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Double and Joint Phd


The International agreements offer the candidates the opportunity to develop their PhD career in collaboration with International universities and research centers.

These guidelines implement the resolution 4.13 of 21.9.2015 of the Academic Senate of Politecnico di Milano “Guidelines for Doctoral International Agreements”, and are in agreement with comma 5 of the art. 8 of MD 45/2013. They define how to approve and implement different forms of doctoral co-operation: thesis co-supervision, joint and double doctoral agreements. In the last sections, we review the specificities of European projects, and of the programs of collaboration with international institutions

Thesis co-supervision

This category includes the agreements for PhD candidates whose research is co- supervised by advisors belonging to two or more institutions, but with PhD title delivered only by one of them. Politecnico di Milano does not require an agreement for these collaborations, as they fall within normal practices concerning thesis co-supervisioning and Visiting PhDs.

Whenever the partner institution requests the drawing of an agreement, this will be set up and approved with the involved Department. It will be signed by the Head of the Department and/or by the scientific advisor. The PhD School may provide templates for such agreements.

Joint and double doctorates

Definition and duration – Joint doctorates

A Joint doctorate is a doctoral path designed by two institutions. The PhD candidate prepares a single PhD thesis, and performs a unique thesis defense. Whenever possible, the involved institutions will award a joint diploma, signed and stamped by both institutions.

In accordance to Italian regulations (MD 45/2013), the doctoral path must last a minimum of 3 years. The degree certificate shall indicate the equivalence of the diploma with an accredited title of a Politecnico di Milano PhD Programme.

Definition and duration – Double doctorates

A Double doctorate awards two doctoral degrees. Each involved institution issues the diploma independently, upon completion of the requirements settled in the agreement.

In order to earn the double qualification, candidates are required to carry out additional work with respect to the normal curriculum, in the form of additional research and/or extra courses.

Generally, the duration of a double doctoral degree is at least four years. In special and duly motivated cases, the duration may be reduced to three years

Doctoral path

In joint doctoral paths, the Home University is the institution which selects the candidate and where the candidate is first enrolled. The Host University is the institution enrolling the candidate at a later stage, after having assessed his/her eligibility.

Should Politecnico di Milano be the Home University, the PhD candidate will follow the general rules of the involved PhD programme.

Should Politecnico di Milano be the Host University, the following conditions shall apply:

  • The Faculty Board of the involved PhD programme assesses the eligibility of the candidate, and indicates the course year in which s/he will be placed.
  • The Faculty Board evaluates the candidates at the end of each doctoral year, and establishes the admission to the final exam.
  • The PhD candidate enrols at Politecnico di Milano each year after the admission, and spends at Politecnico di Milano at least 12 months.
  • The PhD candidate acquires at least 10 credits in Politecnico di Milano courses.

Tuitions and fees are generally to be paid only to the Home University, with an exemption from the Host University. Specific agreements may envisage different rules for tuitions and fees payment, provided that the PhD candidate is exempted by one of the two involved institutions.

In all the agreements, it is understood that the PhD thesis is co-supervised by professors from both institutions, with a final exam conducted in accordance with the regulations of both institutions. The final defence is unique for joint doctorates. Double doctorates agreements shall specify whether the specific path involves a single, or two final defences.

Approval procedure

Joint and double doctoral agreements include two parts: a general agreement (valid for different candidates, and possibly for different PhD programmes), and an addendum (specific to each single candidate). Politecnico di Milano has a default format for each of these documents. Partner universities may suggest different models. When this is the case, the specific points need to be agreed during the negotiations.

The general agreement negotiations are conducted by the Coordinator of the involved PhD programme. Support is provided by the PhD School and, in the case of an agreement with a new academic institution, by the International Projects Service.

The agreement is approved by the Faculty Board of the involved PhD programme, and by the PhD School Council. The approval by the Academic Senate is necessary when the agreement departs from these Guidelines. In particular, double doctoral agreements with a duration of less than 4 years require the approval of the Academic Senate, following the positive opinion of the PhD School Council.

It is signed by the Rector or by a Rector’s delegate.

The addendum for each single candidate entering the agreement is set up by the Coordinator of the involved PhD programme, with the support of the PhD School if needed. It is approved by the Faculty Board, and is therefore transmitted to the PhD School Secretariat for its implementation.

European Projects

Three-years double doctorates are allowed when such constraint is explicitly enforced by the European project which supports the doctorate (e.g.: Marie Slodowska-Curie Projects, European Joint Doctorates, European Industrial Doctorates, Vinci Project of the Italian-French University). These agreements must indicate that this option applies only to candidates funded by the European project itself.

In the case of projects involving joint doctorates, the agreed joint degree shall include the wording "equivalent to", followed by the name of a nationally accredited PhD programme.

In general, the diploma will include the logos of the institutions where the PhD activities take place. Should the project require so, the Academic Senate will evaluate the opportunity to include the logos of all the partner institutions.

Doctoral positions supported by International programs

Several international projects support doctoral paths at prestigious institutions, including Politecnico di Milano (e.g. CSC, China Scholarship Council, China; CSF, Ciência Sem Fronteiras and CONFAP, Conselho Nacional das Fundações Estaduais de Amparo à Pesquisa, Brazil; VIED, Vietnam International Education Development, Vietnam; Bolashak, Kazakhstan; MAECI Grants, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy). These projects initiate and strengthen fruitful international research collaborations, both in the short (thesis co-relationship) and medium-to-long term (after returning home of the Politecnico di Milano PhD Alumni).

The procedure for acceptance / enrolment of candidates supported by international projects is as follows:
• The PhD School and the Rector's International Delegates, with the collaboration of the International Projects Service, assess the strategic interest of the individual funding programs.
• For the candidates of the programs deemed as strategic, the Faculty Board of the involved PhD programme, possibly through an evaluation committee, evaluates the candidates’ eligibility and the compatibility of their curricula with the Programme Plan. At this stage, the Faculty Board may ask for the support of the International Projects Service to evaluate the candidates’ careers.
• The eligible candidates are entitled to receive an acceptance or pre-acceptance letter, prepared by the PhD School. These candidates may be enrolled at the November entry without participating to the Call for Admissions, if selected by the funding program involved. They may also be enrolled at the February and May entries, if so specified by an agreement signed with the funding institution.

Current PhD Programmes and Contacts