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Chapter VII. Cotutelle PhD thesis

Regulations Governing the Management of Doctoral Studies

The immediate aim of the cotutelle scheme is to allow students to obtain their PhD degree from two universities acting reciprocally and to foster scientific co-operation between the two institutions. Notwithstanding the adoption of framework agreements between the UPV/EHU and other foreign universities allowing cotutelle agreements to be developed between all the signatory universities, the cotutelle may only be established with one university in each case and in accordance with the terms of a specific agreement signed to this end.

Article 27. Eligibility for cotutelle schemes.

Two types of students may be interested in completing a cotutelle PhD thesis in the UPV/EHU and another overseas university: 1) students who are already enrolled in a UPV/EHU doctoral programme and who will subsequently enrol in a doctoral programme in an overseas university and 2) students who are enrolled in a doctoral programme in an overseas university and who will subsequently enrol in a doctoral programme at the UPV/EHU.

In order to be eligible for the cotutelle scheme, students enrolled either at the UPV/EHU or at an overseas university must submit an application to the Academic Commission of the corresponding doctoral programme of the UPV/EHU. This application must be signed by both the supervisor from the UPV/EHU and the supervisor from the overseas university. The Academic Commission of the doctoral programme shall forward the application and its approval to the Doctoral School, which must ensure compliance with all academic and procedural requirements set out in current regulations and forward it to the UPV/EHU’s Postgraduate Commission to rule on final authorisation of cotutelle.

Cotutelle agreements may only be authorised during the first year of research following enrolment in the doctoral programme. In exceptional circumstances and where suitable grounds are given, cotutelle agreements may be authorised during the second year of the research work. In such exceptional cases, the cotutelle thesis shall be completed within a period not exceeding two years. An extension may be authorised for a further year, which might in exceptional circumstances be extended for another additional year.

Article 28. Inter-university cotutelle agreements.

Cotutelle PhD theses require a specific agreement between the UPV/EHU and another overseas university. It is the responsibility of the Doctoral School in the UPV/EHU to prepare and/or process this agreement. The Postgraduate Commission shall be responsible for approving the agreement. Before the agreement may start to be prepared and/or processed, the students in question must previously be enrolled in one of the universities, i.e. the UPV/EHU or the overseas university.

Following approval by the Postgraduate Commission, the specific agreements must be signed by the Vice-chancellor of the UPV/EHU or any person delegated thereby.

The provisions of the specific cotutelle agreement may only be altered in strictly exceptional circumstances, with authorisation from the UPV/EHU’s Postgraduate Commission and subsequent approval of the Vice-chancellors of the two universities.

Article 29. Enrolment for cotutelle PhD theses.

Once the agreement has been signed, students must enrol in the second university. The enrolment fees shall be paid to the university and within the academic years and periods established in the agreement.

Article 30. Preparation and presentation of cotutelle PhD theses.

  1. The PhD thesis must be written under the supervision and responsibility of a single supervisor from the UPV/EHU, and as many supervisors as may be required by the regulations of the other university. Tutors shall in all cases be appointed in accordance with the requirements of each university. For the purposes of enrolment in the UPV/EHU, a maximum of one supervisor shall be appointed by each of the universities. Any change in the thesis supervisor(s) must be notified to the other university.
  2. The research involved in the PhD thesis shall be conducted at the two universities within a period of no more than three years (exceptionally, an extension of a further two years may be granted), from enrolment in the UPV/EHU. The sojourns must be distributed between the universities in periods of alternating sojourns. In no case may the total time spent in each university be less than nine months. The remainder of the time must be completed at the other university. Said sojourn may be spent all at once or in smaller periods. The period of the sojourn shall be calculated from enrolment in the doctoral programme in the university of origin. The doctoral programme’s Academic Commission shall be responsible for monitoring and controlling progress of the thesis.
  3. The thesis may be written in the habitual language for scientific communication in the corresponding field of knowledge, or in one of the official languages of the signatory universities. In all cases, if the thesis is written in a language other than any of the official languages of the universities, an abstract of at least five pages in length must be included in one of these languages.
  4. The thesis shall be presented and submitted for academic registry as established under the regulations currently in force in the university in which the thesis is to be defended, with the approval of the other university.
  5. The two host institutions shall ensure publication, use and protection of the research outcomes, in accordance with the specific procedures of the country in question.
  6. Students in a cotutelle agreement may apply for an ‘International Doctorate’ distinction, provided they meet the relevant requirements.

Article 31. Examination committee for cotutelle PhD theses.

The examination committee assessing the PhD thesis shall be appointed by common agreement between the two universities. The composition of the examination committee must comply with current regulations in the university where the viva voce examination is held, respecting the criteria established in the cotutelle agreement.

The designation of the examination committee must be accompanied by a certificate from the two universities accrediting the length of the student’s sojourn in each institution.

Article 32. Defence of cotutelle PhD theses.

The systems for submitting the PhD thesis for academic registry and for its defence shall be the same as those applying to doctoral studies in the university in which the thesis is to be defended.

The PhD thesis shall be defended at the university expressly stipulated in the agreement. The student must make payment of the fees for the defence of his/her thesis at the university in which the examination is to be held. Said university shall be responsible for reimbursing the expenses incurred by members of the examination committee for the thesis.

If the thesis is defended at the UPV/EHU, all procedures for admission of the thesis, appointment of the examination committee and the viva voce examination shall be carried out in the ordinary manner established in current legislation and regulations. In addition to the other documentation, the students must also submit official certification of his/her sojourns at the other university.

If the viva voce examination is conducted at the other university, the procedures shall be conducted in accordance with applicable legislation at that university. Nonetheless, said university shall send an official certificate of the viva voce examination to the UPV/EHU’s Postgraduate Studies Service. This certificate must, at minimum, include the date of the viva, the grade obtained, the composition of the examination committee and two copies of the PhD thesis (one in electronic format).

Article 33. Awarding of the cotutelle PhD degree.

Following defence of the thesis, the student may request that his/her doctorate be awarded by the participating universities, in accordance with their current legislation and the provisions of the corresponding agreement. Insofar as legislation on the awarding of official university degrees so permits, the phrase ‘Cotutela con la universidad de …’ [Cotutelle with the University of …] shall be included on the obverse of the degree certificate.