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Joint Supervision is understood to be the development of original research supervised by two researchers belonging to two distinct universities, the thesis of which is defended in one of the two universities, thereafter the doctoral degree is awarded by both universities.

The internal regulations of the UMA governing the completion of a jointly-supervised PhD thesis are contemplated in the Regulations of Joint Supervision of Doctoral Theses.

In brief, the process of joint supervision has to meet the following requirements:

  • Each jointly-supervised thesis has to be developed within the framework of a Specific Agreement between the two universities, signed by the Rectors of both, based on the principal of reciprocation. Under this agreement each institution recognizes the validity of the PhD thesis defended within this framework and both commit to awarding the PhD degree.
  • The doctorate enrols in both universities, but only pays tuition fees in one (decided in the agreement) and so is excused from paying the fees of the other.
  • The admission requirements for a PhD program will be the same for both universities. Those students who have already completed PhD studies whether in part, or in full, in a foreign university may be able to access a Period of Research of the PhD program they wish to undertake if they meet the academic and admission standards that are established in the relevant rule. The prior approval of the Academic Committee of the PhD program is needed as they have to acknowledge the level of completed studies, and in the case it is deemed necessary can require that additional training be undertaken.
  • The doctorate will have at least one thesis supervisor in each of the universities concerned.
  • The time dedicated to preparing the thesis will be divided between the two universities. The minimum research stay in each of them cannot be less than nine months. The portion of time spent at each university can be completed consecutively or over various periods of time.
  • The thesis is to be written in a language recognised by one of the universities. Notwithstanding, the Abstract of around 5.000 words and the Conclusions have to be written in one of the official languages of the European Union.
  • Once completed, a copy of the thesis should be deposited in both universities concerned. The governing requirements for the depositing, publishing and defense of the PhD thesis are as applied in both universities.
  • The thesis is to be defended only once in either of the two universities. This provision should be covered in a clause of the memorandum agreement signed by both universities. Payment of tuition fees should be made at the university where the thesis defense will take place.
  • The evaluation committee for the thesis will be nominated by common agreement between the two universities. The format, procedures and defense format and style applied will be that of the university where the defense will take place, always ensuring compliance with the requirements laid down in R.D. 99/2011.
  • The archiving and dissemination of the thesis will be carried out in both universities, following the specific procedures of each.
  • The Postgraduate Committee will be responsible for monitoring jointly-supervised PhD thesis.


MODELS OF GEneral and Specifiv Agreements 

As mentioned above, each jointly-supervised thesis has to be developed within the framework of a Specific Agreement between the two universities, signed by the Rectors of both. 

There is also the possibility of signing a General Agreement between the two universities, in case more than one PhD thesis is expected to be conducted under this Joint Supervision regime. The General Agreement establishes the requirements and conditions for all jointly-supervised PhD thesis between the two universities. Once signed, Specific Agreements become simple addenda to it with just the information about the individual thesis, and hence much simpler and easy to deal with. 

The University of Málaga has a set of models of General and Specific Agreements in several languages.


The University of Málaga has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with numerous universities, which include joint supervision and/or co-supervision of PhDs.

  • Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brasil (MOU) (Cotutela)
  • Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina (MOU)
  • Universidad de Colombia, Colombia (MOU)
  • Universidad de Chile, Chile (MOU)
  • Universidad Federal Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil (MOU)
  • Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal (MOU)
  • Universidad de Sonora-México, México (MOU)
  • Trinity Colege, University of Oxford, Inglaterra (MOU)
  • Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Norte, Brasil (MOU)


Should you wish to cosult the list of Agreements signed by the Universidad de Málaga, It is wrorth consulting the Agrements database, held at the Rector's office.


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