I am currently a PhD student in a EU country and recently I was advised to pursue a European Doctorate Programme.

I thought that, being "European", it was some kind of regulated, inter-country program with specific rules, but I cannot find any "official" documentation from any European institution. The only things I can find by searching on google are doctorate programs from various universities that claim to be "European".

I am aware that some EU students are encouraged to do 3-6 months of their PhD (or more) abroad, but I don't know if by doing this their PhD qualifies to be a European Doctorate.

So, what is a European Doctorate Program? Is there any regulation for it by a European institution? How does it relate with doctorate programs where students decide to spend some months abroad?

  • 4
    If am I not wrong (I lack official sources), its a thing to get a PhD "internationally", so people get out of their home countries and get some experience in different countries. The requisite you need to get it is spending a period of more than 6 months of your PhD in a country other than your university's doing research. Ironically, I moved to another European country to obtain my whole PhD and that doesn't give me a EDP. Aaah bureaucrazy May 27, 2016 at 11:17
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    In my (limited) experience, the EDP is a tiny highlight in someones CV if they never moved from their hometown/country, because it shows that they can also work with international people. For someone that has no problem with mobility and that can prove that has been living/working/studying in a foreign country, then the EDP will add little to the CV itself. But hey, its always a good opportunity for travelling. If I am not wrong it has some other minor requirements, like writing your thesis in English. Note that all this information is not sourced officially. May 27, 2016 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


I am curious to understand if there is a tangible difference between a national degree (of an EU country) and the European degree.

As for the rules for qualifying for the European degree, I found these rules to apply:

  1. The doctorate must, in part, have been prepared during a research internship period of at least three months in another European country.
  2. Oral thesis presentation authorisation is granted on the basis of reports submitted by at least three professors comprising at least two from higher education institutions from two European countries other than the country in which the oral thesis presentation is to be held. The host laboratory representative cannot submit this report.
  3. At least one member of the jury should belong to a European higher education institution from a different country to that in which the oral thesis presentation is held.
  4. Part of the oral thesis presentation should be conducted in an official language of the European Community which is not the language of the country in which the presentation is held.

Edit (because I still cannot leave comments):

  • Some universities might require a 4 month stay abroad for acquiring this title.

  • As for the difference in the value between the two degrees, there seems to be none. The European Doctorate seems to be a label added to the normal doctoral degree of an EU academic institution as a proof that the abovementioned requirements are accomplished. This seems to be a way to promote cooperation among EU universities from different countries, PhD student mobility and the writing of the dissertations in English, as in many EU countries they can still be written in the official language of the country.


I cannot cite any official documentation either, but I have a few recollections from our PhD program committee meetings. Take them with a grain of salt because I've never been involved in the European Doctorate Program bureaucracy, and we no longer adhere to it, probably for the reasons given in the last paragraph.

The European Doctorate Program is essentially a label that certifies that during the PhD years you did essentially two things (I'm not aware of other requirements):

  1. You have written the PhD dissertation in English.
  2. You have spent some time abroad, not necessarily in Europe (in our program the minimum period was of 6 months, but I don't know if it is a universal rule).

As far as I know, this program was born in a time (probably around 15-20 years ago) where many people around Europe, even in STEM fields, still wrote their PhD dissertation in the local language (I'm one of them) and wasn't used to visit foreign laboratories for a significant amount of time. Nowadays, many European PhD programs already require students to write their dissertations in English, some require anyway the students to spend some time abroad (or the advisors strongly encourage this), and the European Doctorate Program somehow lost its main purpose of fostering the internationalization of the PhD programs.

  • Does it require an English dissertation? I would hope the requirement is to not write in the local language, and thus Brits and Irish would need to write in a different language. Based on debthebee13's answer, there is no written language requirement, only the language of the oral presentation is stipulated Nov 25, 2017 at 2:55

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