Double Doctoral Degree

A ‘Cotutelle’ (or ‘DOUBLE Doctoral Degree’) program enables a doctoral student to defend a single doctoral dissertation and thereby earn a doctorate at the two institutions concerned.


Cotutelle (or double doctoral degree) refers to the awarding of a doctoral diploma shared by two universities based on a single defense. The work is supervised by two dissertation directors, one at each establishment. The diploma must indicate the international Cotutelle between the two universities. 

A Cotutelle agreement must be signed between the two institutions concerned in order for a Cotutelle doctoral dissertation to be undertaken. The agreement stipulates the administrative details for the dissertation, including time limits, the number of committee members at the defense, and the degree title awarded by each university. The agreement is signed by the two dissertation directors, the deans or directors of the doctoral schools, and by the Rectors/Presidents of the two establishments.

The Cotutelle agreement must be put in place during the first two years of doctoral studies.

It is possible to arrange a Cotutelle program with any of our partner institutions, but also with establishments in the European Union and in EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). For other universities, requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

From a practical standpoint, the student must be enrolled at both universities and must have two dissertation directors, one at each establishment. As stipulated in Article 77.2.d of the University of Geneva Statutes, doctoral students are subject to full fees of CHF 500.00 for the semester they enroll at UNIGE and for the final semester of their dissertation; their administrative fees are waived for all other semesters, and they are thus subject only to the fixed fees of CHF 65. If the doctoral student is also a Research and Teaching Assistant, Article 77.2.a applies.

Once the Cotutelle agreement is drawn up and signed by the two institutions, the student is officially registered as a Cotutelle doctoral student.

He or she is subject to the rules and regulations for doctoral studies of the Faculty concerned, and must meet all requirements for the issuance of the doctoral degree.