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Cotutelle programs

The cotutelle program gives you the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies at two partner universities. The responsibility for your training and supervision is shared between Université Laval and another institution.

Research supervisor

Under a cotutelle, each institution appoints a supervisor, who must then work together to jointly determine your academic path. The two supervisors are jointly responsible for overseeing your research and training. You are responsible for making initial contact with professors in your chosen field of study in order to find research supervisors. For help in your efforts, visit the Find a project and a research supervisor page .

Academic path

In a cotutelle program, you write a single dissertation that you can defend at Université Laval or at the partner institution. At the end of your studies, you will obtain two degrees, one from each partner institution, each mentioning the cotutelle. (Academic Regulations , article 84, in French only)

To undertake a cotutelle program, you must meet certain conditions. You must:

  • Be admitted to a doctoral program at Université Laval and at the partner institution
  • Be enrolled full time at both institutions, without interruption, for the entire duration of your doctoral studies
  • Alternate your coursework and research between the two institutions according to a schedule set out in the cotutelle agreement
  • Attend each institution for at least one year (3 semesters)
  • Pay the tuition fees of the institution where you are studying
  • Follow the rules of research ethics in effect at Université Laval and, where applicable, at the partner university

How to establish a cotutelle

If you want to do a cotutelle program, you will need to start making arrangements as soon as possible before your program starts. Ideally, approval of your cotutelle agreement and admission to both universities should occur simultaneously, i.e., in the same semester. 

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of Université Laval allows a maximum of one year between the start of your doctoral studies at either university and the signing of the cotutelle agreement between the two institutions. In other words, the cotutelle agreement must be signed before the end of your first year.

Steps to take

Do you want to do a cotutelle doctorate? Here are the steps to take.

With a French university

A framework agreement already exists for French universities. In 1996, the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CRÉPUQ), the Conference of University Presidents (CPU), and the Conference of Deans of French Schools of Engineering (CDEFI)  signed an  agreement  (in French only) (PDF, 195 KB) authorizing doctoral cotutelles at all institutions within their respective territories. 

With a university in a country other than France

Université Laval must sign an interuniversity cotutelle framework agreement with each institution in a country other than France.

At Université Laval, the International Office is responsible for all agreements signed with partner institutions, including cotutelle framework agreements.

Some framework agreements are already in place with foreign universities.  To view the framework agreements to which Université Laval is a signatory, go to the International Office database  (in French only) In the search engine, select Cotutelle under Type d’entente (type of agreement).

If there is no framework agreement with the institution that interests you, Université Laval can draw up a new one provided that a professor from each institution agrees to supervise you. Your program director should contact the International Office team to have a new framework agreement prepared. 

An interuniversity framework agreement signed by the rectors of the two institutions is valid for an initial period of five years and can be renewed with the agreement of both parties.

To undertake a doctoral cotutelle, you must be officially admitted to a doctoral program at both Université Laval and the partner institution.

For information on admission requirements and expectations for doctoral candidates at Université Laval, see the description of the doctoral program  that interests you.

For the partner institution, find out what steps are required to be admitted to the program of your choice.

In addition to the framework agreement, your doctoral cotutelle program must be the subject of a nominate agreement between the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of Université Laval and its equivalent at the partner institution.

To secure all the signatures required for the nominate agreement, here is the procedure recommended by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: 


The nominate agreement is prepared jointly by the student and the student’s supervisors using the appropriate template:

For a cotutelle with France:

Nominate agreement for cotutelle with France (DOC) (in French only) *** Updated ***

For a cotutelle with another country: 

Nominate Agreement  (DOC) *** Updated ***

Validation and approval

The nominate agreement must be validated by both partner universities prior to signing.  At Université Laval, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is responsible for nominate agreement validation and approval. You can contact them by email at


Once the partner universities have validated the nominate agreement, it must be signed in the following order for each institution:

  • Research supervisors
  • Program directors
  • Vice dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and his/her counterpart

A minimum of three printed copies of the nominate agreement must be made.

If necessary, the nominate agreement can be extended using the appropriate amendments.

With France

Doctoral studies and research normally last three years. The nominate agreement is therefore valid for three years. With the agreement of the institutions, a nominate agreement may be extended by amendment.

UL-France cotutelle amendment  - (DOC) (In French only) *** Updated ***

With another country

The duration of the course and research work, in the context of a cotutelle with an institution outside France, is normally four (4) years. The nominate agreement is therefore valid for four years. With the agreement of the institutions, a nominate agreement may be extended by amendment.

UL-international cotutelle agreement  (DOC) *** Updated ***

For more information