Go to content

Cotutelles, Co-supervision & European Label

Dernière mise à jour :

The University of Bordeaux encourages the international development of its PhD students. A number of options are available to provide a framework for your research partnership and to foster the recognition of your PhD degree at the European and international level.

  • 150

    cotutelle doctorates

  • 100

    international partners

COTUTELLE doctoral program

An international cotutelle doctoral program - a genuine partnership between two research teams in different countries - enables your PhD to be jointly supervised by the University of Bordeaux and a university institution abroad, with a view to receiving a double degree.

A cotutelle offers you a number of advantages:

  • shared mobility between two countries
  • dual expertise in supervising your research
  • access to the disciplinary and cross-disciplinary facilities and training courses at both universities
  • acquisition and development of your skills
  • expansion of your international professional network
  • a double doctoral degree

Step One: project and prerequisites for your cotutelle PhD

Before embarking on the preparation of a cotutelle PhD, you need to make sure you have the following components, which are the same for all PhD students: a thesis project, a thesis supervisor with an HDR accreditation or ADT authorisation to supervise a thesis in a University of Bordeaux research unit and an accredited supervisor in the partner university, a doctoral speciality and funding (depending on the doctoral schools).

Prerequisites for a cotutelle doctoral program at the University of Bordeaux:

  • At the start of your PhD: You must enroll in 1st year at both universities simultaneously (the same academic year).
  • Enrollment: You must renew your enrollment every year in both universities. However, payment of registration fees will be specified in the cotutelle contract (in general, on an alternative basis unless otherwise specified by both institutions. Please note: registration fees may vary substantially depending on the partner institution; you should therefore enquire about the amount before starting the project.
  • Co-supervision: You will have 2 thesis supervisors, both accredited to supervise a thesis, one in each partner institution.
  • Validation: the cotutelle PhD will be made official by means of a contract validated by both administrations (at the University of Bordeaux, by the Graduate Research School) and signed by both institutions before the end of the 1st year of the PhD.
  • Duration of your PhD: A cotutelle doctoral program lasts 3 years, with the possibility of an additional year if authorised by the University of Bordeaux doctoral school and the partner institution.
  • Allocation of time: Your doctoral project should plan for equal periods between the 2 institutions, i.e. approximately 18 months spent at each institution for a 3-year doctorate (not necessarily consecutive periods of time).
  • Funding: A cotutelle doctoral program raises the question of funding for the doctorate (with regard to the doctoral school's prerequisites), as well as funding for stays at the partner institution, which should be considered before you begin the project.
  • Training: You will be required to attend at least 50 hours of training at the University of Bordeaux (instead of 100 hrs.), based on the doctoral school's prerequisites, divided between disciplinary and cross-disciplinary training, and including compulsory courses.
  • Dissertation: You will write a single dissertation (in French, English accepted).
  • Defense: You will defend your thesis during a session in one of the two institutions.
  • Diplomas: Upon approval (favourable opinion) by the thesis jury, you will be awarded a joint PhD degree with 2 diplomas (one from each institution).

Step Two: setting up your cotutelle PhD

You must apply for admission to the doctoral school in your speciality, which will examine your application based on its admission criteria and prerequisites. If the doctoral school does not authorise you to enroll, the cotutelle program will not be possible.

At the same time as the doctoral school admission procedure, your University of Bordeaux thesis supervisor, in their capacity as your research project leader, must contact the doctoral internationalisation office to submit the cotutelle project: cotutelledoctorat@u-bordeaux.fr. As a reminder, this request must be made in the first year of your doctorate.

At the University of Bordeaux, the Graduate Research School internationalisation office is responsible for setting up cotutelle programs. It appraises projects as well as negotiates, drafts, validates and signs cotutelle contracts.

Need to modify your contract?

If your cotutelle contract is already signed but it needs to be amended:

  • In the event of an extension: first contact your doctoral school for authorisation to re-enroll; if you are granted authorisation, contact cotutelledoctorat@u-bordeaux.fr
  • In the event of a change to the contract (mobility schedule, place of thesis defence, etc.) is required: contact cotutelledoctorat@u-bordeaux.fr


International co-supervision is a process that allows you to benefit from the expertise of two thesis supervisors and to contribute to developing scientific collaboration between French and foreign research teams.

Via this process, you will be enrolled in only one university, with 2 thesis supervisors, one from the University of Bordeaux and the other from a foreign university, who will share the scientific supervision of your research work. A single degree will be awarded on completion of your PhD.

This arrangement also offers a number of advantages in scientific and human terms (dual supervision, prospects for international mobility, access to the facilities of both institutions, development of your professional network, etc.).

If you are enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Bordeaux:

  • the international co-supervision must be declared as soon as you enroll in your PhD program and at the latest before the end of the 2nd year of your PhD;
  • mobility at the partner institution is strongly recommended;
  • an international jury is recommended for the thesis defense;
  • international co-supervision may require drawing up a collaborative contract between the University of Bordeaux and the partner institution (in particular for issues related to intellectual property, patent registration, etc.). 


The European Doctorate or "Doctor Europaeus" label is a program that recognises the European and international dimension of a PhD. It is distinct from cotutelles and co-supervision, with which it can be combined.

During your PhD

  • A research visit of at least three months must be done in a member state of the European Community other than the country where you are enrolled and defending your thesis.

Before your thesis defense

  • The request must be submitted when the thesis defense application is filed.
  • Pre-defense reviews must be written by at least two professors in institutions of higher education from two European countries other than the country where you are enrolled and defending your thesis.

During your thesis defense

  • At least one member of the jury must be from an institution of higher education from a European country other than the country where you are enrolled and defending your thesis.
  • Part of the defense must be made in a national European language other than the national language(s) of the country where you are enrolled and defending your thesis.

After your thesis defense

  • A "European Doctorate Label" certificate will be awarded by the University of Bordeaux, at the same time as the PhD degree.


  • Coline LAPOINTE

    Project Officer - Cotutelles

    Bât. A 33 - Bur. 59 - Campus Peixotto

    +33 (0)5 40 00 27 01


Our location:

Bât A33 – Bur. 59
Campus Talence Peixotto
(Tram B - Forum or Peixotto stop)
351 cours de la Libération 33405 TALENCE