Joint PhD procedure

1. Joint PhD application (by PhD student)

PhD students who meet all the requirements for a joint or double PhD can start up the joint PhD procedure by emailing a complete application file to

The application file needs to reach us at least 1 year before the draft thesis is submitted. The complete procedure (from the initial application up until the signed contract) takes time. Applications must always be submitted and signed by the PhD student him-/herself.

An application file contains the following documents:

  1. a completed and signed Joint PhD application form (incoming/outgoing), including a motivation for the joint PhD and a planning schedule for the (at least) 6-month research period at UAntwerp or the partner institution;
  2. statement of agreement signed by all supervisors (template available): i.e. a letter written by the supervisors stating that they support the application and that they will supervise the research during the joint PhD. The supervisors can sign the same statement on one page or they can sign on different pages;
  3. in case of 3 or 4 supervisors, a motivation must be included: i.e. a letter in which the PhD student or the supervisors elaborate on why all supervisors are crucial to the PhD research, hereby referring to the relevant expertise of all supervisors concerned.

    Please note: The faculty needs to explicitly approve the 3rd (and 4th) supervisor (cf. general UAntwerp PhD regulations, art. 15). The letter will be signed by the faculty council when the application and the supervisors are approved;
  4. in case of an incoming joint PhD, a detailed CV must be included (including an overview of studies as well as research-related and professional activities);
  5. in case of a BOF-financed outgoing joint PhD with another Flemish university, explicit prior permission of the Bureau of the Research Council must be obtained. In order to receive permission, a motivated request must be submitted via, explaining the long-term advantages for the University of Antwerp (cf. BOF regulations, art. 17);
  6. in case of Chinese students who had their prior education in the People's Republic of China and who hold a CSC scholarship (China), the confirmation of their CSC scholarship must be included. If the joint PhD application is approved by the faculty/institute, the Antwerp Doctoral School will register the PhD student with the Flemish government. This way, the PhD student can be exempted from the APS procedure.

2. Drawing up the joint PhD agreement (by Antwerp Doctoral School)

In case the faculty approves the application, a joint PhD agreement is drawn up between both universities and the PhD student. The negotiations are always conducted by the Antwerp Doctoral School. The PhD student and the supervisor(s) will be notified when input is expected from them.

3. Signing the joint PhD agreement (by all parties)

The joint PhD agreement must always be signed by the PhD student, the supervisors and the representatives of both universities. The legal parties of the contract are the (vice-)rectors and the PhD student.

The defence can take place 6 weeks (at the earliest) after the contract is fully signed. 

4. Drawing up an amendment (by Antwerp Doctoral School)

If the situation changes and an amendment needs to be drawn up, please notify us as soon as possible by sending an email to

The Antwerp Doctoral School will, in consultation with the other parties, draw up an amendment. This will then need to be signed by the same parties that signed the original joint PhD agreement.



Antwerp Doctoral School