International Agreements

Georgetown promotes international collaboration for students, faculty, and staff through formal partnerships with many non-US entities. Among our valued partners are overseas universities, governments, non-profit and non-governmental agencies. OGS assists Georgetown departments and schools with proposed international activities from the planning through the agreement stages.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
General statements of mutual interest to explore opportunities for collaboration
Explicitly non-binding and do not allow for commitment of university funds, staff, facilities, or other university resources

International Agreements
Formal contracts that detail the terms and conditions of specific forms of collaboration
Legal and binding on both parties

Agreements Supported by OGS 

  • General MOUs supporting global initiatives and partnerships
  • Joint centers or research agreements that are not part of a sponsored project or program
  • Fee-based outbound international academic services contracts that are not part of a sponsored project or gift
  • Student and faculty exchange agreements
  • Study abroad program provider (including U.S-based providers with activities abroad) 
  • International dual- and joint-degree program agreements
  • Credit and non-credit-bearing internship agreements
  • Scholarship agreements 

Revenue-generating international agreements and service contracts go through the Financial Affairs Contracts Process

Please follow this process when initiating a new agreement to ensure the appropriate support and approvals for the planned activity.

  • Step 1- Initial Discussions and Proposal
    • Identify an international partner and the scope of your proposed activity. OGS has created a detailed Program Vetting Checklist to assist you. Some things to consider are:
      • Reputation and accreditation (if higher education partner) 
      • Institutional history
        • Do we currently have a partnership with the proposed partner?
        • Have we had a partnership with them in the past?
        • If the partnership ended, what were the terms behind the cancellation?
        • Do we have faculty/staff linked to the proposed partner?
      • Financial Implications
        • What is the budget for this activity (costs to students, departments/schools)
        • If this is an exchange, how is it financially reconciled?
        • Is there a chance that the university will lose money?
      • Suitability and Sustainability
        • Will the partnership be of mutual interest?
        • What population (faculty, students, staff) will this partnership serve?
        • What is the availability of support (faculty/administrative/student) resources at the overseas institution (and Georgetown if appropriate)?
        • What are the health, safety, and security concerns in the program location?
        • Does the partnership fulfill a curricular need?
        • Does the partnership conflict with current academic offerings and/or existing partners in the same location?
        • Does the partnership have expansion potential?
        • Will the partnership endure?
      • University Support for Partnership
        • Has the appropriate department and/or dean’s office approved the partnership details?
        • Is the department/school’s Financial Officer involved?
        • For new degree programs, has the proposal been discussed with the New Academic Program Committee? Has it been approved by Grad EXCO/EXCO?
        • Please note that all undergraduate for-credit programming should be vetted through the Office of Global Education. Any Graduate programs and non-credit undergraduate programs should be vetted through the appropriate department/school channels.
  • Step 2- Drafting
    • Once the proposal has been approved by the department/school, please fill out the International Agreement Intent Form. OGS staff will contact you within two (2) business days to ask any questions about the partnership. OGS will then draft the agreement. Please keep in mind that depending on the type of agreement and its complexity, the initial drafting period can take one to three weeks.
    • All agreements must include language approved by our Office of General Counsel (OGC) Using a partner’s template may significantly increase the time required to conclude the agreement.
  • Step 3- Partner Negotiation
    • The Georgetown agreement sponsor shares the draft with the collaborating institution/entity, which may propose edits.
    • Any changes made by the collaborating institution/entity or sponsoring GU department to the agreement draft should be clearly marked via track changes in the document and returned to OGS for review and approval. OGS may consult with OGC if changes to certain clauses are made.
    • Agreement terms are negotiated and finalized by both parties.
  • Step 4- Approvals and Signature
    • Once all agreement terms are finalized, please fill out the top of the International Agreement Transmittal Form and send it with the final copy of the agreement to OGS.
    • OGS will secure approvals from OGC, Tax, Risk, and MCFO (if applicable for Main Campus agreements) and will route the agreement for appropriate signatures in Docusign.
    • The Georgetown agreement sponsor will send the agreement to the partner for signatures.
  • Step 5- Records
    • A scanned copy of the fully-signed agreement must be emailed to OGS and It will be added to the central agreements database.

Do Memoranda of Understanding fall under this process?
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) generally refers to a non-binding agreement that establishes an institutional relationship for future collaboration. Such an MOU may mention particular activities governed by other agreements but does not create any financial or other obligations. MOU templates offered by the partner will first need to be reviewed by OGS to ensure that they are non-binding. Agreements that are labeled MOUs but create financial or other obligations are subject to review.

Who can initiate an agreement on behalf of the University?
Only Georgetown faculty and administrators can initiate agreements.

How long does the agreement negotiation and review process take?
This depends on the activity and the partner. OGS can offer support during the negotiation process, going over successive agreement drafts, and providing input on university policies and frameworks in a timely manner. We recommend starting the process 4-6 months before the intended start date of the activity. Queries submitted through the International Agreement Intent Form will be responded to within 48 hours.

When should the university’s formal agreement review process be initiated?
Agreements should be submitted for formal review once negotiations with international partners have been concluded and the necessary academic and financial approvals have been secured. OGS can provide advice and assistance on relevant university policies and agreement frameworks during the negotiation process. Careful preparation at an early stage can facilitate a smooth formal review process.

What is the duration of agreements and how can they be renewed?
Georgetown does not negotiate open-ended, non-expiring agreements. For most agreements, the duration is five years with the possibility of renewal.

How can I terminate an agreement?
In general, at the end of the negotiated term, an agreement can be terminated without further notification to the partner. If either party would like to terminate the activity before the term is up, there is often a provision to do so with a written notification.

Who signs the agreements?
The proper level of university signatory will vary depending on the type of agreement. OGS can provide more information on best practices.

Have more questions? Contact:

Liz Greenfeld
Associate Director of Global Program Support Services
Office of Global Services