International doctoral degree


Doctoral students enrolled in a joint degree program account for around 10% of all doctoral students. Universities in close to thirty countries offer joint degrees.


International joint thesis supervision agreement (cotutuelle) template drawn up by Université Côte d'Azur : French template / bilingual template

Joint international thesis supervision agreement (cotutelle)

The international thesis co-supervision system is governed by Title III of the decree of May 25, 2016, which defines the national framework for the program and the procedures leading to the award of the national doctoral degree.
Applications must be submitted during the first year of the doctoral program.
An agreement is then signed between the two institutions. The agreement could be:

  • A framework agreement specifying the general conditions combined with a specific agreement for each doctoral student.
  • An agreement signed with a specific doctoral student.

In both cases, the agreement must be sent to the relevant Doctoral School that will process the application.
The student must be officially enrolled in both universities, but will only pay enrolment fees at one of the two institutions.
The principle behind the agreement is reciprocity: the thesis is only defended in one of the two institutions, after which the doctoral degree is awarded both in France and in the other country. The student can be awarded a joint degree or one degree in each country (to be determined in the agreement).

Regardless of where the thesis defense takes place, it must comply with the rules defined by the decree of August 7, 2006 on doctoral studies.
However, "when the rules applicable to doctoral studies in the countries concerned are mutually incompatible, French institutions are authorized to derogate from the provisions of Title 2 of the present decree, under the conditions defined by the joint supervision agreement" (art. 20 of the decree of May 25, 2016 on doctoral studies).

  • In the case of joint supervision within the annual call for applications issued by the Franco-Italian University (UFI), please use the mandatory template provided by that institution.
  • In the specific case of Quebec, use the special form appended to the Franco-Quebec framework agreement of October 1996.
  • In all other cases (e.g., an agreement proposed by the partner university), make sure that the text complies with all the provisions of the decree of January 6, 2005.
European Doctorate

The "European doctorate" is not defined by a legal text, but is the result of an initiative introduced in 1992 by the Liaison Committee of the Rectors' and Presidents' Conferences of the Universities of the Member States of the European Community (later renamed the Confederation of Rectors' Conferences of the European Union, and merged in 2001 to form the European University Association [EUA]). It is a title awarded by the university in addition to the doctorate when the following four conditions are met:

  • Authorization for defending the thesis is granted on the basis of reports submitted by at least two professors from two higher education institutions in two European countries other than the country in which the thesis defense is held.
  • Part of the defense must be conducted in a European language other than the national language(s) of the country in which the doctorate is being defended.
  • At least one member of the jury must belong to a higher education institution in a European country other than the country in which the defense is held.
  • Research for the doctorate must have been conducted, in part, during a period of at least one trimester in another European country (proof required).

The application for the European Doctorate must be completed and returned to the Doctoral School office with proof of research conducted in another European country.

Doctoral mobility

Université Côte d'Azur welcomes a large number of doctoral students from all countries, who account for around half of all students. 34% are non-EU students and 13% are students from EU member states.
In terms of outgoing mobility, the ERASMUS+ 2021-2027 program offers help for mobility within and outside Europe. Doctoral students can obtain grants for long-term and short-term research in another country, and staff grants if they have a contract with the university.
Doctoral students can apply for mobility grants through a simplified process set up by the university by submitting an online form. Applications are examined on an ongoing basis.
For further information about international mobility, please contact your campus international office.