ACECoR Dual Degree Option

The University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana and the University of Rhode Island (URI), USA have signed an agreement to roll out a dual degree programme for highly motivated prospective PhD candidates at both UCC and URI. Students pursuing this special dual degree programme will follow a modified programme of study at each institution synchronously.

This means that all candidates successfully admitted into the PhD programmes i.e. Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Oceanography and Limnology, Fisheries Science and Aquaculture) under the ACECoR implicitly pre-qualify for the dual degree arrangement and may therefore opt for it upon admission.

Candidates who will successfully complete this novel dual degree programme will concurrently receive a PhD in Biological and Environmental Sciences to be awarded by URI and a PhD in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Oceanography and Limnology, Fisheries Science or Aquaculture to be awarded by UCC. Conditions surrounding the enrolment into the dual degree are described below.

Programme Description:

Prior Study:

Students enrolled in the UCC-URI dual PhD programme must have completed the MPhil, or equivalent degree, and have been admitted to any of the specified UCC PhD research programmes through the UCC School of Graduate Studies prior to beginning the dual degree programme. Students will receive 30 transfer credits for completion of the master’s degree.

Mutual Faculty Mentorship:

Participation in this programme depends on the availability and willingness of faculty in the respective departments of both institutions to support, coordinate, evaluate, and approve the doctoral studies and research in concert with each other and the requirements of each university.


Students must meet the admission requirements of both UCC and URI. Students should identify themselves as a dual degree candidate and include a proposed research topic in their “Personal Statement” when applying to the URI BES degree programme.

Minimum Residency:

Students will spend a minimum of two semesters of full-time enrolment in residency at URI. Semesters of residency will be determined in consultation with co-major professors.


Participants in the Dual Degree Doctoral Programme will be able to transfer up to six credits beyond the Master’s degree, from UCC to the URI doctoral programme in the form of Graduate-level courses, appropriate guided research projects, or independent study completed prior to the doctoral dissertation. Approval of such transfer credits will be on a case-by-case basis at the URI graduate programme level. Students will also take a minimum of 12 credits of courses/seminars while in residence at URI.


Participants in the Dual Degree programme will participate in seminars and research group meetings throughout the duration of their programme through videoconferencing.

Research Supervision:

Project and dissertation research will be jointly supervised and evaluated by faculty from both universities. Regular meetings of the dissertation committee, at least one each semester, will be held using videoconferencing. Participants in the Dual Degree Programme are required to submit an Annual Status Report each May documenting their progress in the programme.

Comprehensive Exams:

Students in the Dual PhD Degree programme will have to satisfy the written and oral comprehensive exam requirements of the URI-BES degree programme specialization in which they are enrolled.

Doctoral Committee and Dissertation Defense:

There will be a major advisor from each institution, who will serve as co-major professors. The composition of the dissertation committee will meet the requirements of both UCC and URI. The dissertation defense will take place at URI, with committee members participating by means of videoconferencing, as needed.

Certificate of Doctoral Degree and Use of Title:

After fulfilling the requirements of both institutions, candidates will receive separate degree certificates from each institution

Continuous Registration:

Students must be registered every semester. Students must register for off-campus study – graduate (OCSG) while conducting research in Ghana.

Financial Assistance:

Dual degree students are responsible for their own expenses, including tuition, fees, travel and living costs. They are encouraged to apply for financial assistance through grants, fellowships, and institutional funds to support their educational expenses. Dual degree Ph.D. students are eligible to apply for URI teaching assistantships and Graduate School Fellowship and Scholarships, which are awarded on a competitive basis.

Degree Requirements:

For URI’s Ph.D. in Biological and Environmental Sciences, UCC students enrolled in the dual degree Ph.D. programme will develop a 72-credit programme of study that includes the following:

Programme element Credits Title
MPhil 30 Transfer 30 credits from UCC MPhil degree
BES 581 or 582 1 or more Biological & Environmental Sciences Colloquium
BES 600 or equivalent 1 or more Graduate Seminar
Specialization coursework 12 - 15 Programme of study credits developed in consultation with co-major professors and taken while in residency at URI.
Additional UCC transfer credits Up to 6 Graduate level courses, guided research or independent study. Approval of such transfer credits will be on a case-by-case basis at the graduate programme level.
BES 699 18-34 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Interested candidates may register their interest in the research proposals of their applications. For further information, contact the Academic Coordinator of ACECoR: and copy your communication to and