Christa Weers

+49 (0)441 798-2438

Latin- and Northamerica

Jessica Janßen

+49 (0)441 798-4668

For all other countries

Roman Behrens

+49 (0)441 798-4266

Joint PhD programmes (doctorate) / Cotutelles

A jointly supervised and jointly awarded PhD/ doctorate, or cotutelle, offers students the chance to carry out their research at two universities in two different countries (binational), resulting in a dual degree award: a doctorate from the University of Oldenburg and an equivalent doctorate from the partner university. Students will be enrolled at both universities and will undertake research at each of them over an equal period of time, if possible.

To provide guidance to doctoral candidates completing a cotutelle, an agreement will be drawn up including joint guidelines and regulations which both institutions accept as legally binding.

It is not, however, recommended to students who only wish to be supervised by a co-examiner from a foreign country. In this case, a cotutelle is not necessary since a co-examiner from a foreign country may be involved in the doctorate/ PhD examination process upon individual request.

The agreement between the universities stipulates that both institutions abide by the regulations that have been determined and agreed upon. Regulations define standards of performance, supervision, and examination: both institutions are recognised as eligible to offer joint doctoral programmes, students will be under joint supervision by professors from each university, professors from both universities will be members of the examination board, and the student will be awarded a dual degree from both institutions. Further details will be stated in the agreement drawn up by the University of Oldenburg and the partner university (see procedure).

A joint PhD degree / doctorate is recommended to students who

  • wish to carry out their research at home and in a foreign country;
  • seek employability in both countries;
  • wish to work in the field of transnational cooperation;
  • do research in a subject that is closely related to the foreign country.

Please note that a cotutelle (joint PhD degree/ doctorate) is not a double, but a dual degree jointly awarded from two universities. Doctoral candidates write one thesis which they submit to both universities. Upon successful submission of the thesis and completion of the oral examination (disputation, viva voce exam), the student will be awarded a (single) doctorate that is in accordance with the basic provisions of the German laws governing examinations and thus accepted in Germany!


It is recommended that doctoral candidates who would like to complete a joint doctorate speak to the PhD examination board of their local university first to discuss their proposed research project and to clarify and confirm the legal framework and procedures.

Upon confirmation, students will have to gain admission to both universities and apply for the joint PhD programme/ doctorate. During the application process, an individual agreement will be drawn up and will include all the details of the proposed jointly supervised doctorate. Both universities will accept the regulations as legally binding.

If the partner university abroad does not require further regulations, please use the draft contract for joint PhD programmes (cotutelles) provided by the University of Oldenburg. The draft contract is not formally binding, but may be adjusted if needed. It may also include a text provided by the partner institution abroad. In both cases, however, an additional legal examination and approval by our Legal Affairs Office will be required. The legal examination is made upon request from the respective faculty's PhD examination board or from the International Office.

The agreement on the joint PhD programme will be signed by the doctoral candidate, by both his/her supervisors, by the principal academic and administrative offices at both universities (executive boards), and by the chair of the PhD examination board from the school involved at the University of Oldenburg.

Focusing on contract review (in close collaboration with the legal affairs unit), the International Office provides support for cotutelle procedures from an administration perspective with a view to enabling the president to sign the agreement. For subject-related or regulatory aspects, doctoral candidates should contact their supervisor or the relevant examining board.

(Changed: 29 Apr 2024)  | 
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