A joint or a double PhD is a PhD that is prepared at two or three universities (in Belgium or abroad). The minimum requirement is that the PhD student conducts at least six months of research at the partner institution(s). The thesis is defended at only one of the universities, but the PhD student receives a doctoral diploma from all institutions involved.

  • In case of a joint PhD, the institutions confer one and the same doctoral title. This can be done via one diploma that is approved by all universities involved, or via separate diplomas that refer to each other.
  • In case of a double PhD, the institutions each confer a different doctoral title. This can be done via one diploma mentioning the different titles, or via separate diplomas that refer to each other.

In practice, we commonly use the term 'joint PhD' to indicate both types (joint or double PhD).

The general PhD regulations of UAntwerp state the rules with regard to joint PhDs in articles 41-47.

Incoming and outgoing joint PhD students

In case of a joint or double PhD, one university will be the 'home institution'. The other universit(y)(ies) will act as the 'partner institution(s)'.

  • In case of an outgoing joint PhD, the University of Antwerp is the home institution. When starting the joint PhD, outgoing PhD students should first enrol as PhD students at the University of Antwerp, and follow the 'standard procedure' for PhDs at our university. They must perform at least 6 months of research at the partner institution(s). As soon as the partner institution(s) has/have also admitted them as a joint PhD student to their university, they must enrol there as a PhD student as soon as possible. 
  • In case of an incoming joint PhD, another university acts as the home institution. Incoming joint PhD students are already enrolled at their home university when they apply for their joint PhD with UAntwerp. They wish to conduct joint PhD research with a supervisor at UAntwerp who is a member of the tenured academic staff (ZAP). They must conduct at least 6 months of research at all universities involved.

The designation of the 'home institution' or 'main institution' can be determined based on one or more of the following elements:

  1. Funding: the institution that funds (most of) the doctoral research or the institution to which the supervisor belongs under whose authority the application of the external funding occurred;
  2. Presence: the institution where most of the doctoral research takes place, where the PhD researcher will spend most of his/her working hours;
  3. Start: the institution where the doctoral research was initiated, where the PhD researcher first registered.

If these criteria are not sufficient to distinguish between the institutions, the main institution will be designated by mutual agreement.