Visiting + Incoming Exchange

Individualized Joint PhD/ Cotutelle

Under a Cotutelle you will be undertaking course work and research at two institutions. You will receive international exposure and experience and learn from leading academic minds in your field. Cotutelle’s are only available for doctoral programs.

Cotutelle programs are customized for the individual’s research interests and the requirements of the two institutions. At the completion of the program, you will receive a single degree which is recognized by both participating institutions, with a notation on the final transcript (and usually on the parchments) stating the degree was obtained under a Joint PhD/Cotutelle agreement.

Cotutelle agreements must be established in advance and take many revisions as the agreement must satisfy requirements at both partner institutions. The prospective cotutelle student and supervisors at both institutions are responsible for making the revisions and submitting them for feedback.

Cotutelle Admission Application Process at SFU

Identify a potential supervisor at each institution and make contact

  You must provide a rationale for creating a cotutelle agreement and explain why a cotutelle would be better suited for their research instead of a visiting research agreement.

Ensure you meet the admissions criteria at both institutions

  SFU’s requirements for admission include a master’s degree with a minimum equivalent of B, proof of English Proficiency, and evidence that the applicant is capable of undertaking substantial original research.

Start working on the Cotutelle Agreement

  SFU has a template for the agreement which must be followed or if the partner institution has a template it may be used only if all aspects of SFU’s agreement are incorporated. It is your responsibility to complete this agreement with your potential supervisors. Once an initial draft is written, email it to for an initial review to ensure all university regulations at SFU are included. This should be done 6-8 months in advance of the initial start date of the cotutelle. Multiple revisions may be necessary to compile with both institutional requirements.

Cotutelle Agreement Template

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Signed Agreement and Admission

  Once you, your supervisors, Graduate Studies and the partner institution agree to the cotutelle, it is your responsibility to collect the necessary signatures. Most international institutions require the agreement to have original signatures therefore the agreement is signed in full at one institution and then mailed to the other institution for the remaining signatures. A copy of the full signed document is needed at by both institutions.

While gathering signatures, you now may apply to the graduate program through the application system at both institutions. At SFU this is an online application made through your intended SFU program. In the application ensure in the additional comments area to include that this will be through a cotutelle.

SFU Online Application System

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Accept Admission  

  You will need to accept admission at both institutions. Once admitted you will need to enroll based on the enrollment schedule in your cotutelle agreement. If you are at the partner institution you will be enrolled in GRAD 700 at SFU to maintain your status as a graduate student at SFU.

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