Jointly Awarded PhDs

Broaden your research career with a national or international joint PhD for maximum local, national and global impact.

A joint PhD enables you to:

  • study at two high-quality institutions and enhance your student experience
  • potentially work in two different countries and experience different cultures
  • widen your research connections to potentially enable novel field-trial locations
  • expand your professional networks for future employment.

Program Structure

The University of Adelaide offers a joint PhD program similar in structure to the ‘cotutelle’ model used at many universities overseas. It is an arrangement where a candidate is enrolled at the University of Adelaide and another university in Australia or overseas and academics/researchers from the two universities jointly supervise the candidates for a single PhD degree.

  • The university where you spend most of your candidature is your ‘home’ university and the other is your ‘host’ university.
  • At least 12 months full-time will be spent at each institution.
  • You start and finish at your home university, unless your PhD project dictates otherwise, or you are unable to travel

Application and Admission Process

To be enrolled into a joint PhD program, students:

  • are expected to submit separate applications for admission to both the University of Adelaide and the partner university in accordance with the rules and procedures of each university.
  • must demonstrate that they have sufficient background and experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete a PhD as detailed in the University of Adelaide’s academic program rules, as well as those set by the partner university.
  • may enrol simultaneously at both universities or transfer from a single to joint award PhD within 12 months of their enrolment at the University of Adelaide or any of the partner universities.
  • must sign an individual student agreement that regulates the individual student’s PhD candidature. 

Note: As arranging the agreement takes 3 to 6 months, students are encouraged to contact the University of Adelaide and the other university at least 3 to 6 months prior to the intended commencement date of the joint PhD research project

Key Features of the program

  • Students are enrolled concurrently at the two universities.
  • Students will be supervised by academics from the University of Adelaide and the partner university which constitutes a single supervisory panel.
  • Students are required to undergo milestones and reviews of academic progress as required by the rules and regulations of the University of Adelaide or another partner university depending on where they are at a particular point during their candidature.
  • However, all students are required to complete the Core Component of the Structure Program (CCSP); UofA home students with 4-6 months of their candidature; UofA host students within 2 months of their arrival in Adelaide.
  • Details of each student’s joint candidature are stipulated in an individual student agreement to be signed by the student, their supervisors and representatives of the University of Adelaide and the partner university.
  • More information specific to the university you are interested in is available through the partner institution links.


  • PhD examination takes place at the home university in accordance with its rules, policies and procedures.
  • PhD examination involves both thesis examination and oral defence
  • Examiners are appointed by the University of Adelaide and the partner university
  • The successful outcome of the examination process is the award of a single HDR degree, usually with testamurs from both institutions, each of which contains something like the following expression:

 ‘Conferred as a single degree under a joint [‘name of program’] program between the University of Adelaide and [name of partner institution]’


  • Can I do a joint PhD between the University of Adelaide and another Australian university?

    Only domestic students are allowed to be enrolled at the University of Adelaide and any of the other Go8 Australian university for jointly awarded PhD. Both domestic and international students are eligible to be enrolled at the University of Adelaide and another Australian University for jointly awarded PhD.

  • What is the difference between joint/collaborative supervision and a joint PhD award?

    Academics from other universities can be involved in a supervisory panel in either of two ways, supervision of a joint award PhD student or external/collaborative supervision of a University of Adelaide student:

    1. Supervision of a joint PhD award student refers to a situation where a student is enrolled in two universities and, upon completion, receives a single degree. It requires a formal joint PhD award agreement which is negotiated between both universities and must meet both universities’ program requirements and rules. The agreement is signed by the supervisors from both universities, the concerned student, the Head of School and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
    2. On the other hand, in a joint/collaborative supervision in which an academic staff from another institution is involved as external supervisor of the University of Adelaide student, the student will enrol at and gets the PhD from The University of Adelaide. There is no need for a formal agreement — approval from the Head of School and registration in the HDR Supervisor Register suffice.
    Types of external supervision HDR Supervisor registration / on supervisory panel Formal agreement Is affiliation to the University of Adelaide required? Degree upon completion of studies Student enrolment
    Joint Award PhD student supervision Yes Yes No A single degree awarded by both universities At both Universities
    External supervision of a University of Adelaide student Yes No, only Head of School approval No Only from the University of Adelaide Only at the University of Adelaide
  • What is the difference between a double degree PhD and jointly awarded PhD?

    A Double Degree (DD) PhD, sometimes also referred to as a "dual award”, means that you will obtain your PhD degree from two different institutions, i.e. two diplomas, each of which issued by a single university. In a "joint degree" you will obtain one diploma issued by two universities. The University of Adelaide does not offer a double degree PhD.

  • What financial support is available to students undertaking a jointly awarded HDR degree?

    Funding opportunities vary depending on the student’s home institution. Normally students enrolled in a jointly awarded HDR program will only be required to pay tuition fees to their home institution. 
    If the University of Adelaide is your home institution, you: 

    • will normally not be required to pay tuition fees to the partner institution, 
    • may be considered for a living allowance (i.e. stipend) through the University’s scholarships program.

    Recipients of stipends will normally continue to receive payments while they are undertaking their studies at the partner institution and are located interstate or overseas 

    • may be considered for the travelling scholarships offered as part of the Adelaide Scholarships Program, such as the Research Abroad Scholarships.

    For a range of support for students undertaking joint award PhD visit our Support Available for Joint PhD Students webpage. For information about the Adelaide Scholarships Program in general refer to the Adelaide Graduate Research School scholarships webpage.

  • It’s also possible to undertake a joint PhD with other universities not listed on this website?

    In principle joint award PhD opportunities are available with the partner institutions as shown on our webpage . However, where there is an existing or emerging research collaboration between the University of Adelaide and another university, the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve individual joint awarded PhD arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Such collaboration can be shown through things like co-publications, co-supervision, co-funding relationships, staff exchanges and sabbaticals, and joint presentations that can lead to a potentially sustainable jointly awarded PhD opportunities.

  • Is it possible to change to a standard single PhD if the joint award PhD program does not go as planned?

    For different reasons a student enrolled in a jointly awarded PhD may not be able to pursue this PhD to the end. In such cases, the student may continue as a standard single award student at their home university.