Drafting Guidance

An Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement (MOU/MOA) provides a concrete agreement between colleagues and/or academic units working together towards a common goal. An MOU/MOA outlines clear guidance for a partnership and may be required if legally binding commitments are made on behalf of units at MSU.


Types of International Agreements

General International Agreement

Establishes a formal partnership between MSU and an international institution. Encompasses student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, joint research projects, and technology transfers. General International Agreement template (.docx) >

Specific Activity Agreement

Provides detailed information about MSU partnerships involving students, faculty, and staff members doing project-specific teaching, research, and work at international institutions. These usually include financial or other binding details. Specific Activity Agreement template (.docx) >

Two-Way Student Exchange Agreement

Enhances the educational experiences and the cultural understanding of students and faculty from both institutions. The purpose of each student exchange is to enable students to take classes but not to study for a degree at the host institution. Two-Way Student Exchange template (.docx) >


Drafting an MOU/MOA

If you'd like to draft a Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement, check with your department or college first and see if there's an internal procedure for international agreements. If you're interested in creating an MOU/MOA involving education abroad or student exchange, contact the director of Education Abroad.


1. Title information

You can use various titles including "memorandum of understanding" or a "general international agreement." The name of both institutions should be provided in the heading of the document.

2. Preamble

A short statement providing general information about the history and background for the agreement.

3. General purposes

This section should outline the various purposes of the agreement, which may include:

  • Exchange of faculty members and/or research scholars
  • Exchange of students (student exchanges require additional documentation)
  • Joint research and meetings for education and research
  • Exchange of materials, documents and information
  • Technical assistance

4. Specific activities and implementation plan

This section should include an outline of agreement activities, the implementation plan, and assignment of roles and responsibilities of the partnering institutions. You may create additional agreements for specific activities after the initial MOU/MOA is signed.

If the MOU/MOA is for a student exchange, a separate Student Exchange Agreement must also be completed.

5. University units involved/named in the agreement

This section should name each unit that will be involved. It also may include other units, centers, institutes, departments, and colleges that may become involved in the future (and/or the university as a whole).

6. Parameters of the agreement

This section is a statement of the scope of the agreement: "This document constitutes the entire agreement between the parties, and all prior discussions, agreements, and understandings, whether verbal or in writing, are merged in this document. This agreement is not considered to be a contract creating legal and financial relationships between the parties. The agreement is designed to facilitate and develop a genuine and mutually beneficial exchange process/research relationship."

7. Funding arrangements (if any)

This section should if funds are available to support agreement activities. Identify the source and amount of the funds and the time during which the funds will be available.

8. Duration of the agreement

This section outlines the life span of the agreement. Typically agreements are signed for five-year periods with the possibility of renewal upon receipt of the written agreement of both parties. The following verbiage should be included: "this agreement shall become effective as of the last date of signature of both parties."

9. Termination

This section should specify when and how the agreement may be terminated by either party. Typically it should note: "The agreement may be terminated by written notice by either party with a minimum of 120 days written notice. Activities in progress at the time of termination of this agreement shall be permitted to conclude as planned unless otherwise agreed."

10. Review and evaluation

All agreements should have a conditional clause that specifies that review and evaluation of outcomes will occur at the end of the stated duration of the agreement, and outline who is responsible for this evaluation.

11. Nondiscrimination

The agreement should contain a statement that indicates that: "Both institutions subscribe to a policy of equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action. University programs, activities and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age or familial status."

12. Communication between the parties

This section should name the contact persons for each participating institution, including their addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses. It should also specify the language of communication (English, Swahili, etc.) and any predetermined schedule for regular communication.

13. Signatories

One or more signatures from each institution is required to make the agreement effective. Preferably, the heads of all participating units (deans or their equivalents) should sign, but it is not required. The only required signatures from MSU are that of the provost and the ISP dean. The president is not required to sign international agreements.

14. International Review

Once a draft of the MOU is completed by the MSU unit, it should be forwarded to the international partner for review and approval. Once both parties agree on the wording and contents of the agreement, the document should be forwarded to ISP for review and processing. Please allow up to 12 business days for review and approval processing and signatures.

15. Completion

Once the MOU has been fully processed and all signatures (MSU and International partners) have been obtained, please send a fully signed completed agreement to ISP to be added to the database.