Skip to main content


Developing international partnerships

International collaborations provide valuable knowledge and resources to our learning and research communities. The College of Engineering supports departments and faculty in developing and strengthening ties with international partner institutions that lead to productive and impactful collaborations. 

CoE principles for international partnerships

As you develop an international partnership, make sure your plan follows these principles:

  • Partnerships established by faculty, rather than mandated by administrative leadership, are better supported and more sustainable.
  • International partner institutions must be of similar academic standing to the University of Washington and/or offer strategic resources that justify partnership.
  • Partnerships established at the departmental level allow departmental faculty and staff to determine program models and plan logistics and oversee administration.
  • When they benefit faculty and students across multiple engineering disciplines and departments, the College may administer partnerships.
  • Engineering education should be balanced with intercultural engagement in student exchange partnerships.
  • Partnerships should set a termination date no later than 3 years after initiation. At the termination date, the sponsoring unit should evaluate the agreement for renewal or termination.

Types of international partnerships

Coordination of international activities can be confirmed with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or an international agreement.

Memorandum of understanding (MOU)
MOUs are non-binding statements of mutual interest in areas of possible future collaboration; they are not appropriate for any arrangements that require the commitment of university resources.
International agreements
International agreements are formal binding contracts that dictate terms of specific partnerships involving university resources; partnerships that would require an international agreement include collaborative degree programs, reciprocal student exchange programs, and research exchanges.

While MOUs can list specific proposals for future collaboration that would require university resources, an international agreement outlining the terms of that program must be developed and signed before it can become active.

International partnership approval process

  1. The faculty sponsor completes the International Agreement Proposal Form. The form should include as much information as possible to justify the purpose and outcomes of the partnership.*
  2. The faculty sponsor secures the signature of their Department Chair on the proposal form.
  3. The faculty sponsor submits the completed proposal form to Sarah Pauling in the College of Engineering Academic Affairs. (Do not send the proposal from directly to the Office of Global Affairs, as indicated on the proposal form.) The College of Engineering will review the proposal and, if approved, send to the Office of Global Affairs who will develop an agreement draft and send to the faculty sponsor.
  4. The faculty sponsor receives the agreement draft from the Office of Global Affairs and shares it with the international partner who may propose edits. Changes to the draft should be clearly marked and approved by the Office of Global Affairs.
  5. Following approval of the agreement draft, the faculty sponsor and the international partner arrange to print and have their institutional representatives sign two original copies of the agreement. A digital copy of the signed agreement should be sent to Sarah Pauling in the College of Engineering.

*If the international partner has already provided a draft for an agreement, the UW faculty sponsor must still submit a proposal form for approval. The agreement draft can be submitted with the proposal form as part of the approval process.

Delegation visits & signing ceremonies

International partners may wish to mark the signing of a new partnership agreement with a visit to UW and an agreement signing ceremony.

  • The faculty sponsor should serve as the principal coordinator for campus visits by delegations from the partner institution.
  • The agreement approval process cannot be expedited to accommodate a visit by a partner delegation. Faculty sponsors should be clear with partner delegations that agreements may not be approved in time for visits.
  • If the Dean or other College personnel are requested for an agreement signing ceremony or a meeting with the delegation, they should contact Sarah Pauling at least 1 month before the scheduled visit date. Faculty sponsors should inform delegations that meetings with the Dean and other College personnel cannot be guaranteed and are contingent on availability.