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St Andrews and Ghent joint PhDs in Arts and Divinity

The University of St Andrews and Ghent University have established an agreement to allow PhD candidates to undertake research leading to the award of a joint doctoral degree across the following Schools of Arts and Divinity:

  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Divinity
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Modern Languages
  • Philosophy
  • Social Anthropology. 

Course type

Joint doctoral degree (PhD)

Course dates

We strongly encourage students to begin their studies in September, but the start date for research study can be flexible. Start dates are 27 August, September, October, January or May.

Course duration

The PhD consists of three years of full-time study, with the possibility of a continuation period of 12 months. A further extension will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Entry requirements

Applicants for the joint PhD must have a minimum of a good Masters degree (or equivalent). A Masters degree (or equivalent) must have been completed and the final evaluation must be available at the time of application. In each case, your Masters degree will be considered with regard to its quality and how it prepares you for doctoral research.

Applicants must also meet the English language requirements. If a student requires an English language certificate, this must be gained before the start of the PhD.

International students

Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to study in the UK and Belgium:

Tuition fees

Ghent charges fees for the enrolment and examination of PhD students. While studying at Ghent, students will be exempted from fees at St Andrews. See Ghent's tuition fees

While studying at St Andrews, students will pay local fees unless otherwise outlined in the individual candidate agreement.

No scholarships are provided for the joint PhD programme. Students may find scholarships from external funding bodies, the University of St Andrews or Ghent University. Any funding or scholarships you obtain must be approved by St Andrews and Ghent before starting the doctoral programme. Students who have accepted a place and an offer of full funding at St Andrews are not eligible to be considered for the joint programme.

Application deadline

Applications can be sent in any time throughout the academic year. However, it is important to remember that if you are applying for any scholarships or funding, then the deadline for these may be early in the year.

Application requirements

Students should contact a supervisor at St Andrews and a supervisor at Ghent to discuss the opportunities available. 

If a supervisor from each university agrees to support a project, students will need to apply to both universities. You can access the St Andrews application form online. At Ghent, applicants need the definite commitment of a supervisor before applying, and the supervisor starts the application procedure.

Admission to the PhD must commence prior to matriculation at St Andrews. Students matriculated at St Andrews cannot transfer part way through their studies.

Course information

The University of St Andrews and Ghent University are pleased to offer a joint programme leading to the award of a joint doctoral degree (PhD). The joint programme covers Schools in the Faculties of Arts and Divinity.

Programme structure

Candidates start the programme at either St Andrews or Ghent. One institution will be identified as the lead, normally the one at which you will spend the most amount of time.

You will have to spend at least a year (12 months) in total as a resident student at both St Andrews and Ghent in order for the universities to recognise the degree. Students will divide their time into study blocks in order to facilitate access to the resources that will maximise their research opportunities. 

The agreement provides students with access to one supervisor at each institution throughout the duration of their degree. Students are expected to engage with both supervisors from start to finish and to meet regularly with all parties, either in person or using virtual methods such as video call.

Students are encouraged to take part in doctoral training, undergraduate teaching and research seminars at both universities. For students with Ghent as the lead institution, the Doctoral Training Programme is compulsory for some subjects, although exemptions may be granted to joint doctorate students.  

Arts and Divinity at St Andrews

St Andrews is the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world and renowned for the quality of its research in Arts and Divinity. St Andrews was ranked top in Scotland and 14th in the UK for the quality of its publications in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Research takes place within the Schools and within world-class, often cross-disciplinary or cross-institutional, research centres and institutes. Each School, research centre and institute has a busy programme of conferences, workshops, guest lectures and postgraduate events.

Faculty of Arts:

Faculty of Divinity:

Arts and Philosophy at Ghent

Founded in 1817, Ghent University is one of the top ranked universities in Belgium. Ghent has an impressive reputation for research and offers high-quality doctoral programs and supervision.

The Faculty of Arts and Philosophy has nine departments. Its 49 research groups explore interdisciplinary research across the humanities, from Afrikaans and Bantu to textual scholarship and urban history. The Faculty offers the possibility for multi-disciplinary research at PhD level.

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy:

Supervision and examinations


Both universities will ensure that the supervisors for students carry out the duties normally expected of them in their own institution. Both supervisors will hold an actual or virtual meeting with you at least once per year.

The progression of research candidates will follow normal procedures as per the local rules of the institution in which the student is registered at the time.

Thesis and examinations

The thesis will be written in English and, where appropriate, will contain a substantial synopsis written in another language. Summaries of the thesis will be written and distributed according to the regulations of each institution.

The examination will be a viva voce (viva) and will be conducted in English at the lead institution. If Ghent is the lead institution, candidates will also undertake a public defence. The exam committee will include internal and external examiners chosen by each institution. Full details will be provided in the individual candidate agreement.


Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Find out more

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.



At St Andrews, St Leonard’s Doctoral and Postgraduate College supports all postgraduates and provides social and intellectual opportunities.

University accommodation at St Andrews is available for postgraduate students, provided all necessary application deadlines are met. 

At Ghent, the Housing Office rents accommodation and offers information. Ghent also has a PhD community.


St Andrews and Ghent will award a joint degree with the title of Doctor of Philosophy if the appropriate standards are met in the thesis presented and in the examination. 

Students can choose to graduate at one ceremony at either St Andrews or Ghent and will be awarded a single joint certificate. The certificate will clearly state that the degree was jointly supervised and will carry the crest of both institutions. 


Students shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges as other students enrolled at the host institution. 

At St Andrews these include:

At Ghent these include:

Contact information

Collaborations and Study Abroad
University of St Andrews
St Katharine's West
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2119

Please contact the School or Department for your research area at St Andrews or Ghent:

You can also contact the joint doctorate team at Ghent


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

The student will be registered at both institutions. Personal details of the student will be shared between both institutions to facilitate registration but shall otherwise remain confidential in accordance with data protection laws. 

For day-to-day functions, the local rules of the institution in which the student is resident at the time will apply. 

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).