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Cotutelle (International joint supervision)

The UAB may execute agreements with foreign universities for PhD theses to be written under cotutelle. In this case, the PhD students will be assigned a thesis supervisor at each of the two centres subscribing to the agreement.

Agreements may only be signed within the first year of research, which is understood to begin on the date when the admission to the doctoral programme of the UAB is registered. You must keep in mind that the approximate time of processing the joint supervision is six months. Therefore, you must initiate the process, submitting the application in the Doctoral School, in sufficient time.

Once the doctoral candidate has successfully defended the thesis written under cotutelle, he/she is entitled to two PhD degree certificates, one from each centre, as agreed by both institutions.

Before starting your stay you have to contact the INSS (Social Security) to know if your stay requires any procedure or special requirement to enjoy health coverage abroad. If the INSS requires you, you must carry out the corresponding procedures. Check this link to travel abroad and Relation of universities/Institucions with Cotutela


Activitats en català per a doctorands

First you must agree the basic aspects of the agreement with the other university bearing in mind:
  • Period to be spent at each university: the minimun stay in each university must be six months, during the total period of the thesis. This period can be divided between different academic years.
  • Payments: independently of what you are asked to pay by the other university, the administrative fees must be paid each year to the UAB. The academic fees may be paid to each university depending on your agreement.
  • Language of the thesis: both the writing and defense of the thesis must be in one of the languages accepted by the university where you defend the thesis and must be accompanied by a summary in one of the languages accepted by the other university.
  • Composition of the examining board: between three and eight members with two or three reserves. Most of the examining board members should be external to both universities. The supervisors may only form part of examining boards with 5 members or more.
  • Place of defense of the thesis: you must agree whether this will be at the UAB or the other university.

To facilitate the process, we recommend that you use our models, since they contain all the information necessary to sign the cotutelle. However, it is also possible, in some cases, to use the models provided by the other university. In these latter cases, the deadline for processing will probably be extended, so it will be necessary to submit the application well in advance.

Model cotutelle agreement (catalan)

- Model cotutelle agreement (spanish)

- Model cotutelle agreement (English)



Requests the Permanent Board of the Doctorate School to process the cotutela, using the form you will find on its website.

If you have any queries about this request, you can write to (if you send an email, you must identify yourself by indicating your ID / passport, NIU, name and surname) for consideration and approval by the School for Doctoral Studies.


Once the Permanent Board has approved your application you can begin the signing process with the Doctoral Studies Administration Office. You should provide the number of copies requested by each university.

  • If the agreement is signed first at the UAB and then all the originals are sent to the other university for signing. When all the copies have been signed by both universities you must send us a complete copy of an original within 6 months of the approval of the document for the joint supervision to be valid.
  • If the agreement is signed first at the other university, the UAB will complete the signing process on receipt of the copies signed by the other university and send it the required number of originals.
  • The PhD candidate has the right to one of the originals.

From that time you should continue working on the thesis under the same general conditions as the other PhD candidates at the UAB while fulfilling any conditions specified in the cotutelle agreement, such as the commitment document, the activities, the registrations that have to be done each academic year, their payments, the annual PhD reviews, the deposit or defense of the thesis. You must justify the different stays in each university in your file, in te section activities:

  • 62-Joint-Supervision_Research stay in foreign centers, public or private
  • 63-Joint-Supervision_Research stay at the UAB

The stay certificate for activity 62 cannot be signed by the thesis supervisor of the other university; it can be signed by the person in charge of the center, etc. On the other hand, the certificate for activity 63 must be signed by the thesis supervisor of the UAB.
If you are doing a thesis under international joint supervision, remember that you can easily obtain the international doctoral research component, wich will also appear in the PhD certificate. You can check the espedific requirements for this component by following this link.

To carry out the activities management, consult the video at the beginning of this section or the UAB self-service tutorial.

Finally, in the case of a single thesis defence and in  accordance with the specific details of the agreement, the universities will issue individual PhD certificates once the specific administrative procedures have been carried out for the issue of the certificate. The UAB will include on the front of title the diligence of "Thesis on cotutelle (international joint supervision)" with the indication of the university which has made the joint supervision.

In the case of regulations for cotutelle at a higher level than those of the UAB the agreement may be affected in terms of certificate issue, composition of the examining board, etc.


If you did not find in this page the information you need, you can contact the School for Doctoral Studies at (if you send an email, you must identify yourself by indicating your ID / passport, NIU, name and surname).


For theses written under an agreement for cotutelle with a university abroad, if the defence takes place at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the procedure is the same as for theses not written under cotutelle, with the following differences.

1. The composition of the thesis examining board is determined by the cooperation agreement signed between the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the foreign university.

If the defence takes place at the other university, you must have been admitted to a PhD programme, paid the registration fees, and registered the thesis project on the corresponding PhD programme.

At the UAB you have to register your thesis at the Doctoral School, and at the other university you have to begin organising the thesis defence, following the corresponding procedure in each case.

The thesis examining board must comply with the provisions of the cooperation agreement signed between the two universities. The board needs to be approved by the foreign university and by the UAB.

The Doctoral School must be given notice of the date, place and time of the defence by the department in charge at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, with sufficient time to make this information public. Additionally, the UAB's report on the thesis defence, signed by the examining board, is sent to the thesis supervisor to be signed on the day the thesis is defended at the foreign university, and returned to the Doctoral School.

The arrangements for obtaining the PhD certificate are the same as those for theses defended at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.