When Dr. Moritz Ingwersen travelled from Germany to get his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Trent University, he didn’t know he’d become something of a Trent pioneer.
Mr. Ingwersen has become the first Trent student to complete a Cotutelle — earning a single Ph.D. from two universities – Trent and the University of Cologne.
The 34-year-old says studying in Canada and Germany, travelling back and forth and working with faculty from both schools before his defense in September 2018, was tremendously beneficial to his professional career.
“I was fortunate to get the best of both worlds, so to speak,” he says. “Interested in seeking employment in European and North American contexts, I feel that my Ph.D. experience at two universities will help me to position myself more broadly and to mobilize my strengths in mediating between different cultural and disciplinary environments.”
A Cotutelle is a French term for joint enrolment; the agreement allows doctoral students to study at a home and partner university, while being supervised by a faculty member from each school. For Dr. Ingwersen, it was invaluable to study in different research cultures, and in his case in two different languages, and to play an active part in transnational collaboration.
A Vibrant Space for the Humanities
With an M.A. in Physics and English, Dr. Ingwersen applied to many Ph.D. programs across North America and chose Trent to complete his project, All Things Fusible: Media, Science, and Mythology in the Fiction of Neal Stephenson, because the University’s Cultural Studies program is internationally renowned for its progressive, interdisciplinary, and innovative contributions to cultural theory.
He was one year into the program when he started exploring the option of a Cotutelle.
“My dissertation draws heavily on the work of scholars from both sides of the Atlantic, so I was hoping that a Cotutelle agreement would allow me to spend significant amounts of time connecting with research networks in both Europe and North America,” he says.
Up until his defense, which took place at Trent, he moved back and forth between Canada and Germany several times per year. While studying in Trent’s Cultural Studies department, he was impressed by “the commitment of students and teachers in cultivating a vibrant space for the humanities and making a positive contribution to the community.”