Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 10: Organization

International Memorandums of Understanding and Agreements

BPPM 10.42

For more information contact:
    International Programs


Global participation by faculty, students, staff, and other relevant constituencies is essential to the mission of the University for achieving a world-class environment for research, education, the arts, and engagement. Providing a broad spectrum for international experience, bridging language and cultural differences, fostering collaborative research, and recruiting the best undergraduate and graduate students and visitors in a research university can be accomplished by successful global partnerships.

Through international Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and International Agreements (IAs), the University can foster a network of students, faculty, alumni, teaching and research colleagues, sponsors, and leaders with shared commitments to cultural understanding and academic activities that benefit WSU, the state of Washington, the nation, and the globe. A description of agreement types is available on the International Programs International Research website.

Office of International Programs

The Office of International Programs (IP) facilitates and coordinates international MOUs and IAs for the University.

IP should be consulted in advance of any international MOU or IA being drafted, agreed upon, or signed.

Contact Information

International Programs
Bryan Hall 301
Mail code: 5121
Telephone: 509-335-2541

Types of International Agreements

International Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)

An international MOU is intended to be a general nonbinding statement of a plan to cooperate and explore collaborative international activities between WSU and a partner university, institution, or organization.

An international MOU may not contain financial or other binding obligations or commit resources.

An international MOU must identify the contracting parties and purpose, and be signed by authorized signatories. Authorized signatories may be the president, vice president, or provost of the university or institution and an administrator with signature authority at the partner organization.

The international MOU provides a simple format to enter into a general nonbinding agreement and serves as the foundation for more detailed agreements on specific activities.

International Agreements (IAs)

An IA is a legally-binding contract that commits WSU and the partner organization to provide specific services or activities. An IA should build upon the framework established by an international MOU and further the vision expressed in the MOU. The IA must be signed by a WSU administrator with the appropriate contracting authority (see BPPM 10.10).

Note: Depending on the nature or scope of a program, IP routes an IA to other relevant University offices for review and approval, including, but not limited to, the Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO), the Office of Finance and Administration, the Provost’s Office, or the Budget Office. See Approvals.


Examples of activities documented by IAs include, but are not limited to:

  • Research partnerships
  • Student exchanges
  • Faculty exchanges
  • English language training programs
  • Study abroad programs
  • Internships
Required Details

An IA must contain details pertaining to the parties’ contractual relationship, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Activities to be carried out.
  • Institutional responsibilities.
  • Sources of funds, payment, and billing.
  • Facilities and administrative costs (see also BPPM 40.25) when required by federal law.
  • Period of performance and termination.
  • Contacts and authorized signatures.

Refer to Approvals for approval requirements for IAs.

Other Agreement Types

This section (BPPM 10.42) does not apply to the following agreement types.

Business Contracts

Contracts within the authority of the Office of Finance and Administration are not processed by International Programs. Refer to BPPM 10.11 to process such agreements.

Non-Internationally-Related Research and Scholarly Activity Agreements

Non-internationally-related research and scholarly activity agreements are processed through ORSO. Refer to BPPM Chapter 40 to process such agreements.

Agreements Initiated by International Universities, Institutions, or Organizations

If departments/units receive a proposed agreement from an international university, institution, or organization, it is the chair or faculty’s responsibility to determine whether the agreement is in the best interest of the department and college. If so, the department must work with IP to determine whether the terms of the agreement are consistent with the laws and policies governing University contracts.

The department must obtain approval from the applicable dean for the proposed agreement. See Approvals below.

If the proposed agreement does not meet all the requirements of law and policy and is not determined to be in the overall best interest of the University, it must be modified to meet University requirements.


Each agreement with an international university, institution, or organization or for an international program must include certain standard information presented in an approved format.

Each agreement must identify contact persons or units at WSU and at the collaborating international organization with responsibility for conduct of the proposed activities.

IP provides established and approved standardized agreement templates for the University.

Check Existing Agreements

IP maintains a list of current agreements. Refer to this list before beginning work on an international agreement. To view the current list, contact the IP office; telephone 509-335-2541 or e-mail

Retention of Agreements

The Controller’s Office retains the originals of all IAs.

Agreement Criteria

Consider each of the following criteria when evaluating international MOUs or IAs for establishment and/or approval:

  • Level of interest to a wide segment of WSU faculty and students.
  • Faculty members or units willing to take responsibility for the successful implementation of the partnership.
  • Degree to which opportunities benefit the mission and priorities of the department, college, and University.
  • Enhancement of comprehensive internationalization at WSU.
  • Degree to which the proposed international MOU or IA creates and/or provides access to resources, whether U.S. or international human, fiscal, or other.
  • Degree to which opportunities are provided that are not otherwise available for students, faculty, and programs at WSU.
  • Adherence to WSU’s academic requirements.
  • Degree to which the international MOU or IA addresses criteria specific to the participating faculty and units.
  • Ability of the University to meet the obligations, particularly financial obligations, of the agreement.


Obtain college/departmental/institutional approval for the international MOU or IA on the Internal Approval Form. This form is for WSU internal use only. For complete internal approval and routing information contact IP by e-mail.

Approvals from the applicable campus chancellor (when appropriate), dean, chair (director), and contact person are required. Seek approval from the college financial officer when appropriate. If the MOU or IA involves courses or degrees, seek approval from the Provost’s Office.

If the agreement covers more than one college, obtain approval for each college. See also Final WSU Approval. Allow at least two weeks for completion of the final University approval process. Processing time varies depending on the type of the agreement, the need for additional negotiations, and/or routing of documents for signatures.

Curriculum Transfer

If curriculum transfer credit is involved, include a table of transfer equivalencies approved by the appropriate university entity. A curriculum transfer agreement allows the student to transfer a defined set of courses and credits between an academic program at one institution to a program at another institution.

IA Approvals by Activity

IP routes certain agreements to other appropriate offices as necessary. Contact IP with questions.

Final WSU Approval

After the Vice President of IP approves the agreement, IP determines appropriate final University reviews and approvals, including final signature by an authorized signatory of the University. If the MOU or IA includes curricular content or involves a WSU degree, final authorization must include the Provost’s Office.

Revisions:  May 2019 (Rev. 530); Nov. 2006 – new policy (Rev. 290).