International doctoral procedures

The ‘Cotutelle-de-Thèse,’ or double doctorate, procedure aims to create and expand scientific cooperation between German and international research institutions by funding mobility among doctoral candidates. At the end of the doctoral examination procedure, both partner universities present a jointly produced certificate.

Process / procedure

The supervisor submits written evidence to the Doctoral Committee and the Faculty Council as to why the double doctorate is in the Faculty’s best interests, and requests approval to conduct the procedure. If the Faculty Council approves the Cotutelle-de-Thèse procedure, then the following steps are required:

  • The creation of a contract that governs the modalities of the international doctoral procedure (German, English, or French with a German translation) by the doctoral candidate together with the supervisor (model contracts in German and English are available on the Intranet and in the International Relations Office).
  • The contract will only be reviewed by the International Relations Office or the Division for Human Resources and Legal Matters if the contract deviates from the model contract. 
  • The doctoral candidate submits the contract text to the Doctoral Committee for final approval. The Doctoral Committee informs the International Relations Office of its decision.
  • The contract is signed by the Dean. The doctoral candidate collects the signature of the partner institution.

    Instructions for the Cotutelle-de-Thèse (double doctorate) procedure

     ‘Cotutelle’ doctoral candidates produce their work under the supervision and responsibility of a supervisor from each country. 

    • Each ‘Cotutelle de Thèse’ takes place in the framework of an agreement between the two participating institutions of higher education, whereby the principle of reciprocity applies and the validity of a doctoral degree acquired under this framework is recognized. 
    • The time required for preparing the dissertation is split between the German institution and the partner institution. 
    • A dissertation prepared in the ‘Cotutelle’ program is composed in one of the two national languages and supplemented by a summary in the other language. 
    • A ‘Cotutelle’ dissertation is defended in one of the two national languages during a one-time disputation recognized by both sides. An oral summary takes place in the other language. 
    • The Examination Committee assembled by the two partner institutions is comprised of an equal number of scholars from both countries. At the end of the procedure, both partner universities present a jointly produced certificate. 


    As in any other doctoral examination procedure, the doctoral candidate submits the following documents to the Office of the Dean to request admission into doctoral students.

    • Enrollment application
    • CV in German and in columnar format, as well as passport photo
    • Report of intent to pursue doctoral studies 
    • Supervision agreement containing information on the rights and obligations of supervisors and the doctoral candidate
    • Certificate of a university degree (certified copy); certificates of examinations passed in other countries require clarification of equivalence from the International Relations Office 
    • If necessary, an exmatriculation certificate from the last university attended in Germany
    • Proof of health insurance
    • If necessary, a copy of the letter of award for a scholarship
    • For international applicants: if necessary, a residence permit for the purpose of completing doctoral studies