View Current

Joint Doctor of Philosophy Policy

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this document to the document author - refer to the Status and Details on the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose of Policy

(1) To set out clear and defined conditions for the establishment and management of Joint PhD Agreements between the University of Wollongong (UOW) and other Higher Education institutions, governing joint doctoral degrees from both institutions.

(2) A Joint PhD Agreement is an agreement between UOW and another Higher Education institution; governing a joint doctoral degree from both institutions. Under such an agreement, the doctoral degree is recognised on the UOW transcript and testamur and the relevant certification of the overseas institution as having been awarded under a Joint PhD Agreement with the overseas partner institution.

(3) The Joint PhD Agreement aims to:

  1. enhance international research collaboration, including the recruitment of research students;
  2. improve the opportunities for doctoral research students to undertake international study;
  3. enhance access by doctoral students to up-to-date technologies and equipment, and the finest supervision; and
  4. allow international students to gain access to funding mechanisms which may otherwise be unavailable.
Top of Page

Section 2 - Application and Scope

(4) This Policy applies to:

  1. jointly supervised PhD candidature undertaken at UOW where there is a Joint PhD Agreement in place between the relevant UOW faculty and the other Higher Education institution; and
  2. dual PhDs where the conditions of the Dual PhD Agreement comply with the conditions outlined in this Policy.

(5) This Policy is to be referred and adhered to by all UOW staff and students when establishing and/or managing a Joint or Dual PhD Agreement.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Criteria for Establishment of a Joint PhD Agreement

(6) A Joint PhD Agreement will normally only be initiated in cases where there is an ongoing research collaboration between the two institutions/schools or research groups.

(7) Approval for a Joint PhD agreement will only be given if the agreement furthers UOW’s research mission.

(8) Joint PhD Agreements should take effect from the beginning of candidature, however under certain conditions retrospective approval may be sought for existing candidates. The same process for the establishment of a Joint PhD Agreement is required for existing candidates.

(9) Students must satisfy the requirements of both UOW and the partner University with regard to enrolment, progression and reviews of progress, thesis submission and examination, intellectual property agreements and ethical clearances.

(10) Agreement on these processes must be obtained prior to submission of the proposal for UOW approval. Wherever possible, the processes of both institutions should be aligned to avoid unnecessary duplication and burdensome requirements on students.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Approval of Proposal and Agreement

(11) The Joint PhD Agreement Proposal Form must be approved by the ADR-HDR of the faculty and then by the Dean of Graduate Research. Once approved, a Joint PhD Agreement detailing specific arrangements of the candidature, is established between the two participating institutions by the Graduate Research.

(12) Joint PhD Agreements may constitute a Foreign Arrangement, depending on the overseas partner institution’s relationship to government. Foreign Arrangements must be the subject of notifications to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, both at the negotiation stage and when finalised, in accordance with the Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020. Such notifications are coordinated by the Global Strategies Division.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Candidature

Conditions of Candidature

(13) The conditions of and regulations pertaining to candidature at the partner institution must be compatible with UOW policy documents, as detailed below (or in the absence of Guidelines at the partner institution, UOW policy documents shall apply). In the case of a significant variation, this should be foreshadowed and resolved at the initial agreement proposal stage.

(14) Candidature related matters would include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. admission requirements - note that UOW requires its entry requirements to be met by all students whether from UOW or the partner institution;
  2. Code of Practice - Responsible Conduct of Research;
  3. Code of Practice - Supervision;
  4. Higher Degree Research (HDR) Award Rules;
  5. Student Conduct Rules;
  6. Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy;
  7. HDR Supervision and Resources Procedures;
  8. ethics clearances; and
  9. Workplace Health and Safety and Equity protocols.

(15) If the student is to have access restricted in any way to standard UOW enrolment procedures this must be itemised on the Joint PhD Agreement Proposal Form (e.g. if the student is not permitted to take leave from the program for any reason except on medical or pregnancy grounds or to vary his/her enrolment from full to part-time etc.).

Time Spent at Each Institution

(16) The Joint PhD candidature must be divided between the two institutions with alternate stays at each and a minimum of 1 year full-time (two semesters full-time) at each institution. The total time spent at each institution must consist of consecutive sessions. The remaining time for completions will be as agreed by both institutions. An indicative timetable for candidature at both institutions must be specified in the Joint PhD Agreement.


(17) The duration of a Doctoral degree under a Joint PhD Agreement is the same as a normal Doctoral degree; that is, taking 1.5 - 4 EFTSL to complete as a full-time candidate (Higher Degree Research (HDR) Award Rules clause 61).


(18) The Joint PhD Agreement must list the two principal supervisors who are to undertake the joint supervision, one per institution, and if the student’s Home institution is UOW they will also be required to have at least one additional supervisor as per the UOW HDR Supervision and Resources Procedures.

(19) Additional associated supervisors from either institution may be appointed, as appropriate. The partner institution must agree to apply the UOW Code of Practice - Supervision when supervising Joint PhD candidates.

Language of Instruction

(20) Instruction shall be in the language of instruction for each institution. The candidate must therefore be able to meet both the English proficiency requirements of UOW and the language proficiency requirement of the partner institution.

Top of Page

Section 6 - Monitoring and Reporting

(21) Where UOW is the Home institution UOW reporting and progress procedures will be followed

(22) The Joint PhD Agreement must include details of the progress review procedures agreed with the partner institution, including what language the reviews will be conducted in.

