Graduate Research School
A joint PhD is awarded by collaborating institutions that have entered into an agreement on research training activities. One of the aims of setting up a joint PhD is to build upon existing research capabilities and relationships that have already been established between the two institutions. At UNSW, the pre-existence of collaborative research between each institution may be evidenced by such activity as a jointly published research paper, work on joint projects, joint grants, or staff exchanges.
Before a joint PhD can be approved, a number of steps have to take place that involve agreement and discussion at institutional level, agreement at UNSW Research Division level and discussion with, and recommendation from, the UNSW Graduate Research School.
STEP 1: Memorandum of Agreement (MOU)- Intent to pursue a Joint PhD
If a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is not currently in place with UNSW and the proposed university, an MOU needs to be established. The MOU should include clauses that outline the intent to pursue a Joint PhD program:
- Parties of each institution will work towards collaboration of joint PhD programs. Both parties are committed to working together towards getting formal approval for binding agreements within 6 months of the date of this MOU.
- Both parties will work towards establishing joint research collaborations in areas of common interest and mutual benefit; initially collaborating in areas related to xxxxxxxx. Both parties will actively encourage faculty to participate in grant calls for funding for joint research.
- The parties will form a task force within xx weeks after signing of this MOU to explore, in good faith, the above collaborations and work towards specific and binding agreements.
STEP 2: Discussion process between Deans of Graduate Research at each institution
Following the establishment of the MOU, there is need for detailed discussion between the two institutions’ Deans of Graduate Research (or equivalent) to define the requirements at policy and procedural level that will ensure a joint PhD will comply with each university’s policies, but specifically for UNSW, will comply with UNSW conditions for the award of a PhD.
STEP 3: Agreement to pursue a Joint PhD
This agreement outlines basic areas that need to be defined and agreed to, to allow a joint PhD to be set up and administered across the two universities, from legal through to the day –to –day detail and covers the following: academic administration, Intellectual Property, confidential information, publicity, the use of names, dispute resolution, termination, and applicable law. It then consists of an annex that outlines the general requirements of the PhD, the admission criteria, tuition fees and scholarships, selection of projects, the starting dates, thesis examination, and expected resource commitment
STEP 4: Joint PhD Candidate Agreement (JCA)- The individual student agreement
In a joint PhD, each candidature is governed by an individual student proposal and agreement outlining the specific terms. The Joint PhD Candidate Agreement (JCA) is initiated by the UNSW supervisor and a collaborating supervisor at the second institution (A joint PhD is not initiated by a student request or student application).
In order to complete this form the supervisors will need to have read the UNSW Joint PhD Program Policy and the Joint PhD Candidature Approval Procedure.
Within the agreement it is expected that information is known and specific arrangements have been made about the following areas:
- pre-existing research collaboration between the two institutions
- proposed research topic
- arrangements for reviewing the candidate’s progress
- copyright and intellectual property arrangements (requires separate discussion with Research Legal office)
- ethical clearances
- proposed language of the thesis/oral defence
- proposed periods of residence at each institution
- proposed thesis examination procedures
- arrangements for fees
There are then requirements for individual sign-off at UNSW by the:
- proposed candidate
- Head of School
- Faculty Dean
Once approval has been given at Faculty level at UNSW, the JCA should be forwarded to the Graduate Research School at UNSW, where it is then considered by the Dean, Graduate Research for recommendation to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) for its approval.
At the same time the JCA is being written and approval is being obtained at UNSW, the proposed candidate will also need to apply for admission at UNSW, to be accepted into a PhD program. Submission of a JCA form does not guarantee that a student will be accepted for enrolment into a PhD, or joint PhD at UNSW. An admissions application must also be made, and approval given, separately through the University’s normal admissions process for PhD applicants. Separate approval will be given for the joint PhD application.
In the UNSW admissions application, the proposed candidate will need to supply all copies of requested admissions documentation. For applicants who are citizens of countries under United Nations and Australian Government Autonomous Sanctions, a sanctions assessment will need to be carried out by the School and Faculty before any admissions offer can be made. Proposed candidates at risk of contravening sanctions will not be able to be made an admissions offer into a UNSW PhD or into a joint PhD
After the JCA has been approved at UNSW, the Graduate Research School will arrange with the UNSW supervisor for the JCA to be forwarded to the collaborating university for its approval and sign-off. The approval must be finalised at least one month prior to commencing candidature.
Once the collaborating university has approved and signed the JCA and returned a signed copy to the Graduate Research School, the candidate can then be enrolled as a joint PhD candidate and will be supervised by a UNSW supervisor and a supervisor at an approved partner institution.
On successful completion of academic requirements for a PhD, a single doctoral degree will be awarded jointly by the two institutions. The award of the PhD by UNSW is recorded on the transcript and testamur as under a Joint PhD agreement between UNSW and the collaborating university.
Joint PhD policies, procedures and forms
Enquiries should be directed to Mike Richardson at the Graduate Research School.
Phone: 9385 4048