A joint degree scheme is an integrated degree programme developed jointly with international partners. After completing the programme, the student receives either a joint diploma, or two or more diplomas issued by the partner universities in accordance with Section 47a and Section 81 of Act 111/1998 Sb. (the Higher Education Act), as amended. This type of study, introduced by Charles University eight years ago, can take two forms:
Joint degree programmes in the stricter sense are international degree programmes with integrated curricula at Bachelor's, follow-on Master's and doctoral levels. In this case, the universities sign an agreement on the implementation of a joint degree programme and apply for accreditation of the programme in conformity with the respective national rules.
The term cotutelle refers to co-tutoring of a concrete doctoral student by supervisors from different universities. The student fulfils the requirements of the curriculum at one or the other university, according to an individual cotutelle agreement signed by both universities. For more information about cotutelle, see here.
The information below only concerns joint degree programmes as defined in point (1) above (and also covered by Article 22 (5) of the Constitution of Charles University).
Joint degrees have been the core of the EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme. Erasmus Mundus was based on high-quality Master's and doctoral programmes, designed and offered jointly by a consortium of at least three European universities (see the Berlin Communiqué of 19 September 2003). Joint degree programmes will also be supported by the new EU education programme Erasmus for All, which will soon integrate the existing mobility programmes: the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig), Youth in Action, and the five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alpha, Edulink and bilateral cooperation programmes with industrialized countries).
Applications to study in approved joint degree programmes coordinated by Charles University may be submitted at the relevant faculty of the University. Applications to study in programmes coordinated by an institution abroad can be downloaded from the web pages of these programmes.
An integrated curriculum is offered by a joint degree consortium at two or more partner universities and has the following characteristics:
Integration at course level: the programme is a jointly developed and jointly delivered curriculum or is run on the basis of full mutual recognition of modules developed and offered separately by each of the partners, which when combined constitute a high-quality curriculum. (This curriculum should ideally meet the standard criteria published by ENQA: Standards and Guidelines.)
Joint admission and examination criteria: The candidates must be able to apply for a single degree programme/field of study on the basis of joint admission criteria and joint selection procedures conforming to the participating universities' national legal systems. Admission criteria must be clearly described and the same for all applicants. Examinations taken at one institution of the consortium are automatically and fully recognized by the other member institutions. State Examinations (i.e. final examinations), including defences of theses, are conducted by a jointly appointed examining committee.
Mobility: The student must spend a predefined part of his or her studies at two or more partner universities. This stay, not shorter than one semester per university, cannot be replaced by virtual mobility, nor can it take place at institutions outside the consortium. The sequence of study periods in the various host institutions, as well as the various mobility combinations, must be published sufficiently in advance of the application deadline to give all potential applicants time to consider the options.
The guarantee of obtaining a joint degree or a double/multiple degree after successful completion of the programme: The form and characteristics of the degree conferred must be clearly defined. The term “double/multiple degree” refers to two or more diplomas recognized by the state and officially issued by two or more higher education institutions that jointly implement the integrated curriculum. A joint diploma is a single document issued by at least two partner institutions under Section 47a of Act 111/1998 Sb. (the Higher Education Act), as amended. The minimum requirement is the authority to grant double degrees.
Joint tuition fee: If the accredited integrated curriculum is to be taught in a foreign language in the Czech Republic, the students may be charged a tuition fee. The fee is the same irrespective of the sequence of study periods at different universities, i.e. it does not depend on where the students begin, continue, and eventually finish their studies. The partners should set a uniform tuition fee applicable to all students; in the case of Erasmus Mundus integrated curricula there can be a different fee for “European” and “overseas” students.
Joint quality control: The partners use a jointly devised mechanism for internal and external evaluation that meets ENQA standard criteria: see Standards and Guidelines.