(23) Unless alternative arrangements are prescribed in the Joint PhD Agreement, hosted students will also follow UOW reporting and progress procedures while they are enrolled at UOW.

(24) The Joint PhD Agreement should describe the procedure that will be put in place to reach a decision on the student’s candidature should progress be deemed to be unsatisfactory at the overseas institution.

Top of Page

Section 7 - Fees

(25) Students will pay fees according to the fee requirements of their home institution.

(26) There is no tuition fee attached to the Joint PhD degree at the University of Wollongong while students are within the allowable timeframe of 4.5 EFTSL.

(27) Host institutions in partnership with UOW must agree to grant fee exemptions or provide tuition fee scholarships covering the period of enrolment at the host institution.

(28) A student whose nominated home institution is an overseas institution will pay tuition fees to their home institution as per that institution’s fee regime and will not pay fees to UOW.

(29) The Joint PhD Agreement will specify any provisions for the candidate's research costs including laboratory/fieldwork funding, which is provided by the home University.

Top of Page

Section 8 - Budget

(30) A detailed budget must be provided on the Joint PhD Agreement Proposal Form. Items to be included are:

  1. any arrangements for scholarships and other allowances, and travel support for candidate;
  2. any arrangements for payment of visas and medical insurance, if these are not to be the student’s responsibility;
  3. funding arrangements for supervisors/examiners;
  4. additional funding for the thesis examination, if appropriate; and
  5. costs of specialist equipment and consumables.

(31) Other incidental fees and charges, health cover, travel and associated costs, accommodation and personal expenses are the responsibility of the candidate.

Top of Page

Section 9 - Visas

(32) Students are enrolled as a doctoral student at both universities and are eligible to apply for a student visa for the period of research overseas.

(33) Students studying in Australia and overseas are subject to strict visa conditions and should contact the Department of Immigration in the country they are travelling to in order to acquaint themselves with their possible visa requirements.

(34) Students will themselves be responsible for undertaking the student visa application process.

(35) Overseas students in Australia on a student visa (in this case, UOW international students) are allowed to participate in an international exchange program in a third country, subject to conditions.

Top of Page

Section 10 - Intellectual Property

(36) The Joint PhD Agreement must specify any intellectual property agreements or conditions.

(37) Copyright of the thesis will be assigned to the candidate.

(38) All agreements must comply with the UOW IP Intellectual Property Policy.

Top of Page

Section 11 - Ethics

(39) The proposal should outline arrangements for dealing with ethics approvals and should cover: whether the relevant UOW Ethics Committee has been consulted (provide details), and whether the equivalent offices at the partner institution have been consulted.

(40) Evidence of any agreement reached between the two institutions should be attached.

Top of Page

Section 12 - Thesis Examination

(41) The thesis examination must meet the requirements of both institutions. UOW will require a written evaluation of the thesis by two examiners (both external to UOW) as outlined in the UOW HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy. UOW does not permit supervisors to be examiners. The agreement can make provision to use common examiners, and share examiners’ reports if appropriate.

(42) Some overseas Governments may determine that the examination of doctoral theses is by way of a Viva Voce examination (oral defence) by a jury selected by the student’s institution. Under a Joint HDR agreement, the selection of the jury would be undertaken by both institutions. The oral defence may be conducted by video or audio conferencing.

(43) The Joint PhD agreement will specify the nature of the examination process, and funding for expenses for examiners attending a possible oral defence. Funding of examiner’s expenses is the responsibility of the home institution, unless otherwise negotiated in the Joint PhD Agreement.

(44) The student must produce a written thesis for examination by both institution and is required to meet all submission and examination requirements of each institution for the thesis relevant to that institution.

Top of Page

Section 13 - Award of Degree

(45) When the required time spent at each institute, and the required conditions for examination have been met, a candidate will receive a UOW doctoral testamur and certification relating to the doctorate (or other equivalent qualification from the overseas institution) from the partner institution in respect of that candidature.

(46) The UOW testamur and transcript and the relevant certification of the overseas Institution must specify that the award is ‘Conferred as a single degree under a joint PhD program between the University of Wollongong and [name of partner institution]’.

Top of Page

Section 14 - Roles and Responsibilities

(47) Roles and responsibilities are as specified in this Policy.

Top of Page

Section 15 - Definitions

Word/Term Definition (with examples if required)
ADR-HDR Associate Dean Research – Higher Degree Research
Candidature The undertaking of a course of study.
Domestic student An Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen enrolled to study or registered for a course at UOW.
EFTSL Equivalent Fulltime Student Load
Foreign arrangement A foreign arrangement is a written agreement, contract, understanding or undertaking between an Australian State/Territory entity (including the University) and certain foreign entities (primarily foreign governments and agencies, including certain universities), whether or not there are any other parties to the arrangement and whether it is legally binding or not.
Graduate Research Graduate Research School
HDR candidate A student in the process of completing the requirements for a degree.
Joint PhD Agreement An agreement between an Australian University (in this case UOW) and another Higher Education institution, governing a joint doctoral degree from both institutions.
Partner / Host Institution The institution at which the candidate has secondary enrolment.
Home Institution The institution at which the candidate has primary enrolment
RTP Research Training Program
Student visa A document issued by a country giving a certain individual permission to enter that country for a given period of time for the purpose of study.
Testamur Certification of an award. In the case of joint PhD agreements a student can receive a testamur from each institution relating to the joint degree program.
Tuition fee A fee to cover the educational costs of a program.
Viva voce An oral examination.