International co-supervision (co-tutelle) of doctorate thesis

Thesis co-supervision is an initiative that was introduced by a decree (25 May 2016) implemented by and under the responsibility of the head of the institution. It allows students to prepare a thesis under the joint supervision of two professors qualified to direct research belonging to two different universities, one in France and one abroad.

Therefore, the student does their doctorate at both universities but only pays tuition fees at the designated pilot institution. Applications to participate in a co-supervision programme must be made at the pilot institution.

The student then follows courses and seminars at the two universities based on a schedule arranged by the participating institutions.

Once the thesis has been written, the student must defend it (based on the conditions specified in the agreement) at one of the participating universities before a mixed jury of at least four members.

Following this defence, the student will be awarded two separate degrees corresponding to the national doctorate equivalent, i.e. docteur in France and the foreign university equivalent.

The co-supervision partnership must be arranged during the first year of the student’s thesis.

Required documents

  • Signed thesis approval form or doctoral student card
  • Letter of thesis direction approval from both thesis supervisors

Next steps

The procedure must be initiated by the supervisors, who will arrange the co-supervision partnership and agree on the subject, supervision plan, conditions for its defence, and the awarding of degrees and their titles.

A French and English copy of the agreement must be signed by:

  • the doctoral student
  • both research supervisors
  • the director of the Doctoral School and the University Director at the pilot university
  • the director of the Doctoral School or equivalent and the University Director at the partner university

Funding for co-supervision these

Once the agreement has been made, doctoral students may apply for funding from a range of institutions (AUF, Région Ile de France, Université franco-italienne, etc.) (but funding is not guaranteed).