Cotutelle degrees

On this page, you will find information on ‘joint doctorates’ (aka as ‘Cotutelle doctorates’). This information is provided by the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

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Cotutelle de thèse – a binational doctoral degree

Cotutelle doctoral programs involve the collaboration of two separate institutions across national borders. Following the successful completion of a joint doctoral program and examination process, Cotutelle candidates receive a joint doctorate from both institutions.

This ‘binational doctorate’ can be of interest if you are hoping to use your doctoral research to forge closer links with international colleagues and wish to spend a significant portion of your doctoral program at the relevant institution abroad. If you are considering enrolling as a Cotutelle doctoral student, you may wish to consult the German Rectors’ Conference website, which provides important information on Cotutelle doctoral programs.

For each Cotutelle student, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the partner university involved must sign a separate ‘individual agreement’ specifying the nature of their joint procedures, as well as arrangements regarding relevant issues such as supervision, costs and insurance. Each ‘individual agreement’ is only valid for one student's doctoral project.

Before a Cotutelle Agreement can be signed off by Charité, the following steps need to be completed:

Steps for Cotutelle Agreements

1. Registering your doctoral project
Please visit our Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies, bringing with you all of the documentation needed to register your doctoral project (for further information, please see "Registration"). This will enable us to check whether or not there are additional steps to complete prior to you starting your doctorate – for instance, if you did not obtain your university qualification(s) in Germany.
Please arrange for Charité’s Doctoral Agreement to be signed by all of your supervisors at Charité and the supervisor(s) at the relevant partner university. The Cotutelle Agreement will specify any supplementary terms and conditions not already covered in the Doctoral Agreement. Please consider the following issues prior to embarking on this step:

  • What recommendation and/or information has the German Rectors’ Conference issued in relation to the country in question?
  • Who will be your supervisors at Charité?
  • Which of the two universities will have overall responsibility, i.e. act as the ‘lead university’?
  • How do you intend to divide your time between the two institutions?
  • Who will cover potential travel costs and any other potential costs? (Unfortunately, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is unable to cover any of the costs incurred)
  • What type and level of insurance will you require during your time abroad?

We will need all of this information to make the necessary arrangements. 
Who is responsible for this step? You are.

2. Obtaining an opinion from the International Cooperation Steering Group
The Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies will forward your project proposal to the Charité Executive Board’s International Cooperations Steering Group. The Steering Group will then issue an opinion as to whether, in your case, a Cotutelle Agreement would be in the interests of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Who is responsible for this step? We are.

3. Producing a draft of the Cotutelle Agreement
We will need the contact details of individuals at the other university who are authorized to enter into binding agreements. Please find out who the relevant persons are and let us know. We will then negotiate the specifics of the agreement – preferably in English. Should the other party insist on using their national language and/or additional languages, this may delay the completion of the agreement, as all of the relevant documentation will need to be translated.
Please note that all agreements to be entered into by Charité must reviewed by our legal department prior to completion. We would therefore ask that you refrain from arranging for the premature signature of any documentation provided by the other university or another third party,
Who is responsible for this step? Both we and you are.

4. Statement from the Doctoral Commission
The Doctoral Commission will discuss your proposal and forward its opinion to the Faculty Council for a final decision.
Who is responsible for this step? We are.

5. Decision by the Faculty Council
Each individual Cotutelle Agreement must be approved by the Faculty Council.
Who is responsible for this step? We are.

6. Signing off by the Chief Executive Officer or Dean
Once the Faculty Council has made its decision, the agreement will be signed by either the Chief Executive Officer or Dean of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
Who is responsible for this step? We are.

As you can see, the process is complex and time-consuming. Please ensure that you leave sufficient time, particularly with regard to any actions to be completed by us. Please allow 6-8 weeks (taking into account recess, intervals between meetings, etc.) for processing by our own university committees. Please allow another 6-8 weeks for the drafting and legal review stage of the agreement. You should allow a total of 3 – 4 months for the completion of all of the necessary steps. In an emergency, we will of course do our utmost to find and facilitate short-term solutions. However, allowing sufficient time helps to reduce pressure on all involved.

Do you have any further questions? Our staff from the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies will be happy to help.

Partner universities

We have previously signed Cotutelle Agreements with the following universities:

  • Università degli Studi die Roma "La Sapienza"
  • Normandie Université