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Co-supervised thesis

Cotutelle is an option for developing a doctoral thesis whereby the candidate simultaneously meets the requirement of two institutions: UAM and a foreign university.

Only one thesis is written but it allows the doctoral candidate to receive a degree from both institutions under an agreement between the two institutions that reflects the mutual understanding between the two and stipulates the conditions under which the work will be carried out (see point 8).

At the Autonomous University of Madrid, students who write their theses under cotutellge agreements must meet the same requirements as any other doctoral candidate in all phases of their work.


In order to apply for a cotutelle agreement, the candidate must meet the requirements for admission to doctoral programmes which in Spain are set out in article 6 of Royal Decree 99/2011, as amended in Royal Decree 195/2016.


Students must submit an application to the School of Doctoral Studies using the online form, which should be sent to the following email address: doctorado.gestion@uam.es.

In order for their applications to be considered, applicants must already be admitted to a doctoral programme at UAM and be approved by the coordinator of the doctoral programme in question. 

In order for a cotutelle agreement to be signed, the applicant must be a matriculated student in a doctoral programme at UAM.

The process begins after admission, during the registration process or during the first year of doctorate studies


Dissertations written under cotutelle agreements are co-advised. The advisors (one from each institution) must generally be professors at the signatory universities.  If the UAM advisor is from a partner institution, a separate agreement between UAM and that institution must be appended to the co-tutelage agreement. For researchers of other institutions to qualify as UAM professors, their institutions musts be listed in the verification reports of doctorate programs, as stated in their agreements with UAM


According to the rules for defending doctoral dissertations, co-advisors may not be part of the panel of judges of the dissertations defended at UAM.

The UAM co-advisor may be part of the panel of judges in a foreign country if the university’s rules allow this.


Generally speaking, the academic advising fees are only paid at one of the two institutions, unless the agreement calls for payment to both.  Doctoral candidates whose university of origin is UAM will pay their fees to UAM. 

All candidates must pay administration and insurance fees as well as the fees associated with thesis defence and degree issuance at UAM. If admission into the doctoral programme at UAM is contingent upon the completion of certain pre-requisite courses, the student must pay the fees for those courses.


The rules of both institutions must be followed when it comes to approving the reading of the dissertation. At UAM the thesis must be authorised by the Equivalence and Thesis Defence Committee at the School of Doctoral Studies and must meet all of the requirements for deposit.

The composition of the panel of judges and the defence of the thesis must abide by the rules of the institution where the thesis is to be read.  If the thesis is defended at UAM, once the defence is over a copy of the transcript will be sent to the foreign university. If the thesis is defended at a foreign institution, the co-tutelage agreement must stipulate that a copy of the transcript certified by the School of Doctoral Studies or the school’s doctoral management unit will be provided.

If the thesis is written in a language other than Spanish, at least the abstract and conclusions must be in Spanish.  The entire defence may be in English.

As a general rule, the cost of organising the defence of a co-tutelage thesis is shared by the two institutions involved. In any case, UAM’s limits for financial assistance for thesis defence panels apply (€500, or €700 for those with international component). The UAM School of Doctoral Studies only offers financial assistance for the travel expenses and allowances of members of the thesis defence panel.


The rules for degree issuance are the same as the ones for the doctoral degree.  The international component may be included if all requirements are met.

Degrees are issued in Spain in accordance with the official Spanish rules.


In order to earn a degree from each one of the institutions, there must be a co-tutelage agreement between the two establishing the terms and conditions for earning a degree at each one.

The doctoral candidate must also sign the agreement and is responsible for processing the agreement at both institutions.

Some of the aspects that must be reflected in the agreement are as follows:

The minimum amount of research time to be spent by the doctoral candidate at both UAM and the foreign university is six months, in a single visit or various shorter visits.  The times and activities must be reflected in the co-tutelage agreement.  When the thesis is deposited, a document from the other university must be presented certifying the time spent by the candidate at the foreign university.

The doctoral programme in which the doctoral candidate is registered in each institution. The university to which the academic tutelage fees will be paid. The place where the thesis will be defended. There is a model cotutelle agreement available to applicants in Spanish and English.

It is recommended that the UAM’s standard agreement be used as it facilitates the process considerably. However, other models can be used as long as they adhere to UAM’s basic criteria and abide by the rules contained in Royal Decree 99/2011 and Royal Decree 195/2016.

The agreement may be written in Spanish or English. If the foreign university requires that the degree be written in a language other than these, it must also be signed in Spanish and may optionally be signed in English.  In this case, the doctoral candidate is responsible for the Spanish translation. Three copies of the co-tutelage agreement are signed, one for each university and one for the doctoral candidate. Both advisors’ names will appear and the agreement, which must be signed by both.

The agreement is administered by the School of Doctoral Studies and must be approved by the PhD Commission of the School of Doctoral Studies and signed by the Vice Chancellor by delegation of the Dean.

The International Relations Committee must be informed of all agreements that are signed in order to monitor UAM’s international agreements.