Cotutelle de Thèse | Binational Joint Doctorate

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What is a cotutelle?

In a cotutelle/bi-national joint doctorate, the supervision of the doctoral thesis as well as the award of the doctoral degree are performed in conjunction at Goethe University and at an international (partner) university. Cotutelle means essentially that candidates take one joint examination procedure that is accepted by both universities and receive one joint binational doctoral degree. A binational joint doctorate helps getting international experts involved in your PhD project and strengthens your international professional profile. Before the start of a binational joint doctorate, you have to pass admission procedures at both universities and both universities have to conclude a specific contract.

What you definitely need as a doctoral student and supervisor at a Cotutelle: time and patience. A binational title has some advantages. However, negotiating a contract and organizing a joint examination procedure is much more time-consuming than a "normal" stay abroad at another university. But don't worry: We can't do all the work for you, but we will gladly support you in your Cotutelle procedure!

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Who will support you with a cotutelle at Goethe University?

GRADE coordinates cotutelle procedures at Goethe University. We provide information on the specifics of bi-national doctorates, provide sample contracts and support contract negotiations. The first point of contact for doctoral candidates interested in a Cotutelle are the supervisors and the faculties.

What are the most important steps to get a cotutelle on the way?

1. Contacting two suitable supervisors at Goethe-University and at the partner university abroad early on. The contact person for doctoral candidates in the search for the co-supervisor is the (first) supervisor.
2. Application for admission as cotutelle doctoral candidate at the respective faculty - talk to the responsible doctoral office at the dean's office of your department. A general explanation of the admission process and requirements is available on the website of the Goethe Global Office.
3. Filling out the Goethe-University’s model contract for a Cotutelle doctorate. Send the completed contract to and the doctoral office at the dean's office of your faculty.

4. Negotiate the final contract with the partner university. Here GRADE and the doctoral office at Goethe-University will support you. At the partner university there is often also a coordination office for Cotutelle, which you should involve.

5. After conclusion of the negotiations and legal review: signing of the contract (by doctoral candidate, supervisors, faculty heads, heads of the universities).

Where can I find additional information?


All documents can also be found in our media library.
Some documents are only accessible in the university network of Goethe University.

Photo credits:

  • Hörsaalzentrum Treppenhaus – pk = Peter Kiefer, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
  • Bibliothekszentrum Geisteswissenschaften – jl = Jürgen Lecher, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
  • Labor Reagenzglas – ef = Elke Födisch, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt