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PhD

Joint PhD FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Joint PhDs

What is a Joint PhD?

A Joint PhD programme is a partnership between King’s College London and an international partner institution, resulting in one qualification awarded by both parties. Students undertaking a Joint PhD will work with supervisors in both institutions, spending time and benefiting from access to learning resources in both locations.

What are the advantages of a Joint PhD programme?

There are a number of benefits to undertaking a Joint PhD. Studying at more than one institution allows students access to the resources and expertise of different departments and may, in some cases, enable them to work between disciplines. Studying in a different country also enables students to immerse themselves in the local culture and find fresh approaches to their work. Students can make professional and personal contacts that may help future career opportunities and, upon completion of their studies, receive a qualification from two internationally recognised institutions.

How do I apply for a Joint PhD programme?

Current Joint PhD programmes are listed here. Once a student has selected the programme they wish to apply for, they must then choose which institution will be their ‘home’. This will be the institution that provides the bulk of the administration, and is usually where a student will begin and finish their research. Students initially apply via the home university’s application system and will normally only pay tuition fees to that university. Applications will then be forwarded to the partner institution for their approval and the student will need to register at both institutions. Prior to application, students should locate a supervisor in both institutions who will oversee their work.

When is the best time to apply?

Application deadlines vary depending on the programme a student is applying for. For King’s home students, application deadlines are advertised in the online prospectus. Students should apply as early as possible and it is recommended that students aim to start their programme at the beginning of the academic year (Sept/Oct) in order to benefit from induction events and have a greater chance of securing college-based accommodation.

Can I apply from outside of the UK/country of the partner institution?

Yes. Applications can be accepted from students based in any country.

How does the approval process work?

Applications are initially assessed by the King's Admissions Office and the academic department. Once an application has been provisionally approved it will be forwarded to the Joint Academic Committee (JAC), who oversee all joint PhD programmes, for consideration. The application will also be forwarded to the partner institution for their approval. 

How long does application/approval take?

The length of time that an application takes can vary depending on the programme and the application itself. As a general guide, students are advised to apply as early as possible, usually at least six months before the intended start date, and should take note of any advertised deadlines.

Do I need to pay tuition fees to both institutions?

Students must register with both institutions but usually only pay tuition fees to their home institution. 

What is a travel plan?

Students applying for a Joint PhD programme must submit a Travel Plan form detailing the periods of time they plan to spend at each institution, covering the duration of their studies. This is kept as a record of the student’s whereabouts and is used as a reference for any official letters that may be needed in order to obtain visas. This must be submitted to the home institution at the application stage. 

What do I need to consider when producing a travel plan?

Students must consider when they intend to spend time in each institution. There are set requirements for the minimum amount of time that should be spent in each location, which varies between partner institutions, but students usually have some flexibility as to when they travel and how many trips they make. Details of periods of candidature can be found in the notes section of the Travel Plan form.

Who agrees the travel plan?

The travel plan must be agreed by both supervisors and approved by the Joint Academic Committee (JAC).

Where can I find information regarding visas?

Students are responsible for obtaining their own visas prior to travel. Any queries or concerns about the visa process can be directed to the Student Advice & International Student Support office.

What should I do if I need to change my travel plan?

If a student needs to change their travel plan they must first discuss this with their supervisors. Once they have the agreement of their supervisors they will need to re-submit a travel plan to both institutions, who, if necessary, will be able to provide an updated letter confirming the details to assist with any visa issues. In some circumstances, approval may also be required from the Joint Academic Committee (JAC).

How do I identify potential supervisors?

Lists of King’s staff working in each research area can be found in the departmental pages of the King's website. Students can refer to this in order to select a potential supervisor based on their area of interest or expertise. Please note that programmes within the health faculties may already have supervisors attached to available projects. Students should make contact with potential supervisors before submitting an application (see below question for further information).

Partner institutions may have similar information available on their websites, or students can contact the relevant Faculty for information.

Do I need to find supervisors before submitting an application?

