Collaborative Degrees

Types of International Collaborative Degree Programs

1.  Double (Dual) Degree Programs

Double (often referred to as “dual”) degree programs of study are offered collaboratively by two institutions and lead to the awarding two separate degrees at equivalent levels from each of the participating institutions (two degrees) on completion of the program requirements established by the two institutions.  Typically, students spend some time at each institution and, through course-to-course transfer or articulation agreements, complete the requirements for two equivalent degrees -- usually two bachelors or two masters -- from the two institutions and are awarded two degrees. 

Key Characteristics:

  • It involves the awarding of existing degrees from two institutions.
  • Its success hinges on the successful course articulation between the two degree programs.
  • Students earn two degrees, one from each institution.
  • Each institution is responsible only for the awarding of its own degree.


2.  Joint Degree Programs

Joint degree programs are offered collaboratively by two or more accredited institutions and leads to the award of a single degree issued jointly by participating institutions. Faculty from both institutions design a curriculum that is based on coursework from both institutions.  Typically, students spend time at both institutions (or, in some cases, take online classes at the distant partner). Creating joint degree programs presents significant challenges. These programs require substantial faculty and administrative investment along with sufficient funding, not only to develop the program and curriculum but to sustain it long term. Additionally, the program must be crafted in such a way that it offers a diverse experience to students that is otherwise unavailable with a normal degree, but still broad enough to be generate viable student participation numbers.

Key Characteristics:

  • It involves a single degree conferred jointly by two (or more) universities.
  • Both/all institutions share responsibility for the admission of students.  Students must be admitted to both/all institutions.
  • Curriculum is directed by program faculty from both/all institutions, and both/all institutions are responsible for the quality and delivery of the program.
  • The name of both (or all) institutions is on the degree. 


3.  Consecutive Degree Programs

Consecutive degree programs award two different degrees, one from each of the partner institution, at consecutive levels (Bachelor/Master or Master/Doctoral) on completion of requirements established by the two institutions. The degrees are awarded when the program requirements for each degree as stipulated by the awarding institutions are completed.  Normally the bulk of the course work/research requirements for the first degree are completed at the institution in one country and the majority of the course work/research requirements for the second consecutive degree are taken at the partner institution in the second country.  The total duration of the program is typically less than if the two degrees were taken separately. (Consecutive degrees are sometimes referred to as “combined degrees.”)

Key Characteristics:

  • It involves the granting of two degrees at successive levels, one from each partner university.
  • Students receive one degree from each university.
  • It involves less time than if the two degree programs were undertaken separately.

For information on developing collaborative degrees, please visit the Develop Partnerships section of this site.