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Dual Degree Programs with Partner Institutions

The approved dual degree programs listed below require admission to two institutions, 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 Studymust 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. 

Northwestern University engages in a variety of partnerships with international institutions. Information on student exchange programs may be found on the International Relations’ website. 

Information for faculty 

Faculty interested in developing new partnerships should first contact the Office of the Vice President for International Relations to determine if an agreement is needed. 

Proposals to create new dual degree programs must be jointly developed, reviewed, approved, and ratified by Northwestern and the partner institution(s). Please see this step-by-step guide on developing a new international partnership. 

Information for students 

Any Northwestern student interested in a dual degree must consult with their adviser, Director of Graduate Studies, and The Graduate School. Northwestern 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 graduate studies 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: Dual PhD degree programs available by special arrangements. 

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. 

Degree requirements 

A dual degree PhD student must complete at least nine letter graded courses (these may include Independent study 499 courses, seminars, and electives, as approved by the program) at Northwestern. 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. This can, however, include time researching in US archives or labs, as appropriate to the discipline, or other activities (including writing) approved by program faculty and overseen by the supervisor(s). 

Visa procedure 

Newly admitted dual degree students must contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services 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 (three 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 Office of International Student and Scholar Services if they are 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 Office of International Student and Scholar Services 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.