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Teaching Council Policy Guideline: International joint degree programmes and joint supervision arrangements at the University of Tampere

Approved in the Teaching Council’s meeting on 4 November 2013 and the Research Council’s meeting on 15 November 2013.

The whole document can be found from the page Teaching Council Policy Guidelines in intra.


1. Background and objectives

The European Commission’s communication European Higher Education in the World emphasizes the importance of international joint and double degree programmes in the quality control, degree recognition, efforts to attract experts into Europe, development of partnerships, and graduate employment of European universities. The European Commission advises all EU member states and European institutes of higher education to strengthen the role of young people in their internationalisation strategies. The Ministry of Education and Culture’s Strategy for the Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Finland 2009–2015 describes joint and double degree programmes as a form of cooperation that promotes internationalisation and is worth pursuing.

The University of Tampere’s strategy emphasises cooperation with strategic partners and interest groups in improving the quality of education and research, and the impressiveness of the university. According to the strategy, international degree programmes are established especially in strong sectors and in cooperation with various disciplines. Because of this, the university’s internationalisation programme states that some international programmes shall be organised and offered in cooperation with strategic partner universities.

2. Definitions

International joint degree programmes refers to degree programmes that are planned, realised, and organised in cooperation with the University of Tampere and one or more foreign institutes of higher education. In a joint degree programme, a student carries out studies as part of the degree at two or more universities, as decreed in the degree programme’s curriculum and the joint degree programme agreement. Students who graduate from a joint degree programme are granted degrees by one or more institutes of higher education and one or more diplomas.

The joint supervision arrangement, or cotutelle arrangement, concerns the joint supervision of a doctoral student’s studies and doctoral thesis by two or more institutes of higher education. In the joint supervision arrangement, the doctoral student is granted one or more degrees and diplomas

3. Shared principles regarding international joint degree programmes

The requirements for establishing and discontinuing joint degree programmes

The University of Tampere organises degree programmes within the limits of its educational responsibility. International degree programmes are implemented with strategically chosen international partner universities. The partner university’s level of education and research must correspond to the University of Tampere, and it must be officially recognised by the authorities of its home country. Joint degree programmes provide the university and the school that organises them with scientific, pedagogic, and social added value, which cannot be attained by other means.

Student selection and admission

The selection preparation, student selection and admission of joint degree programmes should generally be carried out in the same way as in other degree programmes. Instructions and schedules for student selection, application arrangements, and student admission can be found on the education services support page. In joint degree programmes, as in other education, student selection is prepared during the spring semester preceding the application period.

If several faculties from the University of Tampere are participating in a joint degree programme, one of the participating faculties serves as a coordinating faculty. Faculty council of each faculty must approve the selection criteria and propose their number of new students to the University Board.


Generally, joint degree programmes should be drawn up, evaluated, and developed in the same manner as other degree programmes. As with other curricula, the curricula of joint degree programmes are approved by Faculty councils by the end of February.

The curriculum of a joint degree programme shall be planned in cooperation with partner universities and approved by all participating universities. Mobility is a key aspect of joint degree programmes: joint degree students must complete a significant portion of their degree, meaning a period corresponding to at least three months of studies, in a foreign university participating in the joint degree programme

Theses, their supervision, evaluation, and approval are agreed upon as part of the preparation of the curriculum together with partner universities. In joint degree programmes, a thesis may also be supervised and evaluated at a partner university participating in the programme.

Study guidance

The study guidance of joint degree programmes should primarily be organised and carried out in the same manner as in other degree programmes. A guidance plan shall be drawn up for each joint degree programme and a person in charge of guidance shall be named. Joint degree programme students shall draw up personal study plans, which are to be revised throughout their studies.

Granting degrees and diplomas

A student who has completed a joint degree programme is always granted a degree by at least one of the participating universities. In order to be eligible for a degree and diploma from the University of Tampere, the student must have the right to complete a degree at the University of Tampere and the degree being granted must fall within the educational responsibility of the University of Tampere.

The universities participating in the joint degree programme shall agree upon which and what kinds of diplomas are to be granted for completing the degree.

A student graduating from a joint degree programme at the University of Tampere is always granted a Finnish language diploma in accordance with the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004, sections 4 and 26). In addition to this, the graduate may be granted an English language diploma with the same contents and/or a joint diploma from the participating universities for completing the joint degree programme. The joint diploma shall mention the partner universities whose courses are included in the degree, as well as any diplomas and degree titles granted with the degree.

The graduate shall also be provided with an international Diploma Supplement, which must mention that the degree granted is a joint degree that has been completed in an international degree programme, and describe the universities that participated and granted degrees in the programme, as well as the structure of the programme.

Quality control and feedback system

Joint degree programmes are subject to the same quality control procedures as other degree programmes at the University of Tampere. Joint degree programmes shall carry out self-evaluation, participate in internal and external audits, and produce the same quality control documents as other degree programmes.