Graduate Research School Cotutelle Opportunities

Cotutelle Opportunities

JCU is committed to the delivery of high quality research training of PhD candidates through the provision of an exceptional research environment and access to opportunities to work with the best researchers internationally.

If you are from another university or you have a collaborator at another university, you might consider formalising this with a Cotutelle arrangement.

Current Cotutelle Partner Institutions

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many types of agreements in Higher Degree Research and different countries and institutions have different names and terms. For the purpose of this document we are concentrating on the following:

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Purpose: a framework for future cooperation

Legally binding/ non-binding: non-binding

Signatures required: Pro Vice Chancellor, International or equivalent  (until further advised)

Cotutelle/ Dual Award agreement

Purpose: the candidate enrols in both institutions and must comply fully with both institutions policies and procedures (ie milestones, examinations etc) and submits a single thesis for independent examination by both JCU and the Partner Institution.  Upon successful completion of a PhD, candidates will also be awarded two testamurs, one from each institution. JCU’s testamur will reference the partner institution.

Legally binding/ non-binding: binding

Signatures required: Vice Chancellor, JCU or Provost, JCU

Signatures required for Schedules in agreement: Associate Dean of Research Education (ADRE) ,Dean or representative from the GRS, Primary and Secondary advisor.

All of our international agreements (except Cotutelles) are looked after by the International Directorate. Please email for more information about setting up an MOU.  Please note that JCU cotutelle agreements do not need an overarching MOU to proceed. However, the other institution may ask for one. When this happens, JCU International and the Graduate Research School and College can work with the Partner Institution to organise.

For more information on current international institutional partners please see here

Cotutelle Doctoral Degree refers to a doctoral degree program that is undertaken jointly at James Cook University (JCU) and an international higher education institution. The program originated in France, hence the term cotutelle (as in co-tutoring). In Australia, many universities also use the term ‘Con-joint’ or ‘Dual Award’. They mean the same thing and at JCU we use those terms interchangeably.

A Cotutelle Doctoral Degree is that the PhD candidate (domestic or international) is supervised jointly by academics from both institutions and divides his/her candidature between JCU and the partner institution. The candidate enrols in both institutions and must comply fully with both institutions policies and procedures (ie milestones, examinations etc) and submits a single thesis for independent examination by both JCU and the Partner Institution.  Upon successful completion of a PhD, candidates will also be awarded two testamurs, one from each institution. JCU’s testamur will reference the partner institution.

When thinking about starting a cotutelle, the first question to ask is, ‘is a cotutelle agreement needed?’ Potentially it may be that a visiting scholar arrangement would be more appropriate Being a visiting scholar involves undertaking a special studies program (or its equivalent) at JCU or visiting the University to provide or receive short-term expert input to teaching or research.

Please see our cotutelle one pager info guide on cotutelle agreements here

When considering entering in to a cotutelle with a partner university, please consider the following:

  • There are established research links and/or collaborations between the JCU advisor and the partner institution advisor
  • The resources (including supervision) available to the candidate at the partner institution are comparable to those provided at JCU
  • There is opportunity for more than one candidate in future under an agreement
  • strategic value of the proposed joint program for the College

It is preferred that Colleges look to set up a Institutional Cotutelle PhD Program which is a program agreed at an institution-to-institution level, for an agreed period, for a cohort of students. However, it maybe Candidate led, which means there is no existing institutional cotutelle agreement, and the College may propose to establish an institutional program with the other University based on this Candidate. For JCU to enter into a Cotutelle Agreement with a Partner Institution for a HDR Candidate, the Candidate must be a current HDR Candidate at their home institution or have submitted an application to become a HDR Candidate at JCU as per the JCU HDR application procedure.

It  will be assumed that prior to approaching the GRS, that there have been preliminary conversations and in-principle agreement between the HDR candidate and the advisory panels at JCU and partner institution, that the candidate will undertake a cotutelle. From 2021 JCU needs to adhere to The Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 (the Act) which creates a Scheme to ensure that arrangements between State or Territory governments and foreign government entities do not adversely affect Australia’s foreign relations and are not inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy. This affects JCU when the University proposes to enter an arrangement with a foreign government or a foreign university that lacks institutional autonomy. Where JCU proposes to enter and arrangement, a covering summary with details on the parties, intended purpose and effect of the arrangement proposed, relevant dates and any draft documents are to be emailed to the GRS who will inform the  Chief of Staff with the subject line: Foreign Arrangement: Proposal to Enter.

If this is the case, please see more information resources on Foreign Interference and notify the GRS with any concerns. For more information please read JCU's Foreign Arrangements Notification Procedure

We would also encourage you to come and talk to us if this is your first time hosting a Cotutelle. Please contact Fiona Whittenbury at the

An overarching cotutelle agreement must be developed for each institution along with a candidature schedule as part of that overarching agreement. Agreements cover admission requirements, supervision, IP and other legal information. Agreements have an expiry date after five years. If the overarching agreement has expired then renewal will be on authorisation of the College and in agreement with the partner institution.

The candidate schedule covers supervisory arrangements, relevant milestone dates and other information directly related to the candidate under the cotutelle and will be signed by the Advisors, ADRE, Representative of the Graduate Research School  and Candidate. This is a very important document as Admissions and the GRS Academic Services Officers need the information for enrolment of the candidate.

To start the process, you can download an agreement from the website and work with the institution and candidate to fill out the relevant information including the candidate schedule.

When it is time to sign the agreement, please send the agreement to to the attention of Fiona Whittenbury.

The GRS will arrange for the signing of the agreement by the Provost.

It really depends on the partner institution and the needs of the candidate. Please always encourage the partner institution to use the JCU agreement template. This can speed up the process up greatly. If they are insistent upon using their own agreement or a new agreement needs to be drafted for a particular reason, please allow about 2-3 months for this to be agreed and approved.

The candidate application process can happen simultaneously, so there is no need to wait until the Cotutelle is complete to start the application to JCU. However, the candidate schedule information is very important as it lists relevant start dates and milestones that will be needed for the admissions teams.

Yes. However, this is ideally done in the first year of enrollment. However, the candidate can apply for Recognition of Prior learning with the GRS. Please contact the GRS if further information is required.

When candidates apply to JCU for a Cotutelle they are exempt from having to pay tuition fees. Candidates may be liable for fees at the partner institution.

Candidates will need to arrange and cover the costs of travel, insurances, health cover and accommodation if studying onshore at JCU for any time.

Candidates may also apply for a living allowance stipend scholarship at the time of application*.

For more information on scholarships please see here

*Please note that the scholarship is not guaranteed. Candidates must meet the scholarship criteria and are assessed by both the appropriate College and the GRS.

The relationship of the Partner University is held by the College and the Advisors who initiate the cotutelle. The Graduate Research School will liaise with candidates and advisors at both institutions throughout the process of formalising agreements where necessary and keep a record and oversight on Cotutelle information for JCU.

All admissions queries: Damian Palmer, Academic Services Officer

General enquiries about cotutelle agreements: Fiona Whittenbury, HDR Partnership Development

The JCU procedure can be found here. Please refer to the flow chart for more information on how to get started.

We are asking that all Candidates are able to start their PhD projects from their home country whilst entry into Australia continues to be a challenge. This may affect the Candidate's enrollment with JCU and any scholarships or other financial incentives from their home institutions or Country. Please check with the GRS if you have any questions regarding this when undertaking a Cotutelle with a potential Candidate.