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Graduate Studies

Cotutelle 2

What is a cotutelle?

A cotutelle refers to a PhD jointly awarded by two post-secondary institutions, typically from different countries.

A cotutelle degree promotes international collaboration in ways that allow students access to a broader range of research experience than would be available at a single institution.

Full-time doctoral students can take advantage of an exceptional opportunity to earn a joint PhD degree while developing strong connections with international partners. Students must satisfy each institution’s degree requirements, are supervised by a faculty member from each of the universities and submit their dissertation to both universities prior to graduation.

Successful candidates receive a PhD degree from McMaster and the partner institution. Wording on transcripts and parchments from both institutions shall specify the degree was awarded as having been completed “in cotutelle” with the other institution.

Where do I pay tuition and fees?


Where can I do a cotutelle?

You are eligible to register at any international accredited university that is open to a cotutelle agreement. McMaster supervisors must approve the partner university and agree to work in collaboration with the chosen co-supervisor.

What are the steps and timelines to apply for a cotutelle?

If you are interested in participating in a cotutelle, you should first talk to your supervisor and find out of this is a viable option for you. The cotutelle agreement should be established as early as possible; normally within the first year of your PhD.

You will complete a Letter of Intent (LOI) and the Cotutelle checklist which are signed by the supervisors from each university.

Your supervisor will submit these documents to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies of the respective Faculty at the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). After they review and sign these documents, the school will send to the Office of International Affairs.

International Affairs will create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities. The MOU must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies before you can begin your cotutelle.

You must also follow the appropriate application procedures for the host university.

Students coming to McMaster as the host institution must submit an online application and be accepted as a PhD student.  If a cotutelle agreement is initiated by a partner institution it will be considered under the guidelines established by the home university.

Important documents

Cotutelle Policy: Review McMaster’s complete cotutelle policy, procedures and guidelines.

Letter of Intent (LOI) template<DOCUMENT NEEDED> to be completed by student and supervisors

The Letter of Intent to complete a cotutelle includes a description of the research project and study plan, it is signed by the student and both supervisors and submitted to the associate dean of Graduate Studies for their respective faculty (SGS – GH 212), for their review and signature.

The Cotutelle Checklist <DOCUMENT NEEDED> is to be completed by student and supervisors.

The cotutelle checklist provides the student and supervisors with a template to contemplate the requirements stated in the policy, and is signed by both supervisors, the Dean of the respective faculty and the Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The MOU between both universities is created by McMaster’s Office of International Affairs and needs approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Contact Information

Questions concerning cotutelle at McMaster should be directed to the coordinator, International Graduate Students.