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Joint PhD

A Joint PhD leads to a jointly awarded doctorate by two universities. The basis is formed by the independent research work carried out at two untervisities within in the framework of a doctorate. The dissertation is supervised equally by two members from the respective universities. In accordance with the recommendations of the German Rectors' Conference, the duration of the stay should be balanced between the two countries (e.g. at least one year at each institution). Apart from conducting reseach in a topic of their interest, a Joint PhD offers dotoral students the opportunity to acquire excellent language skills and intercultural competence. In addition, they get to know the different academic systems as well as the respective country's job market.

Steps to a Joint PhD:

  • Whether a Joint PhD examination procedure is possible is always decided individually. Please enquire about the conditions for a Joint PhD at the Deans office of your faculty.
  • For each project, an individual contract of joint supervision must be concluded between the two universities concerned. The contract regulates, among other things, the exact conditions regarding the length of stay at the respective institutes, the language of the thesis, the examination location and the type of examination.  A sample contract can be found here.
  • The Contract of Joint Supervision must be signed by the doctoral researcher, the responsible supervisor, the Dean’s office of the faculty and the University President on behalf of HHU. Please calculate a period of about 3-5 months for the cooperation agreement to be signed.

Feel free to contact us at any time to help you draft a contract of joint supervision for a Joint PhD doctorate. Further general information on bi-national doctorates can be found on the website of the German Rectors’ Conference.

Funding for bi-nationally supervised doctoral dissertations

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awards one-year scholarships for dissertations jointly supervised by a German and a foreign professor. In accordance with the conditions of the respective supervision agreement the scholarship is to be used for shorter stays of up to three consecutive years - provided that this has been applied for from the outset. 

 A flat-rate travel allowance is paid for each journey made by the supervising German and foreign university professors and the doctoral researcher. The travel expenses need to be documented through receipts. The total budget for such trips amounts to a maximum of EUR 1,500 for supervision agreements within Europe and a maximum of EUR 2,500 for non-European agreements. In addition to the application documents required in the doctoral programme, a written agreement between the two higher education institutions or departments concerning the joint supervision of the doctoral examination procedure must be submitted for this special type of funding. Further information can be found on the DAAD website.

Feel free to search for further funding opportunities via the scholarship databases using your own subject-specific search criteria.


Dr. Sigrun Wegener-Feldbrügge
Building: 16.11
Floor/Room: 00.44
+49 211 81-13405

Contact persons for doctoral matters
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