Joint PhD Program

A Joint PhD Program allows PhD candidates to enrol at UNSW and an approved partner university. Candidates are jointly supervised by both a UNSW supervisor and a collaborating supervisor from the partner university, and they graduate with a single Doctor of Philosophy jointly awarded by both institutions. 

Joint PhD Programs build upon existing research collaborations and relationships that have already been established between the two institutions, including co-publication of research, work on joint research projects, joint research grants, and staff exchanges.

Before a candidate can enrol in a Joint PhD Program, there must be a Joint PhD Agreement between UNSW and the partner university. 

While UNSW has existing Joint PhD Agreements with several universities worldwide, it is possible for a UNSW supervisor with an existing research collaboration to request a Joint PhD Agreement with a new partner university (see below).

 

I'm a prospective UNSW PhD candidate. How do I apply for a Joint PhD Program?

Prior to your enrolment at UNSW, you should discuss your interest in enrolling in a Joint PhD Program with potential UNSW supervisors. If your potential supervisor supports this proposal, they will need to lead the application process outlined below. 

To be considered, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Your potential UNSW supervisor must have an existing research collaboration with the partner university (this can be shown via co-publications, co-supervision, co-funding relationship, staff exchange, sabbaticals, joint presentations etc)

  • You commence their candidature at both institutions at the same time 

  • You must not have already commenced a PhD prior to applying to undertake the Joint PhD Program.

  • You must be enrolled in a full-time study load

 

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Who are the current Joint PhD Program Partners?

UNSW has Joint PhD Agreements in place with the following institutions:

  • University of Montreal, Canada

  • Xi’an Jiatong University, China 

  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

  • Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

  • University of Malaya, Malaysia

  • University of Auckland, NZ

  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

  • Chiang Mai University, Thailand

  • University of Glasgow, UK

  • U21 Network (Umbrella agreement – still need 1:1 institutional agreement in place)

  • Go8 Network (Umbrella agreement – still need 1:1 institutional agreement in place)

 

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Applying for a Joint PhD with a current partner university

Eligibility

  • The UNSW supervisor must have an existing research collaboration with the partner university (this can be shown via co-publications, co-supervision, co-funding relationship, staff exchange, sabbaticals, joint presentations etc). 

  • The candidate must commence their candidature at both institutions at the same time 

  • The candidate must not have already commenced a PhD prior to applying to undertake the Joint PhD Program

  • The candidate must be enrolled in a full-time study load

How to Apply

The application process should be initiated by the UNSW supervisor, and should commence at least 6 months before the intended start date of candidature (for Term Start Dates, visit this page).

  1. UNSW Supervisor completes the Joint PhD Candidate Agreement (JCA) form in collaboration with the supervisor at the partner institution. No signatures should be gathered at this point

  2. Prospective PhD candidate applies to UNSW via Apply Online indicating that they are seeking to enrol under a Joint PhD Program

  3. UNSW Supervisor submits the JCA form to the Graduate Research School (see contact details below)

  4. JCA and admission application are reviewed by the Graduate Research School. Feedback is provided on the draft JCA and any required changes are flagged

  5. UNSW and partner institution supervisor make any agreed changes to JCA. JCA is sent to the Graduate Research School for finalisation

  6. The Graduate Research School confirms to supervisors that JCA can proceed

  7. Admission application is reviewed by School for admission recommendation and returned to the Graduate Research School 

  8. UNSW Supervisor gathers the Head of School approval on the JCA form (preferably electronically). Once these signatures are complete the JCA is returned to the Graduate Research School 

  9. Partner Supervisor gathers the Head of School, Faculty Dean and DVCR approvals on the JCA form (preferably electronically). Once these signatures are complete the JCA is returned to the Graduate Research School

  10. The Graduate Research School will liaise with UNSW Faculty to review agreement and seek approval from UNSW Faculty Dean 

  11. The Dean of Graduate Research will review and approve the application

  12. The Graduate Research School will notify supervisors that agreement is approved

  13. The Graduate Research School sends an offer letter to the candidate 

  14. PhD candidate accepts the offer and commences Joint PhD Program

 

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Establishing a Joint PhD Program with a new partner university

UNSW supervisors can express their interest in establishing a Joint PhD Agreement with a new partner university provided that they are able to demonstrate a strategic and sustainable research relationship between UNSW and the proposed partner university, including a critical mass of prospective applicants.

The process is as follows:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the Joint PhD Policy & Procedure

  2. Complete the Expression of Interest Form for an International MOU or Student Agreement

  3. The EoI will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Research

  4. The Graduate Research School will advise on the status and progression of your application

Before a Joint PhD Agreement can be finalised a number of steps have to take place that involve agreement and discussion between the institutions regarding:

  • candidature terms and conditions

  • financial/scholarship agreements

  • Intellectual Property 

  • examination terms 

  • time-split between institutions 

The Dean of Graduate Research leads the discussions with the partner university’s counterpart Dean to develop the Joint PhD Agreement. These discussions can take anywhere from 3-18 months.

 

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Contact

For further information, please contact the UNSW Graduate Research School.

Email: international.grs@unsw.edu.au

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