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Collaborative doctoral degrees are increasingly seen by universities around the world as a means of developing international research collaborations. Bringing together two sets of doctoral requirements, often in very different academic cultures, regulatory environments and research contexts, whilst ensuring a positive experience for the postgraduate researchers (PGRs), can present significant challenges.


The project team developed this project in response to a growing interest in collaborative doctoral degrees and the multiple challenges of improving a standard approach across UK Universities towards developing this type of provision.


The collaboration brought together practitioners from a representative group of UK institutions to share their experience of collaborative doctoral provision and identify good practice.


The project team have produced guidance to equip colleagues in a range of roles with the knowledge they need to develop successful collaborative doctoral programmes - enabling others to benefit from their extensive experience and knowledge of good practice in this area.


Exploring current best practice in the UK in the development of collaborative doctoral degrees

Publication date: 13 Apr 2023

The document is made up of 9 sections including:

  • The benefits of Collaborative Doctoral Awards
  • Definitions: The Challenge of Terminology and Alternatives to Collaborative Doctoral Awards
  • Regional Variations
  • Programme Development
  • Legal Considerations
  • Funding Models
  • Agreeing the Collaborative Doctoral Award Examination Process
  • Delivering the Collaborative Doctoral Award
  • Conclusion and Guiding Principles

This functional toolkit closes with reflective questions for consideration, operational checklists, other useful resources and further reading.

The materials are helpful to a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • professional support staff who have been tasked with developing, or supporting, collaborative doctoral provision,
  • particularly those new to this area of work
  • senior university staff who are involved in establishing international institutional partnerships
  • academics who are interested in collaborative doctoral provision

Project lead:

Coventry University

Project partners:

University of Warwick, University of Glasgow, University of Hertfordshire, Northumbria University and University of York.

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.