Joint PhD & Co-Tutelle

UBC is currently reviewing its framework for affiliation agreements, which includes Joint PhD agreements. While this review is underway, new Joint PhD agreements will be accepted for consideration only in exceptional circumstances.

There are several other arrangements that provide many of the benefits of a Joint PhD agreement, with considerably less complexity.

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

Co-supervision by faculty at another university

See above links for more information.

Joint PhD / Co-tutelle

  • A Joint PhD is a single PhD degree jointly awarded by two universities. It is not two PhD degrees.
  • A Joint PhD student’s application, enrolment, and academic program must meet the PhD requirements of both universities.
  • A Joint PhD is a collaborative academic endeavour of scholarship and research designed, supervised, and examined by qualified faculty from both universities.
  • It is expected that Joint PhD degree arrangements will be established before the start of the PhD program at either institution. Please note that it often takes 6-8 months to negotiate the Joint PhD Agreement.

STEPs to applying for a Joint PhD:

  1. Joint PhD agreements will be considered only in cases where there is an existing strategic partnership and where multiple students are expected to benefit from a joint PhD offering. Prospective students interested in pursuing a joint PhD must first confirm, normally with the assistance of potential faculty supervisor(s), that an approved, institutional-level partnership agreement exists between UBC and the proposed partner university.
  2. The prospective student must submit to
    • A copy of the partnership agreement (see point 1 above).
    • A rationale from the proposed faculty supervisor focusing on why a Joint PhD is in the interest of the institutions involved and how multiple students will benefit (maximum two pages).
  3. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) will review the submitted materials. If the application is supported by G+PS, it will be forwarded to the Dean of the prospective student’s disciplinary Faculty (Faculty Dean) for review. The decision of the Faculty Dean will be provided to the prospective student by G+PS.
  4. If the application is supported by the Faculty Dean, the prospective student will:
    • Complete the Joint PhD Agreement - without obtaining signatures - and submit the draft to G+PS will work with the prospective student and the partner university to ensure that the agreement is satisfactory before obtaining final signatures.
    • Apply to the PhD program following the normal UBC application process and follow requirements for enrolment at the partner university. All admission requirements apply as normal for joint PhD students.
  5. Once the agreement receives all final approvals and the student is admitted to both universities, the student will begin their joint PhD study.


Normally, the student will pay tuition at only one university which is designated as the "Lead" university. Mandatory student fees will normally be paid at the institution in which the student is in residence for a given academic term. Financial support for the student is to be worked out between the co-supervisors at the two institutions and reflected in the Joint PhD Agreement.


Funding arrangements are established between the two supervisors and the student, in accordance with policy and set out in the Joint PhD Agreement.