PhD through joint supervision (Cotutelle)

What is a joint supervision thesis?

As part of doctoral studies, a procedure for co-supervision of theses between French universities and their counterparts in a foreign country has been created. This procedure aims to establish and develop scientific cooperation between French and foreign research units by promoting PhD student mobility.

The research work will alternate between the two institutions. During the PhD and until the defense, the PhD student:
  • enrolls in both institutions.
  • pays the tuition fees at only one institution.
  • carries out research periods alternating between the two institutions.
  • is under the scientific supervision of a thesis supervisor at each institution.
A joint supervision thesis requires a signed agreement between all partners involved: PhD student, thesis supervisors, doctoral school deans and university presidents.

Please note that it may take several months to sign the final document.
After defending his/her thesis (the defense takes place only once in one of the two institutions), the PhD student obtains both the Université Grenoble Alpes PhD and that of the joint supervision partner institution.


To begin the process, the application must first be validated by your doctoral school.
Joint supervision thesis enrollment requirements are governed by the French decree of May 25, 2016.
Please note that doctoral students who have obtained a UGA doctoral contract must first register administratively with the UGA and not with the partner university.
Doctoral students already registered at the partner university will not be able to register at UGA until the cotutelle agreement has been finalised.
Published on  July 13, 2022
Updated on September 7, 2023