Students should approach potential supervisors prior to submitting an application. This can make the process quicker, plus students benefit from having made informal contact and ensuring a match between their area of research and the interests and availability of their supervisor(s). Students must include the names of their potential supervisors on their application and will be asked for confirmation that they have made contact. Please note that any agreement to act as supervisor is provisional at this stage and is dependent upon the assessment of a student’s full application and documentation.

I cannot find a supervisor in the corresponding department of the partner institution. What can I do?

Students are recommended to locate supervisors in both institutions before submitting an application as offers are subject to a student having suitable supervisors. Students can refer to the partner institution’s website or contact the relevant faculty for information. 

Can I apply to supervisors based within different disciplines?

Students can apply to supervisors in different disciplines at the two institutions provided that the department/faculty in question offers joint PhDs. The Centre for Doctoral Studies will be able to confirm this. The potential for inter-disciplinary work is also dependent upon the student’s research area. 

Are there any opportunities for funding for Joint PhDs?

Funding falls into two categories: institutional funding (from the home university) and external funding. King’s home students should refer to the Postgraduate Funding database for information on what's currently available trough King's.

How do I arrange accommodation?

Students are strongly encouraged to plan their period(s) at King’s to coincide with the regular academic calendar if they intend to apply for accommodation in the halls of residences. Demand for accommodation usually exceeds availability so students are encouraged to also consider options such as privately managed halls of residence or rented accommodation. This particularly applies to students coming to King’s outside of the regular semesters as they will not be considered priority applicants. More information about King’s accommodation can be found on the King's Residences webpages. Students should refer to the partner institution’s website for information regarding their accommodation arrangements.

How much time will I need to spend at each institution?

The minimum amount of time spent at each institution depends on which partner university a student is studying with. In most cases, students spend a minimum of 12 months or up to 50% of their time at each institution. Details of periods of candidature can be found in the notes section of the Travel Plan form.

Is it possible to study for a Joint PhD in a subject that isn’t currently listed on the website?

No. All currently available subject areas are listed on the King’s Worldwide web pages and in the online prospectus. New programmes will be added as they become available.

Do I need to speak the language of the country of the partner institution?

Not necessarily, though some programmes may expect this as an entry requirement. If so, this will be listed in the prospectus. Students coming to King’s from other institutions must provide evidence of their English language ability in the form of recognised test results at the minimum level, or a written statement from the Student Records or Registry department of their university saying they were ‘taught and examined entirely in English’ for the duration of their degree.

Are Joint PhDs offered on a part-time basis?

Most Joint PhDs are only offered on a full-time basis as students are not able to obtain the necessary visas for part-time study. The list of Joint PhD programmes on the King’s Worldwide pages of the website specifies where part-time study is possible.

Is there a limit to the number of places available on a Joint degree programme?

Yes, places are limited on Joint PhD programmes so students must ensure that they apply as early as possible.

Do I need to attend any compulsory courses during my PhD programme?

Students whose home institution is King’s are able to apply for training courses offered through the Centre for Doctoral Studies’ Researcher Development Programme (RDP). These are not compulsory but students are encouraged to attend any sessions that would help develop their generic skills. The only event that all postgraduate research students are expected to attend is the Centre fo Doctoral Studies' College-wide Induction. Students whose home institution is a partner university may have to attend some compulsory courses. Students should check with their departments for further information.

Do I need to obtain ethical approval for my research?

Any students conducting research that involves humans or animals must obtain ethical approval before commencing their research. If a student is conducting research whilst at King’s, they should refer to the Research Ethics web pages for information. Students wishing to conduct fieldwork during their time at the partner university will also need to apply to the relevant Committee at that institution. Students should discuss this with their supervisor, who will be able to guide them through the process. 

Any research that is conducted within an external institution, such as a hospital, will also need to meet the requirements for that particular body. Again, students should discuss this with their supervisors in the first instance.

Where can I find further information?

Details of current Joint PhD programmes can be found within the King’s Worldwide pages of the website and in the online prospectus. Students who are interested in a particular programme can contact the Admissions Tutor within their academic department, or the Admissions Office. General enquiries about Joint PhD programmes can be directed to the Centre for Doctoral Studies at doctoralstudies@kcl.ac.uk 

More detailed guidance can be found in the Student Guide to Joint PhD Programmes.

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