13 December 2005

A University of Queensland student will graduate tomorrow after completing her PhD at two universities in two countries.

Graduand and Windsor resident Rachel Varshney is UQ’s first ever student to receive a PhD that is recognised in both Australia and France.

Dr Varshney completed her doctorate in applied linguistics and French. She studied for half her degree at UQ in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies and the other half at The Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, a university in France.

The arrangement, called the cotutelle de thèse agreement, means Dr Varshney also defended her thesis in French.

The cotutelle program was initiated by the French government in 1994 and is strongly supported by the French Embassy in Canberra.

Her thesis was on teaching foreign languages and student attitudes to learning. It included a comparison between Australian and French students.

Dr Varshney said the cotutelle agreement allowed her to travel and gain a much broader experience from her studies than if she had completed her degree solely in Australia.

“One of the most exciting things about the agreement was I was able to get involved in research in France and develop contact with their research world,” Dr Varshney said.

“This allowed me to see how the French approach research, what they do, and how they run study and research programs.

“I was able to experience and understand different teaching and learning methods.”

Dr Varshney hopes to develop an academic career in teaching and researching French and applied linguistics.

She will graduate at The University of Queensland on Wednesday, December 14 at 6pm. The graduation will be held at the UQ Centre, St Lucia campus.

The guest speaker at this graduation will be UQ Deputy Chancellor and lawyer Adjunct Professor Robert Wensley, QC. You can listen to his speech by clicking here. Mr Wensley and retired UQ librarian Spencer Routh will also receive honorary doctorates.

Bachelor of Journalism / Bachelor of Social Science graduand Giovanna Maccarone will make the valedictory address.

Media: Rachel Varshney (mobile 0423 204 318, r.varshney@uq.edu.au) or Elizabeth Kerr (UQ Communications 3365 2339, e.kerr@uq.edu.au)