Policy Academic Governance HDR Cotutelle Agreement Procedure

HDR Cotutelle Agreement Procedure

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This procedure elaborates the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Requirements and specifies the procedure for establishing a Cotutelle Agreement.

This procedure addresses HESF Standards 4.2; Research Training and 5.4.2.


This procedure applies to candidates for HDR courses offered by James Cook University (JCU) who wish for their degree to be granted by both JCU and another tertiary institution through a Cotutelle Agreement.


Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary in the Learning and Teaching domain of the University Policy Library, and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements and the standard JCU Overarching Cotutelle Agreement.

Cotutelle: a formal agreement between James Cook University and another university based (usually in another country) that enables a HDR candidate to be enrolled in a higher degree by research at both institutions concurrently, where degree, once completed is granted by both institutions.

Partner Institution: the other tertiary institution with which the Agreement is made.


1. Prior to initiating this procedure, HDR candidates must ensure they have:

1.1 read and understood the Cotutelle information resources, including the Foreign Arrangements Notification Procedure, which applies to foreign arrangements entered into by staff of the University while engaged in University business or otherwise representing the University with a foreign government or a foreign university that lacks institutional autonomy.

1.2 conducted preliminary conversations and have obtained in principle agreement to establish a Cotutelle Agreement between the HDR candidate and the Advisory Panel of both JCU and the Partner Institution.

2. In order for JCU to enter into a Cotutelle Agreement with a Partner Institution, the HDR candidate must be a current HDR candidate or have submitted an application to become a HDR candidate at JCU as per the HDR Application Procedure. If the HDR candidate has started their candidature they must be in their first year.

3. To initiate the process of establishing a Cotutelle Agreement between JCU and a Partner Institution, the HDR candidate and the JCU Advisory Panel must complete the relevant sections of the Schedule of the JCU Overarching Cotutelle Agreement.

3.1 Where there is a current Cotutelle Agreement already in place with the Partner institution, the schedule section of the agreement (Appendix 1) is the only part that needs to be completed and sent to the Graduate Research School (GRS) via grs.staff@jcu.edu.au.

4. Once completed the JCU Overarching Cotutelle Agreement should be sent to the Advisory Panel of the Partner Institution for the purpose of ensuring that the agreement is acceptable to the Partner Institution. This may involve the legal team at the Partner Institution. It is important to note that changes cannot be made to the body of the agreement, and if the Partner Institution proposes amendments to any clauses in the body of the agreement, this should be noted in the Schedule of the Agreement (Appendix 1).  The Partner Institution may prefer to use their own agreement rather than the JCU Overarching Cotutelle Agreement. If a Partner Institution’s agreement is used, this may delay the commencement of the agreement due to additional assessment being required.

5. The Partner Institution must return the reviewed Cotutelle Agreement to grs.staff@jcu.edu.au, as well as the HDR candidate and JCU Advisory Panel.

6. Upon receiving the agreement, the GRS will conduct a preliminary conversation with the JCU Advisory Panel, and then ensure that the agreement in its current form is acceptable to JCU.  This may involve the JCU legal team.

6.1 If the agreement is determined to be unacceptable to JCU, the GRS will negotiate the terms of the agreement with the Partner Institution. This can be a lengthy process depending on the nature of the terms being negotiated.

7. Once the terms of the agreement are acceptable to both JCU and the Partner Institution, the agreement must be signed.  Both digital and hard copy signatures are accepted by JCU. If the Partner Institution requires hard copies, the two universities will decide which university will commence the signatures and that university will print two hard copies and obtain signatures from that institution.  The hard copies must then be sent to the other university for signatures, following which one copy will be sent back to the university from which the hard copies originated.

8. Once the Cotutelle Agreement has been finalised and the HDR candidate has been enrolled, the GRS will:

  • Notify the candidate and JCU Advisory Panel that the agreement has been finalised.
  • Advise International Student Finance that the candidate is under a Cotutelle Agreement so that tuition fees are not charged.
  • In the Student Management System in the “Student Comment” screen add a “CTT” comment and the name of the Partner Institution.
  • Add a Cotutelle “flag” (once available)

9. A HDR candidate enrolled under a Cotutelle Agreement must comply with the HDR Requirements of JCU and all subsidiary procedures including entry requirements, course milestones and thesis examination, except where variations to this are specifically made in the Cotutelle Agreement.

10. The terms of the Cotutelle Agreement and its schedule must be adhered to.

11. The thesis written by a candidate enrolled under a Cotutelle Agreement must be in English except where written approval by JCU’s Dean, Graduate Research has been obtained. This detail must be included in the Cotutelle Agreement.

12. Before the examination of the thesis of a HDR candidate who is enrolled under a Cotutelle Agreement,  the GRS will check the agreement for any clauses specific to thesis examination which vary from JCU’s HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure, as is often the case for international thesis examinations.

13. Once the degree has been completed the testamur and Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement) will make reference to the degree being completed as a consequence of a Cotutelle Agreement and the name of the Partner Institution.

Related policy instruments

HDR Requirements

JCU Overarching Cotutelle Agreement

Foreign Arrangements Notification Procedure

HDR Application Procedure

HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure




NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance

Policy Sub-domain

Research Education

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


23-117/07/202304/08/2023Major reviewManager, Graduate Research School
21-1 3/8/2021 4/8/2021 Revised 





Contact person

Dean, Graduate Research