Expand your research and innovation efforts through a formal international partnership.

Guidelines and Planning

All WSU MOUs and IAs must be developed through IP and approved by the appropriate WSU offices relevant to the proposed activity (e.g., Office of the Provost, Budget and Finance, Attorney General, Undergraduate Education, Graduate School, Office of Admissions).

Please contact WSU’s Office of International Programs as soon as possible if you are contemplating an international collaboration and would like advice or assistance. We will help ensure that your efforts are successful.

If you are interested in creating or have been contacted for a formal agreement or contract, International Programs will help.

Guidelines for initiating agreements

If you are a WSU representative seeking to formalize a collaborative agreement with an international partner, you will need to consult with appropriate administrators at the department and college levels and with the WSU Office of International Programs.

International agreements can be made for research, degree articulation, scholarly purposes, and student and faculty exchange.

International Programs services

  • Providing information about Memoranda of Understanding and International Agreements
  • Ensuring compliance with WSU, state, and federal regulations
  • Routing documents for internal review and authorized official signatures
  • Conducting a visual compliance check relevant to export control requirements
  • Managing express delivery, routing, and archiving of the final executed agreement at WSU

All formal international partnerships and agreements must:

  • Align with WSU’s mission and goals
  • Include approved, standard WSU legal terms and conditions and meet accreditation standards
  • Assure an appropriate return on investment if the agreement involves financial or human resource commitments
  • Provide mutual benefit to WSU and the international partner

Drafting an agreement

Here is an overview of the process of formalizing an agreement to collaborate internationally on research or education.

Initial contact

In most instances, initial contact is made between faculty members and/or administrators of WSU and the partner organization. General discussions, focusing on the goals and objectives of potential activities, are usually held at this stage.

Consult with WSU offices

After initial contact with a potential partner, contact WSU’s Office of International Programs. The office houses all the university’s international agreements and provides advice and assistance in terms of locations, types of programs, and WSU priorities.

You will also need to consult with your unit, department, and college to ensure support and approval by the appropriate chairs and deans.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is usually drafted and signed at this point, as WSU and the other parties agree to work toward a binding agreement.

Determine scope of work

Outline the programmatic scope of work and goals of both organizations.

A scope-of-work outline should set forth the requirements of the proposed program with clear and complete guidelines to be accomplished during the time period of the agreement. Be sure to consider long-term as well as short-term goals and objectives.

Be sure to consider how your proposed activity contributes to the teaching, research, and engagement missions of WSU; this will help keep your agreement focused on priorities that benefit you, the university, and our international partners.

Budget and identification of funding

Formulate a budget as appropriate to program needs and outcomes.

Other items to consider: internal and external sources of support, resources available at the partner institution, and foreign exchange rates and potential fluctuations.

Note that agreements involving external financial support may require review and approval by the WSU Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO).

Administrative and procedural considerations

Be sure your agreement accounts for these factors as needed:

  • Finances
  • Health insurance
  • Admissions procedures
  • Visa requirements
  • Transfer of credit and enrollment processes
  • Faculty and student academic appointments
  • Access to financial support
  • English language testing
  • Procedural concerns, such as programmatic structure and timing

Review, approval, and management

IP will provide agreement templates and assist in drafting the formal agreement that covers the specific terms and conditions based on the type of program, scope of work, and budget.

The draft (“close to final”) documents are submitted to the partner for review, edits, and approval prior to routing for final authorization and signatures. The international agreement will include the internal approval form, the agreement, and supporting documentation (budget, scope of work, etc.) as necessary.


IP will route all international agreements for internal review and approval from appropriate WSU offices.

When all of the approvals are obtained from WSU, IP will work with the initiating unit/department/college to have the IA signed by the partner.

A copy of the fully executed agreement will be returned to the partner, and 1 copy will be retained by IP and recorded in the Agreement database. IP will also provide a copy to WSU administrative units as required by WSU policies and procedures, and by request of the initiating unit.

Ongoing management

It is important that the responsible WSU unit provides a structure for the management of each formal international partnership. There should be a clear understanding of who is responsible for the operational components including project management, maintenance of correspondence, allocation of funds, orientation of participants, etc.

Maintain accurate contact information for those responsible for program implementation abroad.

If any difficulties arise in the implementation of a program, contact International Programs and your area’s administrators (chair, dean, etc.).

Business policies and procedures

Help creating International Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding can be found in the WSU Business Policies and Procedures Manual.

The policies and procedures manual contains the university’s official policies and requirements for executing binding agreements. Be sure to follow its requirements.