How to Apply

You and your supervisors should contact us at the Adelaide Graduate Research School at least 3 to 6 months prior to the intended commencement date of your joint PhD research project.

This will allow your enrolment to be processed, and the necessary documentation to be finalised, in a timely manner.

Like all candidates, you must meet the University of Adelaide’s entry requirements (including English) as set out in the first step of the process.

The application process generally follows the stages set out below.

  • Enquiry

    • You or your supervisor make contact with us at the Adelaide Graduate Research School ( to discuss a potential new joint PhD program. Your enquiry should outline the intended project, provide details of the new or existing collaborating partner, and identify when you expect to commence.
    • Note that for certain areas or partner institutions (e.g. Nagoya University) a pre-application assessment may be required.

  • Application and admission

    • You’ll need to apply for admission and/or scholarship via the University of Adelaide’s online application form.
    • If the University of Adelaide is to be your home institution, apply for admission and scholarship. But if we’re to be your host institution (i.e. where the University of Adelaide is NOT your institution of primary enrolment), apply for admission only, as we don’t ordinarily offer scholarships to candidates we’re hosting from partner institutions.
    • In the ‘Joint Award Details’ section of the online application, indicate whether you have discussed your application with the University of Adelaide and provide details of your intended partner institution.

    • Once your application is complete, it’s advisable to send a brief email to confirming that you have submitted your application for a joint PhD, making sure to name the partner institution involved.

    • You should also commence your application for admission with your proposed partner university independently as soon as practicable, according to their specific application process.

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  • Joint PhD agreement

    • While the University of Adelaide application and admission process is underway, we (the Adelaide Graduate Research School) will negotiate the necessary joint PhD documentation with your partner institution.
    • The creation, negotiation and finalisation of these agreements can be complex and lengthy. This is primarily due to the fact that partner institutions often have divergent rules and regulations for their joint PhD programs that need to be married up and resolved. Experts from each institution in admissions, scholarships, candidature, examinations, intellectual property and legal need to be involved to ensure the documentation is clear and meets all requirements.
    • In instances where the collaboration initially involves only one joint PhD candidate (with a view to creating a pipeline for more candidates in the future), a Joint PhD Agreement (otherwise known as a cotutelle agreement) is normally negotiated. An institutional agreement between the partner universities will be required if the collaboration is expected to attract several joint PhD candidates, both from the University of Adelaide and from the partner institution. The Adelaide Graduate Research School will identify what is needed.
    • Each agreement is different. Key topics of negotiation include: financial support (scholarship, stipend, etc.); time spent at each university; examination requirements, including how an oral examination will be conducted; supervision arrangements; intellectual property and data management; specific candidature management requirements; and graduation requirements.
  • Offer and scholarship

    • If your application for admission is successful, a Joint Award Offer of Admission will be sent to you via email. You will also receive a copy of the final signed Joint PhD Agreement if it has already been finalised and signed. If you’re an international student, there will be a condition attached to your Joint Award Offer of Admission that the official Offer of Admission or Statement from the partner institution be supplied, or a certified copy, confirming your acceptance to enrol in the joint PhD program.
    • For international students, the Joint Award Offer of Admission will also include a quote for Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) insurance, based on the proposed period of study in Australia at the University of Adelaide. It’s a condition of all student visas to maintain OSHC for the duration of the student visa.

    • Some joint PhD partners have set dates on which you’ll need to commence (e.g. the University of Nagoya requires commencement on the first of the month). However, most partners will allow you to negotiate a suitable commencement date with your supervisory team.

    • An Offer of Scholarship, if applicable, is also made.

  • Acceptance

    • For your application for admission to be successful, all conditions must be met and all requisite information provided with the acceptance documentation.
    • If you’re an international student and the University of Adelaide is your Home institution, you will be sent a conditional Joint Award Offer of Admission, and acceptance will only be processed once the Joint PhD Agreement with the Host Institution has been finalised and signed, and admission at your Host Institution is confirmed.
    • A Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) email will be issued upon your acceptance of the offer. This will state the time periods (dates) you intend to study at each partner institution. If you’ll be submitting your thesis for final examination at the University of Adelaide, which is usually the case if the University of Adelaide is your Home Institution, a visa with an additional six months will be required.
    • Once you have your COE you can apply for an Australian student visa.
  • Enrolment

    You will be concurrently enrolled at both institutions for the duration of your candidature in the joint PhD program. You will be emailed instructions on how to enrol at the University of Adelaide.

  • Transferring into a joint PhD program

    If you’re a domestic student and the University of Adelaide is your home institution, you can enrol in a standard PhD program then choose—within the first 12 months of your candidature—to be considered for transfer into a joint PhD program. If you’re successful, it’s a simple process to transfer. Provide proof of enrolment (or show an offer of enrolment) for a joint PhD program from your host institution, and your enrolment at the University of Adelaide will be changed administratively to a joint PhD program.