This is a department or college level linkage, with no implications for Central Administration funding or other commitments. Why should I develop a formal agreement and route this through International Programs?

There are many reasons why you should develop a formal agreement, including:

  • To ensure arrangements for outgoing study abroad and student exchange agreements are complete and accurate. Issues to consider include: students’ registration; tuition; health insurance; fees; housing; credit transfer; tracking reciprocal exchange/balances for financial reasons; study abroad scholarships; and foreign language requirements.
  • To follow correct admission and immigration procedures for incoming students/research scholars/faculty. Issues to consider include: federal rules and regulations regarding visa status and the taxation of payments made to incoming participants; credentials needed for admission if University study is proposed; and English proficiency requirements for students.
  • To avoid duplication. In many cases, another UI department or college may already have a formal linkage with the institution in question. It may be more efficient to add a specific project to an existing agreement. Multiple departments’ activity with the same institution may indicate the need for a general, institutional level MOU.
  • To locate possible funding sources for linkage activities. IP’s Grants Office can assist in finding grants and other funding opportunities for proposed linkage activities. International Programs may have some funding available to develop especially promising linkages or especially long-standing linkages with strong records of activity.
  • To identify other faculty/departments with similar interests in specific regions of the world or specific international research topics. IP maintains a database of linkages with relevant faculty contact information and can assist in the development of interdisciplinary projects and grant applications.
  • To utilize existing models and best practices. IP can advise on other successful linkage agreements and provide templates and standard language regarding financial obligations, nondiscrimination statement, etc.
  • To publicize your activity. IP’s Communications and Relations unit can develop media releases about international linkage activities.

What are the different types of linkage agreements?

Formal linkage agreements may include:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) = Usually a general agreement to cooperate in a wide variety of possible activities, including joint educational, training and/or research activities; exchanges of scholars, faculty, research personnel, graduate students and undergraduate students; exchange of information (including exchange of library materials); and practical training. The existence of a formal MOU may help in securing funding for linkage activities or in receiving recognition from university officials and governmental organizations. The MOU can be the foundation for future Student Exchange agreements or Memoranda of Agreement. Other specific arrangements that may be based on the foundation of a general MOU include faculty and staff exchanges, short-term study abroad agreements, and dual degree programs (see below). UI Faculty who are interested in establishing a new Memorandum of Understanding for the UI must first complete the ”Memorandum of Understanding Proposal Form” which must be sent to the associate provost and dean of International Programs for review.
  • Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) = Usually a more specific agreement that reflects a sincere commitment to plan and implement specific activities. An MOA can be an addendum to a general MOU. Multiple department or college specific MOAs can serve as addenda to a single institutional MOU. Depending on the nature of additional agreements that may be appended to the original MOU, the AP/dean of International Programs and the UI president may be required to sign these addenda. Initiating departments are advised to consult with International Programs before processing these additional agreements.
  • Student Exchange Agreement = A specific agreement to develop a reciprocal exchange program between the UI and a foreign institution. A Student Exchange agreement can serve as an addendum to a general MOU or can exist separately, without an MOU, when the extent of activity is limited to student exchange only. In some cases, a reciprocal exchange may not be feasible, such as when the partner institution is based in a country that is unlikely to draw U.S. students (either because of language barriers or political instability) or when there are already ample opportunities for UI students to study in that country. Alternatives to the traditional exchange program do exist and can be developed in consultation with International Programs. UI faculty who are interested in establishing a new exchange agreement/program for the UI must first complete the “Preliminary Proposal for Student Exchange Program” form which must be signed by your DEO and then routed to the Study Abroad Office for review.
  • Faculty/Staff/Scholar Exchange Agreement = A specific agreement to develop a reciprocal or non-reciprocal faculty, staff, or scholar (usually post-doctoral) exchange program between the UI and a foreign institution. This type of agreement can be developed via an addendum to a general MOU. These arrangements can exist at a department, college, or university level. Various funding mechanisms exist.
  • Short-Term Incoming Study Abroad Program Agreement = A foreign or domestic partner organization or institution recruits students from another country to study at the UI on a non-degree basis.
  • Articulation Agreements = Normally, the UI agrees to guarantee admission to students from a partner institution, as long as certain requirements (TOEFL score, GPA, minimum and maximum credit hours, etc.) are met. These students enter the UI as transfer students and complete their degree at the UI.
  • Dual Degree Program Agreement = Students engage in studies at the UI and at another institution, usually sequentially, receiving separate degrees from each institution (a B.S. from the partner institution and a M.S. from the UI, for example.) Dual degree programs often shorten the time it would take to pursue the two degrees separately.
  • Joint Degree Program Agreement = Students from a partner institution pursue studies leading to a degree at their home institution and simultaneously a degree from the UI (a single degree conferred simultaneously by two institutions). NOTE: There are currently no joint degrees offered by the UI with a partner institution abroad.

What if I want to develop an outgoing study abroad program?

Study Abroad in International Programs negotiates and signs agreements with study abroad providers and works with faculty in developing faculty-led programs. Please contact the Associate Director of Study Abroad for more information.

Are agreement templates available?

Templates for different types of linkage agreements are provided as guidelines. The UI strives to be sensitive to the cultural and legal concerns of partner institutions, which may require the adaptation of these templates to fit specific needs. At the same time, UI programs, colleges, and departments are strongly encouraged to develop all new linkage agreements with the cooperation of International Programs, to ensure that UI legal and other concerns are also met.

Who should be listed as “contact” on the document?

The contact will usually be the faculty member who has initiated the project or activity with the foreign partner institution or an appropriate staff person from that faculty member’s department. This person may be contacted about once a year for information about linkage activities.

What is the standard duration for an MOU/MOA/Student Exchange Agreement?

General MOUs and Student Exchange agreements should be valid for a period of five years from the effective date and may be renewed before the expiration date by agreement between the parties. A specific MOA will usually remain effective for the period of time necessary to complete a specific project or set of projects.

Who needs to sign an agreement?

Once a draft agreement has been reviewed and approved by all relevant parties, at least two original, hard-copy versions of the document will be routed for signatures or, if the partner institution finds it acceptable, the agreement may be routed for electronic signature instead. In some cases, a non-English version of the agreement may also be required by the partner institution (translation must be verified).

Institutional MOUs must be signed by the associate provost and dean of International Programs, and the UI President. Department, college or program-specific MOAs should be signed by the leading faculty member and/or DEO, the College Dean, and the associate provost and dean of International Programs. Student Exchange agreements should be signed by the associate provost and dean of International Programs and the executive vice president and provost.

One original, signed agreement is kept on file by International Programs and added to the International Linkages Database, while the other is kept by the partner institution.

How is an agreement evaluated for renewal?

IP maintains a database of all formal linkages and is responsible for sending a reminder to the designated UI contact for each agreement before it is due to expire. If the initiating UI department or program wishes to pursue renewal of the expiring agreement, they must first complete the “Request for Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding” form and send the completed form to Lauren Powers ( in International Programs to begin the review process. Once renewal of the MOU has been approved, they may proceed with contacting the partner institution to discuss their interest in extending the agreement and what changes, if any might be desirable.

For more information on international partnerships, contact:

Lauren Powers
Administrative Services Specialist
International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre