U Groningen

The UFRO Ph.D. program has students who are studying a Joint Degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, as well as at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, in addition to Cotutelles with professors from European and Latin American universities.

Joint Degree agreements and Cotutelle programs with institutions from Europe and Latin America are only some of the actions of internationalization the Doctoral Program in Communication, which is imparted by the universities Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) and Universidad Austral de Chile, carried out.

One of these agreements has been signed with the renowned University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Five Ph.D. students of UFRO are currently studying within this Joint Degree program, thus opening up new opportunities for networking and academic exchange.

Dr. Carlos del Valle is the director of the program and explained that this Joint Degree agreement in particular originates from the network of researchers he is part of, as a researcher of a Horizon 2020 MSCA-RISE project, financed by the European Union. “The framework agreement was initiated in 2016 and at the end of 2019, we signed the first specific agreement for the double graduation of a student. Four other students are also in the signing process at the moment, so that 20 percent of the Ph.D. students will be able to acquire their degree from UFRO and the University of Groningen at the same time.”
Dr. Del Valle explained that there are a number of requirements the students must comply with, in order to acquire their Joint Degree. The thesis, for example, must be written in English and presented and defended in Groningen. Both universities have coordinators who are in charge of interviewing those candidates who are interested in this option, in order to define the topics they are interested in and their Cotutelle options, among others.

Eduardo Gallegos knows these requirements very well, because he is one of the Ph.D. students who joined this Joint Degree program, and the first one to carry out his doctoral stay at the University of Groningen. “I was able to make contact with some of the teachers there since I started my Ph.D. studies, and I also took an elective class, which was taught in Temuco, by a teacher from Groningen. All of that allowed me to approach the professors, to ask them some questions and to start my doctoral thesis outline, which is about the stories of European travelers in Chile and their connections with the nineteenth-century press in our country,” he commented.

His stay at the European university was part of the program. He went there in February and came back at the end of May this year, using the time to progress with the outline of the remaining work and to define the details of his research proposal with the professors in Groningen. “Although the pandemic has slowed down all the academic processes in the Netherlands, it still was a great experience to be there, and this way, the agreement still is fully active and will be useful for different academic purposes of the doctoral program. And also the fact that I had to put my English language skills to the test both orally and in writing certainly was a benefit for myself.”


Another Joint Degree agreement has been signed in 2019 with the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, a renowned university with a long tradition. The framework agreement has been signed in 2018 and a year later, the Joint Degree agreement has been signed, with the Italian student Daniele Panaroni being the first one who joined the Doctoral Program in Communication, Social Research and Marketing within this agreement.

Regarding his motivation for choosing the Joint Degree program, the Italian student commented that he was interested in improving his work and research experience in the field of ethnic minorities, which is linked to the Mapuche People in the Araucanía Region.

“I was supposed to go to Chile in April 2020, but because of the health crisis caused by Covid-19 I wasn’t able to go there. However, thanks to the Internet I was able to participate in all activities and I am very satisfied with that,” commented the student, who is working with Dr. Carlos del Valle on the relationship between new media and the self-representation of ethnic minorities.


Thirteen students of the UFRO Doctorate in Communication are working on their theses in Cotutelle. Among the universities that have a Cotutelle agreement with UFRO are: University of Seville (Spain), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), National University of La Plata (Argentina), Pompeu Fabra University (Spain), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), National University of Cuyo (Argentina), National University of Quilmes (Argentina), and Central American University (El Salvador).

Finally, Dr. Carlos del Valle emphasized that the promotion of this kind of networks and agreements is part of the process of internationalization for this doctoral program. Besides, it gives new options to the students, of which 10 have a scholarship from the National Research and Development Agency (ANID) in Chile. Actually, this fact also confirms the quality of the doctoral program, considering how difficult it is to get one of these scholarships.


Written by: UFRO Communications Office