The co-tutelle programme is a type of internationalization specifically aimed at PhD students, and leads to the issuing of a double doctoral degree which is valid in two different countries.
The co-tutelle programme requires an alternate and approximately equivalent research period at the University of Trento and the host university.
The "cotutelle thesis", written under the supervision of two supervisors, is defended in a single disputation at the Home or Host Institution.

How to start a co-tutelle

The University of Trento has already activated numerous cotutelle agreements with several countries all over the world.
Each cotutelle programme usually takes place within the framework of a preliminary general agreement (intergovernmental or bilateral between two universities) and on an ad personam agreement (Individual Co-tutelle Agreement or ICA) that binds the partner universities.
At the moment intergovernmental cooperation for co-tutelle programme are in force with: 

  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

Further details are available in the "Attachments" box.

If you intend to start a cotutelle programme with Universities belonging to one of the above mentioned countries it is possible to negotiate and sign directly the specific Individual Co-tutelle Agreement (ICA).

Nevertheless, the University may sign co-tutelle agreements also with Universities outside of the countries listed above. In this case it is usually necessary to draw up a General Agreement (GA) complemented with a draft of the Individual Co-tutelle Agreement for the candidate (ICA) to be signed whenever a student is willing to activate the exchange. 
Upon approval of the PhD programme Committee and the Department Board of both institutions, the agreements can be send for signature by the Rectors.
Both samples are available at the Doctorate Offices.

Who can partecipate

PhD students preferably in the 1st or 2nd year of the programme who are attending:

  • a PhD programme at the University of Trento (Home University) and intend to apply for a co-tutelle programme with an institution abroad: co-tutelle de thèse OUTGOING;
  • a PhD programme at an institution abroad (Home University) and intend to apply for a co-tutelle programme with the University of Trento (Host University): co-tutelle de thèse INCOMING.

Requirements and procedures

The basic features, common to all agreements, to be fulfilled for a co-tutelle programme are:

  • compulsory official enrolment in a PhD programme, according to the current legislation and regulations in force in one of the two countries (for example, in Italy the minimum duration of the Doctorate programme is three years);
  • approval by the PhD Committee or the relevant academic authority of the partner institution;
  • agreement individually drawn up for each PhD student (ad personam agreement), compliant with the general agreement signed by the two legal representatives;
  • research carried out in alternate periods (approximately equivalent at each location and for a minimum indicative period of 12 months) in the Institutions of the two countries, under the supervision of the two thesis supervisors (one for each of the two partner universities);
  • research activity jointly assessed by the two partner universities (as established in the Individual Agreement);
  • positive outcome of the final examination held before a Committee composed by professors as representatives of both institutions;
  • awarding of the Doctoral certificate (Diploma) and of the corresponding academic qualification by each of the two partner universities, in compliance with the legislation of the individual country;
  • payment of enrollment fees at one of the two institutions, usually at the Home University (administrative seat).

Before completing the online application for the activation of a PhD programme in co-tutelle de thesis, we advice to:

  • get the appropriate contacts with the administrative relevant offices at both universities to verify the feasibility of the co-tutelle path taking into consideration the laws and regulations of the specific country and institution (e.g.: timing and requirements for registration, rules regarding the final examination, needs of the partners regarding the period spent abroad and the payment of taxes, etc.);
  • identify a professor (usually the supervisor) at the Home University who can help in evaluating the feasibility from an academic and scientific point of view and  in indentifing at the Host Institution:
    - a Doctoral Programme similar to the Doctoral Programme to which the PhD students is enrolled at the Home University;
    - a second supervisor, possibly with the support of the reference professor, at the Home University.

Award of the PhD double degree

In order to obtain the double doctoral degree, PhD students must fulfil the requirements foreseen by both institutions. 
Such requirements may vary from country to country. Students are therefore invited to carefully check beforehand with the hosting institution for any further required formalities.


Co-tutelle for UniTrento PhD students (out-going)
Co-tutelle for PhD students enrolled at a foreign university (in-coming)

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