Doctoral Studies Abroad

A stay abroad during your doctoral studies can be of tremendous benefit to a research project. Many topics call for an international perspective. You can conduct research abroad as part of a guest stay at a foreign research institution or in a more formalized way through a cotutelle agreement or as a doctoral student in a joint PhD program.

Joint PhD

A joint PhD is a doctoral program run by two or more universities in collaboration with each other who award the doctoral degree jointly.  It normally includes longer research stays at each of the institutions involved. Academic supervision is provided by a team of supervisors from the respective universities. A joint PhD is an excellent opportunity to gain international research experience and to enjoy the benefits of complementary facilites and resources as well as networking opportunities for future job prospects.

Guide for Joint PhD Students at the University of Bonn

Before admission, but also during your doctoral studies, there are a number of administrative to-dos and regulations to be aware of. This guide helps you to navigate them successfully.

Overview of Joint PhD Programs

The aim of this program is to train high-profile international researchers, allowing them to benefit from the diversity of expertise and culture of two highly regarded univesity. The program offers scholarships funded by both institutions, to support exceptional students undertaking doctoral research fields such as history, physics, medicine, geography and earth science. More information on current calls is available here

This joint PhD program builds on the collaboration between  the University of Melbourne and the University of Bonn who have recruited over 50 joint PhD students over the last couple of years. Applications are invited, and encouraged, from all faculties and research areas. More information is available here. Please note that only the envisaged superivsors, not the doctoral students themselves, can apply for funding.

This program offers research training towards the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at two locations, with access to world-class expertise across two continents. This presents a fantastic opportunity to develop competencies beyond those typically acquired when undertaking the more traditional (single award) PhD. Graduate researchers have the ability to train in two expert laboratories in Melbourne and Bonn, build an international network of mentors and collaborators and experience other cultures to develop a truly global perspective.

The Jülich-University of Melbourne Postgraduate Academy (JUMPA) is a partnership between Melbourne, the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ/Jülich Research Centre) and its affiliate universities, including the University of Bonn. At JUMPA, graduate researchers can tap into FZJ’s world-leading infrastructure (including Europe’s most advanced supercomputer) in their quest to solve challenging issues in the fields of science, health, and technology. Graduate researchers will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from field experts, participate in specialist summer schools and laboratory courses organized by FZJ, and become part of a vibrant alumni network across FZJ’s affiliated universities across Germany.

This program is jointly organized by the Universities of Bonn, Florence and Paris-Sorbonne IV and taught in German, French and Italian. It involves the subjects of the Faculties of Arts and Humanities, in particular literature and linguistics, art history and musicology, as well as subjects that deal with issues related to the framework of the programme, such as historiography, political science, philosophy, sociology, etc. Over a period of three years, the doctoral students are expected to write a dissertation in the field of European founding myths. For more information please click here [website available in German, French and Italian].

The international doctoral program in Italian Studies offers two different specializations: the trinational doctorate in literary and cultural studies (Bonn-Florence-Paris) and the binational doctorate in linguistics (Bonn-Florence) - [website available in German, French and Italian].

Bi-nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees, Cotutelle

A “bi-national doctorate” or “Cotutelle de thèse” (dual doctorate) is supervised by both a German and a foreign university under an individual cooperation agreement, allowing you to gain experience of two university and research systems. These agreements can be concluded with universities in any country in principle.

Planning and Funding

  • Discuss your plans with the supervisor of your doctoral thesis in Bonn and contact the relevant people at your chosen university abroad.
  • Find out about any rules that might be stipulated in your doctoral degree regulations.
  • Contact your doctoral office or dean’s office.
  • An individual agreement must be set up for your project. You can find a guide and a template for your agreement on the German Rectors’ Conference221.

The German Academic Exchange Service funds doctorates supervised bi-nationally. Several short visits can be made within a period of up to two years.

Learn more33

The French foreign ministry (MAE) developed the “Bourses d’Excellence Eiffel” (“Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program”) in 2005 to fund ten-month stays at French universities for highly talented doctoral students undertaking a “Cotutelle de thèse.”

Learn more44

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Valentin Antonucci von Pexels

Funding opportunities for stays abroad during your doctorate

Depending on your subject and where you would like to go, the University of Bonn provides various funding opportunities for stays abroad during your doctorate.

Funding opportunities

Erasmus+ offers doctoral students a wide range of funding opportunities:

Enrolled doctoral students:

  • Study visits at an Erasmus+ partner institution in Europe444 or world wide5555 of the department concerned.
  • Short term study visits4444 of 5 to 30 days (as from April 2022) at an Erasmus+ partner institution in Europe of the department concerned.
  • Doctoral students and recent-postdocs (i.e. up to one year after graduation): Research internships6666 of 2 to12 months or (as from April 2022) 5 to 30 days in Europe.

Doctoral students with employment status:

  • Teaching Staff Mobility7777: Short-time teaching assignments at an Erasmus+ partner institution in Europe of the department concerned.
  • Staff Mobility8888: Work shadowing at an university/organization in Europa for professional qualification.

Doctoral students can take up a place at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

Learn more9

The Bonn Graduate Center awards Santander International Exchange Grants to support research stays of one to three months duration at strategic university partners or in priority countries.

Learn more109

The world’s largest funding organization for international exchanges for students and researchers offer various scholarships for doctoral students.

Learn more1111

Conference travels are a good opportunity to gain experience abroad during your doctorate. The University of Bonn supports your participation in international conferences with an own funding line. Further, there is great number of external funding organizations granting travel subsidies. An overview is available at the website of the Bonn Graduate Center.

Learn more

Certificate for Intercultural Competence

The Certificate of Intercultural Competence is an extracurricular qualification from the University of Bonn that recognizes international experience, participation in language courses and many other international activities with a formal certificate. Students can complete it in as many semesters as they like while they are still studying.


Avatar Scharf

Hannah Scharf

Study Abroad Advisory Service


Poppelsdorfer Allee 53

53115 Bonn (Germany)

Office hours

Please book an appointment via eCampus

  • Tuesday
    10:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Thursday
    01:00 pm - 03:30 pm

  • and by appointment
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