Dual Degree Programs with Partner Institutions

These dual degree programs require admission to two institutions, residency at each partner institution, completion of all degree requirements at each institution as stipulated in the customized Plan of Study, co-tutelle (joint supervision) of a dissertation by faculty from both institutions, and submission of the same dissertation at both institutions, resulting – if successful – in degrees from both institutions. When admission to the second institution is offered, an admission letter detailing a customized Plan of Study must be issued. A student who fails to meet the requirements of one university will not be eligible to receive a degree from that university. Beyond these basic requirements, there is considerable variation in the length, funding, and milestones of each program.

Information for Faculty

All proposals to create dual degree programs must be jointly developed, reviewed, approved, and ratified by Northwestern and the partner institution(s). The Graduate School (TGS) has developed a checklist for developing dual degree program proposals and for their internal review. Please contact The Graduate School to receive a copy.

Information for NU Students

Any Northwestern student interested in a dual degree must consult with their advisor, Director of Graduate Study, and The Graduate SchoolNorthwestern University PhD students are expected to complete at least a year at the partner institution. This ensures that the student truly receives extensive mentoring/training from both supervisors and has the advantage of extensive exposure to two campus cultures.

Current Opportunities

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China – Engineering: Northwestern University has dual Master’s of Science programs in Mechanical Engineering and in Materials Science Engineering with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. For further information contact the Director of Masters study in the relevant department.

The University of Copenhagen, Denmark - School of Law: This is a dual PhD program between Northwestern’s Department of Political Science and The University of Copenhagen’s School of Law for the study of international courts. For further information contact Karen Alter.

France and Germany - Dual PhD degree programs available by special arrangements.

Information for Dual Degree Students Coming to Northwestern

Any student of a partner institution who is interested in a dual degree should contact the relevant Northwestern program and apply through TGS. In both cases, consult with TGS as early as possible in the process.


A dual degree master’s student must complete a minimum of three quarters of residency at Northwestern.

A dual degree PhD student must complete a minimum of four quarters of residency and take at least nine letter graded courses (these may include Independent study 499 courses, seminars, and electives, as approved by the program) at Northwestern. Upon recommendation of the home institution and the graduate program at Northwestern, the qualifying examination may be waived for dual PhD students in advanced status. A prospectus (dissertation proposal) is required at Northwestern. All dual PhD students must have a prospectus approved by their committee no later than the end of the fourth year of study. TGS requires that all PhD students serve in some instructional capacity for at least one academic quarter during their graduate education. The teaching requirement may be completed at Northwestern or at the other institution.

Programs may stipulate more rigorous requirements, in which case this will be detailed in the Plan of Study. Quarters of residency need not be consecutive. Residency is calculated in terms of quarters of full-time study. This can, however, include time researching in US archives or labs, as appropriate to the discipline, or whatever other activities (including writing) are typically approved by faculty as a summer plan and overseen by the supervisor(s).

Visa procedure

Newly admitted dual degree students must contact the International Office 3-6 months prior to arriving to campus to request an I-20 to support the acquisition of a F1 visa stamp.

  • In order to maintain F1 visa status, fulltime enrollment (3 units) is required for the duration of time spent at Northwestern.
  • After completing the Northwestern residency, the student returns to the partner university and the student’s visa status is no longer maintained at Northwestern. The student is required to communicate to the International Office if she or he is departing the US earlier than stipulated in the Plan of Study.  If a student needs to interrupt the period of residency, they will need to request a new I-20, pay the SEVIS fee and obtain a new F1 visa stamp.
  • If the student plans to return to Northwestern just for a dissertation defense, the student should enter the US as a tourist. Contact the International Office for more specific information.

Health Insurance

Dual degree students must carry Northwestern’s health insurance for every period of residency in the US.


Funding is stipulated at the time that admission to the dual degree program is proposed and must be outlined in the Plan of Study. For further information contact TGS.