Cotutelle programmes

A cotutelle is an agreement that facilitates a doctoral student’s mobility thanks to the scientific cooperation between a French research team and a foreign team. The student in a cotutelle programme carries out their work under the responsibility of a thesis supervisor in each of the two countries involved. These supervisors carry out their duties jointly.

The doctoral student must perform their research studies in the two countries according to the conditions set out in the agreement. The institutes may have a framework agreement or a specific agreement to ensure the smooth progression of the doctoral studies.


The eligibility criteria are the same as a regular doctoral programme.

Admission entails three stages:

  1. Send an application through École Centrale de Lyon for admission to the French doctoral school and the equivalent foreign body.
  2. Enter into a cotutelle agreement.
  3. Enrol in the two universities: the cotutelle agreement provides a dispensation to the doctoral student from paying the enrolment fees in one of the two institutes and sets out the conditions in which social protection applies to the student in each country.

Awarded title

Each cotutelle programme operates under the framework of an agreement between two institutions, one of which is French. The procedures and rules are the same as for the French doctorate and the doctorate in the partner country.

The two universities recognise the validity of the cotutelle programme established and of the awarded title (doctorate for the French university and the equivalent title of the foreign university).

The doctoral degrees are issued by the authorised academic authorities, following the favourable decision of the examination board upon defence of the thesis.

Practical information for international doctoral students.