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Double Doctorate (Cotutelle de thèse):

What is a double doctorate?

For a double doctorate (cotutelle de thèse) the dissertation procedure is undertaken in collaboration with an international partner university and leads to a joint degree. The framework conditions for a double doctorate are regulated by a contractual agreement between the universities involved. It includes joint supervision of the dissertation, balanced research stays at the participating institutions, involvement of the external supervisors in the assessment and examination procedure, and issuing a joint PhD certificate or two certificates that reference each other.

What are the advantages of a double doctorate?

In the course of double doctorates PhD candidates acquire soundly based knowledge of different academic systems and improve, in addition to their foreign language skills, above all their intercultural competence. They thereby qualify themselves ideally for international university and extra-university career paths. By promoting the mobility of their doctoral candidates universities consolidate existing research cooperation and further extend their international network. Double dissertation procedures thus contribute to to the university’s own internationalization strategy.

What is the legal framework at the TUHH?

Section 7 of the TUHH’s Doctoral Degree Regulations (Promotionsordnung) states that collaborative doctoral dissertation procedures with international partners are possible but must be agreed contractually in the individual case.

Procedure and Methodology

The TUHH currently allows for double doctorates only within the framework of existing cooperation agreements with partner universities or of structured funding such as MSc programs.

The following steps must be undertaken by applicants as necessary:

  • Contact the Manager of Internationalization for initial advice and review of existing cooperation agreements
  • Submit a detailed project description to the Vice-President Research as a basis for decision by the Executive Board, including the number of doctoral candidates envisioned, proposals on the examination location, the minimum duration of staying abroad, and the kind of doctoral certificate to be issued)
  • If approved by the Executive Board, contact the Legal Department (Stabstelle Recht) for legal review and preparation of contract, including all documents required, and notify the Dissertation Committee
  • Submit the reviewed documents for signature by the President
  • Pass on a copy of the agreement to the Office of the Doctoral Degree Committee
  • In the case of structured funding programs, pass on a copy of the agreement to TuTech as an annex to the respective EU contract

Model Agreement:

The TUHH has drawn up a model agreement that has been examined by the Legal Department and is available in German and English. Use of this agreement is recommended but is not obligatory. It can, as necessary, be adapted to meet the requirements of doctoral award procedures or the foreign partner institution(s). A contract drawn up by the foreign partner university may also be used. However, it must in every case be checked for conformity by the Legal Department.

Contact for Initial Information:

Nicole Frei
Manager of Internationalization

Tel.: +49 40 42878 4409
E-mail: n.frei(at)
Am Schwarzenberg-Campus 1 (A),
Raum A 2.71
Further Information:
Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK)