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Cotutelle doctoral studies

The cotutelle de thèse (binational doctoral degree) system within the scope of Dr. phil. / Dr. rer. pol. degrees at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

Beginning of cotutelle doctoral studies at LMU

At the end of the 1990s, several doctoral students decided to conduct their future doctoral studies within the framework of a cotutelle (binational doctoral degree) agreement with universities in France. They had spent time studying in France during their Magister degrees and their supervisors in both countries set themselves the target of carrying on the joint work. A French “arrêté” (decree) dated 18.02.1994 laid the legal foundations for binational doctoral degrees.

Voilà! With the help and support of the French embassy, the Dr. phil. Doctoral Committee at LMU launched cotutelle doctoral studies in the humanities and the social sciences at LMU. Three agreements were concluded in August 1999 with the universities Paris 8, Paris XII and Tours.

Since then the Doctoral Committee has concluded cotutelle agreements with many universities in France as well as in other European countries: Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. The doctoral degree regulations (Dr. phil. / Dr. rer. pol.) were supplemented with an attachment which regulates the conclusion of cotutelle agreements.

The cotutelle system

The cotutelle system is especially for young academics who have already gained academic experience abroad during their first degree which they wish to deepen and expand, who are pursuing a particular area of research abroad, or who wish to benefit from a particular collaboration by two professors at LMU and in a foreign country.

In a joint examination procedure – which has as its basis an agreement between a foreign university and LMU – a doctoral degree is obtained. The supervision by professors at both universities, the enrolment and periods spent at the universities, and the examination arrangements (subject of the dissertation, language of the dissertation and the oral examination, members of the examination committee) are regulated in the agreement. After the doctoral degree has been completed (receipt of the dissertation, successful completion of the oral examination and publication of the dissertation), the LMU and the participating university undertake to give the candidate a doctoral certificate from each country which corresponds to the national regulations.

The skills are obtained in two countries which generally have different languages, cultures, and university systems. The cotutelle system facilitates mobility between the different systems. Thus it is especially tailored to candidates who are pursuing a particular international orientation in their academic career. The cotutelle system is not an appropriate apparatus if the doctoral student merely wishes the participation of a second examiner from a university in a foreign country. In such a case, the appropriate route would be the appointment of an examiner on an individual basis.