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Thesis Cotutelle

Thesis cotutelle is a special arrangement between two partner universities that allows you to pursue your PhD at INRS and a university outside Québec. 

Thesis cotutelle requires two partner universities to establish a joint program. Your course work and research will be split between the two institutions. You’ll need to register as a full-time student at both schools, successfully complete the admissions process, meet the requirements of both PhD programs, and spend time in both locations. At the end of your program you’ll receive two diplomas—one from each partner university—but you will only have to defend your thesis once. Find a PhD Program ⟶ (in French)

With thesis cotutelle, your studies and research will be supervised jointly. But joint supervision doesn’t automatically lead to a dual degree. The two universities involved must be linked by a framework agreement. If you’re interested in thesis co-supervision, you need to get the process started as soon as possible. How to find a research supervisor ⟶

The process 

First contact the INRS Graduate Studies and Student Success Service (in French) to find out whether a framework agreement is already in place with the university you’re interested in. INRS can draw up agreements with universities in any country. 

1. The framework agreement

If the university is in France, there is already a framework agreement (between the Conference of University Presidents [CPU], the Conference of Deans of French Schools of Engineering [CDEFI], and the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities [CREPUQ]) that allows for thesis cotutelle between all universities in France and Québec. 

Other framework agreements have been signed with other countries. If there is no agreement in place, INRS can create one provided you have a confirmed research supervisor at each institution. Framework agreements are valid for five years and can be renewed with the agreement of both parties.

2. Admission

Before you can start a thesis co-supervision program, you must be admitted into an INRS graduate program and into an academic program at the partner university. See the program description for each school for information on admission criteria. Your thesis cotutelle plan must be approved by the program committees at INRS and the partner university.

3. Cotutelle agreement

You are responsible for obtaining all required signatures on the cotutelle agreement. Once you have all the required signatures, the agreement form must be sent to the INRS Studies and Student Life Department no later than the end of the second term of enrolment in the PhD program. 

The cotutelle agreement must be approved in advance by the appropriate university authorities and signed by representatives from each partner institution, as follows:

  • The research supervisor;
  • The graduate or PhD program director;
  • The INRS research centre director;
  • The Scientific Direction at INRS and the partner institution.

Learn more about the thesis cotutelle program

The Programme de coopération France-Québec (PDF, in French) document explains how to set up thesis cotutelle with a French university.


For more information or to obtain the thesis cotutelle agreement form, contact the Graduate Studies and Student Success Service at or 418-654-2517.