Escuela de Doctorado - UAH - Doctoral thesis - Co-direction of the thesis

What is a joint or “cotutelle” thesis?

A joint or “cotutelle” thesis with a foreign university is understood to be the preparation of a doctoral thesis that leads to the award of a doctoral degree by two universities: the University of Alcalá and another foreign university.

The doctoral student will carry out an original research work in any field of knowledge, directed by research staff of the University of Alcalá and another foreign university. The thesis will be submitted for examination in one of them, and the doctoral degree will be awarded by both universities.

Joint Theses are regulated under the Regulations for the Development of Joint Theses approved by the Governing Council of the University of Alcalá in session of October 28, 2014.


Article 15.2 of Royal Decree 99/2011, which regulates official doctoral studies, establishes the circumstances that must be met in order for a doctoral thesis to be considered a joint supervision thesis:

(a) That the doctoral thesis be supervised by two or more Doctors from two Universities, one Spanish and one foreign, who must formalize a co-supervision agreement.

b) That, during the period of training necessary to obtain the title of Doctor, the doctoral candidate conduct a minimum stay of six months in the institution with which the co-supervision agreement is established, carrying out research work, either in a single period or in several periods. Stays and activities will be reflected in the co-supervision agreement.

Each doctoral thesis co-supervision will proceed within the framework of a specific agreement between the University of Alcalá and the respective foreign university, in accordance with the format of the University of Alcalá or, if applicable, with the format established by the other university, if it contains equivalent provisions and is approved by the University of Alcalá.

Under this agreement, which will respect the principle of reciprocity, each institution will recognize the validity of the doctoral thesis on the basis of a single examination, and each institution undertakes to issue the degree of doctor.

Admission to joint supervision

Those interested in carrying out a doctoral thesis in co-supervision between the University of Alcalá and a foreign university must apply in writing on the standardized form. Applications shall be submitted to the coordinator of the corresponding doctoral program, who shall forward it, together with the report of the academic committee, to the committee with competence in doctoral matters.

The application for co-supervision must be made before the end of the first academic year of the doctoral program. Exceptionally, for justified reasons, it may be requested in the following academic year, provided that the permanence of the doctoral student and the limitation of the deadlines for the defense of the thesis as established in the R.D. 99/2011 are respected.

In the event that the person interested in carrying out the thesis under co-supervision is already matriculated in the foreign institution, he/she must simultaneously apply for admission to the doctoral program and authorization of co-supervision.

Matriculation in joint supervision

The doctoral student will matriculate in each of the two universities, in accordance with the regulations of each one of them, but with a payment waiver in one of them. The agreement must specify which university waives the payment. In case of exemption from payment at the UAH, the student must provide proof of payment of the matriculation fee at the other university.

Preparation of the doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis must be carried out under the control and supervision of a supervisor at each of the two universities. Should the participation of three co-supervisors be considered necessary, permission must be requested from the Doctoral Commission.

The time for completing the thesis will be three years for full-time students and five years for part-time students, extendable, if necessary, up to the maximum duration of the studies as established by Article 3 of RD 99/2011.

The research work for the elaboration of the Doctoral Thesis will be carried out in alternative periods of stay at each of the two Universities. The minimum period of stay in one of these Universities may under no circumstances be less than six months, which may be completed in a single period or in several periods.

The thesis must be written in a language that is recognized as an official language in accordance with the regulations of one of the partner universities, or in English. If the thesis is not written in Spanish, it must be accompanied by a written summary, including conclusions, in this language.

Submission and examination of doctoral thesis

Once the doctoral thesis has been prepared, the doctoral student will submit the thesis to the two universities, under the regulations applicable in each of them.

The thesis will be subject to a single examination, at the university determined in the agreement.

The authorization and examination of the thesis will be carried out in accordance with the regulations of the university where the examination takes place. In any case, if the examination takes place at the University of Alcalá, the doctoral candidate must also present an official certificate accrediting the time spent at the relevant foreign university (minimum six months).

Should the examination take place at the other university, the composition of the tribunal and the date of the reading must be communicated to the Doctoral School of the University of Alcalá prior to the act of reading and examination.

The doctoral student must pay, if applicable, the corresponding academic fees for the reading and examination of the doctoral thesis only at the university where the thesis is to be read and examined.

Application for degree certificate

Once the doctoral thesis has been examined successfully, the interested party may request the issue of the corresponding certificates at both universities, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant agreement and the regulations in force at each one of them.

The certificate will be issued after payment of the corresponding fees at both institutions.

In the case of the University of Alcalá, the doctoral certificate will include on its obverse side the statement "thesis in co-supervision with the University U".

Other mentions

The completion of the thesis under co-supervision will be compatible with the mentions of "International Doctorate" and/or "Industrial Doctorate" when the requirements established in the corresponding regulations are met and the mention is requested in the period stipulated in said regulations.


The University of Alcalá runs the "María de Guzmán" Residence and Collaboration Scholarship Program for doctoral co-supervision for doctoral students from other countries. These scholarships cover the accommodation expenses of the beneficiaries in the CRUSA University Residence in a double room during the length of their stay for doctoral research.