foreign countries but other only with France.

Technical Information:

Supervision: Cotutelle students are enrolled in both institutions involved and undertake their studies under the control and the responsibility of a supervisor in either country.

Agreement: Each Cotutelle project takes place under a reciprocal agreement "Cotutelle Convention" binding the two institutions involved. This convention recognises the validity of the studies undertaken within the framework.

Tuition fees: In the frame of Cotutelle, the PhD student is exempted from paying registration fees at one institution - Typically, he/she pays fees only to his/her home institution.

Duration: PhD in Cotutelle is a normal PhD (normally 3 years) with time shared between the 2 countries - Typically at least one year is spent in each country (in one or several stays)

Examination: The PhD study should be defended or submitted only once in accordance to what the two institutions have agreed upon in the "Cotutelle Convention" - Requirements from both universities are usually added, with adapted rules about the use of language.

Award: a joint or double-degree to the student, if successful.


French Universities: have to apply the national regulation on Cotutelle and examination for doctoral degrees. More information, click here.

Australian Universities: In Australia, the PhD degree is usually awarded after examination by 3 academics (excluding the supervisor) based on a written report and no oral presentation is normally required. The final decision is taken by a committee of the University. However, the Australian Universities are free to define their own requirements to award their degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Consequently, Australian rules for a Cotutelle PhD can be agreed on a case by case basis.

Australian Government (Department of Education, Science and Training - DEST): see More information

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Spirit of Cotutelle



- is not a process for recruiting international students
- is a device for strengthening and developing existing international research collaboration through facilitating the mobility of PhD students

Scenario: to view how the Cotutelle scheme can fit into collaborative research projects, click here.


For the research teams and universities involved:

- To increase, structure and highlight international scientific cooperation between France (Europe) and Australia
- To better train and benefit from highly skilled students
- To access new funding sources specific to cotutelle
- To expand international relationships in Higher Education

For the Cotutelle student:

- To get an early experience of international research
- To be exposed to different cultural and scientific environment
- To create personal links, at early stage of their career, to pursue scientific research opportunities between two countries
- To obtain, if successful, a double doctoral degree, recognised in Australia and Europe

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You can download here a documentation which presents in details the Cotutelle program, and how to be enrolled in a Cotutelle agreement.

Last reviewed 15/01/07

Dernière modification : 15/01/2007

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