Binational Doctorate

No matter whether you decide on an individual or structured doctorate, you can conduct your research within the framework of a binational doctorate (Cotutelle de Thèse) under the joint supervision of two universities - the BTU and a foreign university. In this case, a thesis is written and, if successfully defended, a doctoral degree is awarded by two universities, which may be used in both countries in the respective valid form.

Joint doctoral studies with a foreign university are possible at all BTU faculties. There are also no restrictions in principle regarding the cooperating countries. The decisive factors for achieving a binational doctorate are the cooperativeness of the respective supervisors and institutions as well as the compatibility of the respective applicable doctoral regulations.

The doctorate is based on an individual Cotutelle agreement, which regulates the details of this cooperation and is drawn up as early as possible in the doctoral phase, as coordination with the partner universities can take some time.

In most cases, Cotutelle doctorates take place individually. To standardise Cotutelle cooperations and shorten administrative processes, the BTU also concludes Cotutelle framework agreements with foreign partner universities.

Aims of a Cotutelle Doctorate
  • Scientific connection in two countries
  • Improved realisation of an internationally oriented research topic
  • Formal proof of international mobility during the doctoral phase
  • More intensive experience of the language and culture in the foreign partner country
  • Possible advantages when starting a career in the partner country
  • Expansion of existing academic cooperation with the partner university
  • One supervisor at the BTU and one at the foreign university who agree to supervise a binational doctorate
  • Admission as a doctoral student at both universities
  • Signing of a Cotutelle agreement between the partner universities
  • Research stays completed at both universities
Procedure of a Cotutelle Doctorate

1. Commitment of supervision by university professors at both universities

The essential element of a Cotutelle doctorate is the joint supervision. Therefore, you need a supervision confirmation from the respective partner university. We recommend that you conclude a joint supervision agreement between you and the supervisors at both universities.

2. Assessment of the admisson requirements

Before preparing a cooperation agreement, it must be checked whether you meet the admission requirements at both universities.

3. Preparation and signing of the Cotutelle agreement

The Unit for Young Academics contacts the partner university and prepares the Cotutelle agreement in several steps. The supervisors are involved in this process.

4. Application for admission as a doctoral candidate

You should apply for admission as a doctoral candidate at the partner universities at the latest after completing the Cotutelle agreement. During your Cotutelle doctorate, you must spend at least 12 months conducting research at the partner university.

5. Realisation of the joint doctoral procedure

After submitting the dissertation, a joint doctoral procedure will be carried out, which follows a procedure agreed upon in the Cotutelle agreement. As a rule, the procedure is carried out at the home university. After the successful defence, both universities award the doctoral degree.

Funding Options

German Academic Exchange Service DAAD

Research Grants - Bi-nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees / Cotutelle

Funding to carry out binationally supervised doctorates or cotutelle doctorates

  • Duration of funding: 7 to a maximum of 24 funding months
  • Value: during the stay in Germany: 1,200 € per month
  • No scholarship payments during the stay at the foreign university
  • Further scholarship benefits include: travel allowance, research allowance, travel and accommodation costs for supervising university professors
  • Application deadline: depends on the doctoral candidate's country of origin and must be checked individually

Research Scholarships for Doctoral Candidates

Funding for research projects abroad within the framework of a doctorate (also for doctoral candidates without German citizenship).

  • Duration of funding: 1 to a maximum of 12 months per sponsorship, 2 sponsorships possible, total sponsorship period maximum 18 months
  • Value: scholarship rate fixed according to host country
  • Further scholarship benefits include: travel allowance, monthly allowance of 102 € for research and conference costs
  • Application deadlines: 3 application deadlines per year - June, November and March

Additional Funding for the State Graduate Programme - GRAFÖG

Additional scholarship for funding doctoral studies abroad

  • Duration of funding: at least 30 days, up to 12 months
  • Value: Additional funding for to the cost of living abroad (difference between the DAAD scholarship rate for doctoral candidates for the partner country and the standard scholarship rate within the framework of the State Graduate Funding Acts)
  • Other scholarship benefits include: travel allowance, monthly allowance of 102 € for research and conference costs, travel and accommodation costs for supervising university professors in the case of binationally supervised doctorates
  • Application deadline: year-round


German-French University

Mobility grant for Franco-German cotutelle doctorates

  • Duration of funding: 3 years, extension by 2 years is possible
  • Value: 4,000 € for the duration of the entire doctorate, an additional 1,000 € reserved for the defence
  • Application deadlines: year-round

Further information on how to initiate and conduct a Cotutelle doctorate can be found on the intranet under Cotutelle de Thèse.