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New Guidance for supporting the development of collaborative doctoral programmes

Date: April 13 - 2023

New guidance to support higher education staff in developing successful collaborative doctoral programmes is now available through a QAA funded Collaborative Enhancement Project.

The project was started as a response to a growing interest in collaborative doctoral degrees and the multiple challenges of developing a standard approach across UK Universities for this type of provision. 

While increasingly seen as a means of developing international research collaborations, collaborative degrees can present significant challenges as they bring together two sets of doctoral requirements, often in very different academic cultures, regulatory environments and research context.

To address these challenges, this project brought together practitioners from a representative group of UK institutions to share their experience of collaborative doctoral provision and identify good practice.

The project is led by Coventry University in partnership with the University of Warwick, University of Glasgow, University of Hertfordshire, Northumbria University and University of York.


The project team has 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 understanding of good practice in this area. 

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.  

Find out about QAA’s other Collaborative Enhancement Projects – including those relating to postgraduate provision on our website.