U21 Joint PhDs

U21 has an established framework for enabling jointly-awarded PhDs between selected member institutions within its network. Unlike a number of other joint degree programmes under this scheme, two partner universities (in consultation with the student), will create a tailor-made programme of study, taking individual research needs into account and enabling collaboration with another of the network’s universities. This exciting opportunity will enhance  students’ research and employment opportunities on an international scale.

U21 Joint PhD students will have access to:

  • an academic research programme enhanced by the collaboration of two different high quality research environments and cultures 

  • training and facilities of two research-intensive universities 

  • the added value of international networking 

  • a head start in future career planning and professional development

How to apply

It is advisable to approach the universities involved in the first instance to check feasibility, note that in some cases the application process can be lengthy. In setting up a jointly-awarded PhD, the order of events will normally occur in one of two ways (below).  The agreements for these programmes however, are unique to each member university and some institutions have a set application route.  Note that U21 does not award the PhDs; it facilitates the partnership between the 2 network institutions who do. 

Route 1

Supervisors /advisors from two U21 partner universities develop a joint PhD proposal for consideration by both institutions. If/when terms are agreed and funding secured, a lead university will be established. The proposal will then be advertised and open to prospective students. 

Route 2

Alternatively, eligible prospective students may individually approach participating U21 universities. The prospective candidate should already have a doctoral project proposal, and may have already secured funding (for example via a Home Government Scholarship). The student should approach one or two selected U21 institutions (participating members listed below) with a request to pursue a PhD with time spent at each in a joint PhD programme.

The terms of participation of individual students on a jointly-awarded PhD will be agreed on a case-by-case basis, and a separate student-specific Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) must be drawn up and approved by the student, both Partner Universities and the identified supervisor/s (advisor/s) of each Partner University. The agreement will detail, for example, examination arrangements and periods of residence at each institution.

Participating U21 Universities:

  • Australia: University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland 
  • Canada: University of British Columbia
  • India: University of Delhi 
  • Ireland: University College Dublin 
  • New Zealand: University of Auckland
  • South Africa: University of Johannesburg
  • South Korea: Korea University
  • Sweden: Lund University 
  • United Kingdom: University of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Nottingham  

Contact Details

Dr Connie Wan, Researcher Engagement Manager connie.wan@universitas21.com