Joint Degrees

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 CO-SUPERVISION OF DOCTORAL THESES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALCALÁ Approved by the Governing Council on May 26, 2022.


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.

The completion of a doctoral thesis under co supervision requires the prior establishment of a specific agreement between the two institutions concerned, in accordance with the model of the University of Alcalá or, where appropriate, the model established by the other university, if it contains equivalent provisions and is reported favourably by the University of Alcalá.

Under this agreement, which shall respect the principle of reciprocity, each institution shall recognise the validity of the doctoral thesis on the basis of a single presentation, and each institution undertakes to issue the doctoral degree once the appropriate procedures have been completed.

Once signed, the modification of any of the provisions of the specific co-supervision agreement may only take place on a strictly exceptional basis and will require the agreement of the Academic Committee of the relevant doctoral programme and of the thesis supervisors, as well as the prior authorization of the Vice President responsible for doctoral matters. Should a substantial modification be required, an addendum to the agreement will be made, which must be approved by the Governing Council of the University of Alcalá.

The doctoral student who is enrolled at the University of Alcalá in a Doctoral Programme and who is 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. This document must be sent to the Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme in which the student is enrolled, duly completed and accompanied by the documentation indicated. After a report from the Academic Committee, the Doctoral Programme Coordinator will send the application to the Vice President 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.

Once authorisation has been granted for a thesis to be carried out under co-supervision, the doctoral student shall enrol annually, until the defence is completed, at both Universities, in accordance with the regulations of each of them. In any case, the student shall pay the corresponding public price approved by the Region of Madrid to the University of Alcalá, as academic supervision for the preparation of the doctoral thesis, unless otherwise agreed in the Agreement in relation to the amount of the fees or other amounts.

During the development of the thesis, the interested party will have the status of doctoral student, for which he/she must comply with the requirements established for the admission, enrolment, assessment and continuance processes established by the University of Alcalá, as well as the rules applicable at the other university.

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 Vice President with competence in doctoral matters.

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 defence of the thesis may not take less than one year from the signing of the agreement, and there must be at least one annual assessment of the doctoral student at the University of Alcalá, except in those cases in which the Vice-President with competence in doctoral matters authorises a different period.

The research work for the preparation of the Doctoral Thesis will be carried out in alternative periods of stay in each of the two Universities. The minimum period of stay in one of these Universities may in no case be less than six months, which may be completed in a single period or in several periods. For the purposes of calculating the 6 months, stays carried out prior to the authorisation of the co-supervision may be taken into account when the activities carried out during the stay are relevant to the thesis and provided that this is approved by the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Programme and the the Vice-President with competence in doctoral matters.

The publication, exploitation and protection of the results of the research carried out will be ensured by the two institutions in accordance with the specific procedures and regulations in force regarding intellectual property in each country, and will be specifically reflected in the agreement signed between the two institutions.

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. The specific agreement shall determine the language in which the thesis is to be written.

The thesis will be subject to a single defence, at the university to be determined in the agreement, in accordance with the general procedure, the requirements of its regulatory regulations and what is agreed in the agreement.

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.

Permission for the examination of the thesis must be granted in accordance with the procedure and the requirements of the respective regulations and the protocol foreseen in the specific agreement. At all events, should the thesis be examined at the University of Alcalá, the doctoral candidate must also present an official certificate accrediting the time spent at the relevant foreign university (at least 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.

The examining panel for the doctoral thesis shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the specific agreement. Its composition shall be in accordance with the rules of the university where the examination is to be held.

The expenses incurred by the members of the panel will be financed in accordance with the terms of the agreement or, failing this, will be the responsibility of the university where the thesis is examined. Should the examination take place at the University of Alcalá, the financing will be in accordance with the same criteria used for theses with an international mention.

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".

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.