International Partnerships and Agreements

Oregon State University is engaged in education, research, and outreach activities around the world. With international collaboration, comes the need for an agreement between OSU and the partner institution or organization. The resources on this site provide information on OSU's current international partnership agreements, types of international agreements at OSU, and the process for developing and maintaining an international agreement.

Browse OSU's International Agreements

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Developing Strategic International Partnerships

Developing Strategic International Partnerships

International institutional partnerships are increasingly an imperative in higher education.  Robust collaboration, whether  it's focused on a global classroom, cutting-edge scholarship or other types of engagement, can result in measurable benefits to both partners’ internationalization goals and objectives.  The following section provide a very brief list of key considerations.  For further information, refer to the resources listed below and/or contact International Programs.

Key Considerations


Developing Strategic International Partnerships: Models for Initiating and Sustaining Innovative Institutional Linkages

8 Stages for Developing Institutional International Partnerships

International Agreements - An Introduction

There are two main types of agreements at Oregon State:

A written statement of understanding between Oregon State University and an international partner institution that expresses mutual interest in engaging in cooperative academic or research effort but that does not involve a commitment of University Resources*.

A written agreement between Oregon State University and an international partner institution that entails a commitment of one or more University Resources* for academic and research purposes and that has been approved by designated signatories.

The most common Program Agreements are found under the heading of

OSU Faculty and staff, with the approval of their College or Division, must work with the Division of International Programs (IP) and Contract Services to establish new international agreements or renew existing agreements. 

In the case of Education Abroad Program agreements (including Student Exchange, Faculty-led and Affiliate Program Agreements), International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA) located within International Programs serves as the primary contact for program proposal, agreement guidance, and student preparation processes.  

Once an international agreement is approved and signed by both parties, the administration of the agreement and terms outlined are the responsibility of the college/unit named in the agreement. 

The timeline for initiating a new international agreement can vary, but in general, for agreements that require substantial drafting or review, please allow 2-3 months for Contact Services and even longer for Education Abroad program agreements.  For renewal of existing agreements, please allow 3-4 weeks.

The following chapters provide a more detailed description of the processes, sample templates, and an online application form to initiate a new international agreement. 

*University Resources are labor, materials or assets, both monetary and non-monetary, under the control and management of the University including University funds, facilities, office space, research materials, tools, databases, equipment, or the time or effort of University personnel. University assets include the University’s names or marks, and all University intellectual property, including copyrighted materials and resources.

Note: The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has central responsiblity for proposal submission for sponsored research, scholarship and other activities at OSU, and contractual compliance as it relates to sponsored activities.  

Letters of Collaboration (LoC)

A Letter of Collaboration is an introductory, general, and non-binding agreement meant to initiate relations with a partner institution. It is essentially a "handshake" agreement to take steps in the future towards a more concrete program.  An LoC does not describe detailed collaboration commitments but merely lists areas of potential future collaboration.

As a result of its non-binding nature, no financial obligations should be included in a Letter of Collaboration.

A general LoC may be initiated by the partner institution or by OSU.  

Letter of Collaboration Process Flowchart (forthcoming fall 2013)

(Describes the various steps required to initiate, review, sign and file an LoC)

OSU Letter of Collaboration Template  (pdf) (doc)

(Provides  the standard language used for the majority of LoCs)

International Partnership Initiation Form (IPIF)

(This basic online form will inform International Programs of the desire to initiate a new LoC)

Program Agreements (PA)

A Program Agreement is a detailed, binding agreement between OSU and international institutions/organizations and includes a list of specific activities, how they will be managed, and  how resources will be shared or exchanged, etc.  A Program Agreement should outline a constructive new venture that reflects an institutional priority of the University and the collaborating institution. Both institutions will need to agree upon specific collaborative activities that call upon the expertise or resources of either or both institutions. Program Agreements tend to be unique and hence, no "one size fits all" template is available.

Any arrangement that requires financial or other OSU resources is by its nature a binding program agreement rather than a general Letter of Collaboration.  For Program Agreements, all financial obligations should be described, including tuition support benefits, teaching or research assistantships, travel expenses, housing, medical insurance coverage, and/or maintenance allowances.

Program Agreement Process Flowchart (forthcoming Fall 2013)

(Describes the various steps required to initiate, review, sign and file a PA)

International Partnership Initiation Form (IPIF)

(This basic online form will inform International Programs of the desire to initiate a new PA)

Education Abroad Program Agreements (EAPA)

Education Abroad Program Agreements (EAPA) generally serve to articulate one of the following program types:

Student Exchange Programs involve a two-way exchange of students, and a commitment of resources on the part of both OSU and the collaborating institution.  A Student Exchange Agreement guides the administration of a student exchange program with an international partner university.

Essential elements of a Student Exchange Program include:

  1. Sufficient interest by students at both institutions to study abroad in both directions (reciprocal exchange)
  2. Host institutions agree to waive tuition for students from partner institution
  3. Students must be enrolled full time at their home and host institution
  4. Participating students will earn academic credit that is transferred back to their home institution as direct/resident credit.

Study Abroad Programs send OSU students abroad for academic coursework, whether institution-based or through a third party provider, but is not designed to be reciprocal. 

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs, as the name implies, are academic international opportunities developed and implemented by OSU faculty.  If you are interested in leading a group of students on a study abroad program, please contact the Faculty-led Study Abroad Program Development Coordinator in the International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA) office.

Browse over 100 of OSU's Study Abroad Programs

Program Agreement Types

Student Exchange
Faculty-Led Study Abroad
General Study Abroad



SE Flowchart
FLSA Flowchart

SA Flowchart

SA Renewal Flowchart

 Proposal Forms
SE Proposal Form
FLSA Proposal Form
SA Proposal Form



Key Campus Partners

Which campus units play an important role with international agreements?

Office of the Associate Provost for International Programs (APIP)

The Office of the Associate Provost for International Programs (APIP) is responsible for assisting with the facilitation and management of all Letters of Collaboration (LoC), previously referred to as Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Program Agreements with international institutions.

International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA)

International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA) is responsible for managing all Education Abroad proposals and agreements including student exchange, and faculty-led programs.   IDEA assists departments in developing programs, guiding agreements through the drafting, and training for program administration. 

Contract Services

Contract Services holds the responsibility and authority to approve non-research agreements on behalf of the University.  As such, their review includes verifying that the intent of the relationship is stated, the roles and responsibilities of each party are clear, the activities described within the agreement comply with applicable policies and laws and the agreement follows good contracting principles. 

If the agreement impacts other departments, Contract Services verifies that all parties have been included in the development of the agreement and consent to its terms. If the agreement involves licensing of intellectual property or sponsorship by an industry partner, Contract Services will direct the agreement to the relevant campus units.


Language Translations

Should there be a foreign language version of the agreement?

If the other organization/institution requires the agreement to be executed in English and another language, contact Contract Services for guidance.  It is typically the responsibility of the initiating academic/administrative unit to ensure appropriate translation of the agreement.

Expedited Processing

Can I get my international agreement approval expedited?

Contract Services recognizes that in some extreme situations an agreement may need to expedited. Be advised that if you are in such a situation that you should be prepared to describe the reason for the urgency.  Be aware that in putting your agreement ahead in the queue, the pending agreements of your colleagues are pushed back.