Build your global research career with an international joint PhD degree

Undertake a PhD degree, while being jointly supervised by leading academics here in Melbourne and at one of our overseas partner institutions.

Through a joint PhD you will:

  • Access expertise, resources and world-class training at Melbourne and a leading institution abroad, spending at least 12 months of your candidature at each
  • Gain complementary skills from international colleagues to increase the impact of your research
  • Grow your international networks and develop a truly global perspective
  • Become part of two high-quality research environments and cultures
  • Have the joint nature of your PhD recognised by two testamurs – one from each partner university.

We provide funded opportunities to conduct a joint PhD with our partner institutions by supporting cohorts of graduate researchers, known as International Research Training Groups (IRTGs). These IRTGs provide a supportive and collegiate environment for you to excel in your research training.

In addition to existing opportunities within our IRTGs, you could also explore joint PhD options in a different subject area with one of our international partner institutions listed below.

  • KU Leuven
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
    • Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (UPPA)
    • Université de Lyon - Jean Moulin (Lyon 3)
    • Sorbonne Université
    • Claude Bernard University (Lyon 1)
    • Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon
    • Université de Lille
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
    • RWTH Aachen
    • University of Bonn
    • University of Cologne
    • University of Düsseldorf
    • University of Wuppertal
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Max Plank Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
    • University of Potsdam
  • RWTH Aachen
  • University of Bayreuth
  • University of Bonn
  • University of Hamburg
  • University of Potsdam
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Tirupati
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • University College Dublin
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • University of Amsterdam
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Manchester

When you apply for a joint PhD you nominate either Melbourne or an overseas institution as your Home Institution. Your Home Institution is usually the one where you spend most of your time. This is normally predetermined by the project or joint PhD opportunity you are applying for.

Your project plan will include a research stay of at least 12 months at your Host Institution.

Your PhD will be jointly supervised by at least one supervisor from each partner institution.

The level of funding support (for example, to cover tuition fees or a stipend) will depend on the joint PhD activity, partner institution, and which of the partners is your Home Institution.

Details of your enrolment and candidature will be governed by an agreement between us and your partner institution. This Individual Graduate Researcher Agreement (IGRA) will outline your location periods (of at least 12 months) at each institution, thesis requirements, as well as supervision, funding, examination and graduation arrangements.

If Melbourne is your Home Institution

If we are your Home Institution you will:

  • Receive a fee-remission scholarship to waive your Melbourne tuition fees
  • Access one of more than 600 living allowance scholarships made available to graduate researchers every year (see the Graduate Research Scholarships page for more information)
  • Continue receiving a living allowance scholarship while undertaking your research overseas at your Host Institution*
  • Be encouraged to apply for travelling scholarships and other financial support offered through your home faculty, graduate school, or an external sponsor.

A fee-remission scholarship will be awarded at your host institution for the duration of your PhD.

If Melbourne is your Host Institution

If the University of Melbourne is not your Home Institution, funding will usually be allocated by the partner institution through a competitive process. This scholarship or stipend would support your Home Institution’s tuition fees and living allowance for the duration of your degree, including the time when you are conducting research in Melbourne with us as your Host Institution. *

As your Host Institution, we will award you a fee-remission scholarship for the duration of your PhD.

*Note that in some arrangements scholarship funding is split between the partners and paid for by the institution at which you are located at any given time.

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Discover what it's like to complete an international joint PhD


German PhD candidate Susi Seibt had always wanted to experience life in Australia. The international joint PhD program enabled her to fulfil both her personal and professional ambitions. After completing her PhD in chemistry, Dr Seibt secured her dream job at the Australian Synchrotron.

Read more
  • After making sure you meet the entry requirements for a PhD at both Melbourne (as a domestic or international applicant) and the proposed partner university, identify either:
  • Submit your cover letter, CV, transcripts and any supporting documentation to the proposed supervisors
  • Once advised to do so by your proposed supervisors, follow the steps to apply for entry to the relevant PhD course (determined by the Faculty that your supervisor is in) at Melbourne as either a domestic or international candidate. Be sure to specify that you want to be considered for a joint PhD and indicate the appropriate details under the Partner University Details section
  • Apply independently for entry to a PhD at your partner university via their application process
  • Request additional documentation, including the Individual Graduate Researcher Agreement (IGRA) that sets out the terms and conditions of your jointly awarded PhD, from your Melbourne supervisor - or from the appropriate coordinator if you are applying for a joint PhD as part of an IRTG. IRTG Coordinator contact details can be found on the IRTG website . The IGRA should be completed before you commence your PhD.

For further general information and advice see the FAQs below.

The University of Melbourne administers jointly awarded PhD degrees with partner institutions with whom we agree to support cohorts of graduate researchers: International Research Training Groups (IRTGs). If your proposed joint PhD arrangement fits within your University of Melbourne supervisor’s plans to develop an IRTG with a new partner university, then please direct them to the Joint PhD and IRTG Staff Hub page for more information.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer Joint PhDs in a part-time capacity at this time.

Upon completion of your Joint PhD, the degree is conferred through two testamurs, one from each participating institution. Both testamurs will state the joint nature of the degree and name the partner institution.

Usually your graduation ceremony takes place at the home institution, although you may wish to attend both graduation ceremonies.

As well as being accepted into a PhD program at each university you must fill-out the individual Graduate Researcher Agreement. This agreement varies depending on the partner institution and can be obtained via the coordinator of the Joint PhD activity. Once complete you should submit the form back to the coordinator.

The agreement must be completed, signed, and dated by all parties as soon as possible after you have been accepted at both institutions. It must be processed within the first year of candidature.

As a Joint PhD candidate you have up to a maximum 4 years of enrolled candidature to submit your thesis to Melbourne. Melbourne stipends are awarded for up to 3.5 years, and Melbourne fee-remissions are awarded for up to 4 years.

Whether Melbourne is your Home or Host Institution, information regarding student visas, accommodation, and other international student support is available for all incoming international candidates. The University also offers a free airport pickup service to interstate and international students who are commencing their first semester of study.

Student visas for time spent at your partner institution (where you are a non-national of the partner institution country) will depend on the location of the partner institution and its country’s national regulations. You should seek independent advice regarding necessary visas and accommodation specific to your partner institution.

If you are an International graduate researcher, you must arrange compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for your time at Melbourne, as part of your visa requirements. If you receive a scholarship from Melbourne for your time spent in Melbourne, single cover OSHC will be provided.

Please consult with your proposed partner institution regarding health insurance requirements for your time at the partner institution.

Yes, mobility costs are included for you when successfully enrolled as part of a Joint PhD activity. However, you will be encouraged to apply for external funding to support these activities.

PhD completion and assessment policies differ between UoM and partner institutions. To receive your Joint PhD degree you must abide by the requirements of both institutions, as outlined in your individual agreement.

The program Coordinator along with the lead academics of the Joint PhD activity will make reasonable efforts to assist you in resolving the conflict, which may include finding an alternative supervisor, provided that you are in good standing and in accordance with University of Melbourne policies and procedures.