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Joint Doctoral Supervision across Countries: Changes, Challenges and Considerations

Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education

ISBN: 978-1-78560-135-4, eISBN: 978-1-78560-134-7

Publication date: 30 March 2016


Many universities international activities have increased enormously in volume, scope, and complexity in recent years (Altbach & Knight, 2007; Altbach, 2015) with education providers seeking more innovative ways to provide education across boundaries. Joint doctoral degrees are one example of such an initiative, focusing on international collaboration between institutions. Joint doctorates can provide richer and more rewarding learning experiences for PhD students, supervisors and collaborating institutions. However, all the parties involved also need to be aware of the potential challenges and considerations that underpin effective outcomes, as well as the key differences between joint degree doctorates and doctorates with more traditional approaches. It has been pointed out that the literature on joint degree programmes is ‘thin’ providing limited information for institutional leaders (and other parties involved in their setting up and conduct) who may be contemplating joint degree initiatives (Michael & Balraj, 2003). This chapter draws on a unique case study of a joint doctoral programme that operates across continents and academic cultures to illustrate the challenges and considerations that should be borne in mind prior to entering into joint doctoral arrangements. Various ways in which the associated challenges may be overcome are also suggested in order to support effective outcomes for all the parties involved.



We would like to thank the international and legal departments at both UTS and TU/e for their support in setting up the joint doctoral degree programme; the PhD students and their supervisors who are currently executing the programme and the Joint Academic Committee for overseeing these processes. Thanks also to Doménique van Gennip for making the images illustrated here. This research was supported by STW VIDI grant number 016.128.303 of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), awarded to Elise van den Hoven, and through two UTS Doctoral Scholarships.


van den Hoven, E. and Connell, J. (2016), "Joint Doctoral Supervision across Countries: Changes, Challenges and Considerations", Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 259-280.



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