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International Agreements

MSU formalizes its strategic international partnerships through written agreements. These Memoranda of Understanding or Agreement (MOUs/MOAs) are developed for a variety of purposes, including faculty and/or student exchanges, other forms of study abroad programs, research and resource sharing. For questions on international agreements, contact the ISP dean's office at 517-355-2350 or agreemen(at)msu.edu.

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Drafting Guidance   •   Approval Process   •   Agreement Search   •   Templates

Partnering with MSU

Universities across the U.S. and throughout the world seek new and creative ways to partner with institutions abroad. Towards this end, MSU's colleges and departments receive numerous letters and visitors from abroad seeking partnerships. Many provide attractive opportunities for collaborative research and/or outreach opportunities, others offer to host MSU students at locations with enriching educational opportunities, while some seek U.S. partners to accept their qualified graduate and undergraduate students.

International agreements provide visible and concrete intentions of colleagues and/or academic units working together towards a common goal. Moreover, in certain cultures, a written statement of intent is highly valued or is deemed essential for obtaining government funding and/or enabling faculty members at the partner university to implement outlined activities. A written international agreement also provides existence of a linkage for the benefit of other MSU units. An agreement also may help to minimize misunderstandings in the future regarding the components of what was agreed. Finally, international agreements are required if legally binding commitments are made for units at MSU; contracts to which MSU is a party must be in writing.

There are three types of international agreements at MSU.

  1. The first and broadest is the "General International Agreement," which establishes a formal partnership between MSU and an international institution. This first type of agreement also encompasses student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, shared research projects, technology transfer and other specific activities.
  2. The second type of agreement is more specific: it provides detailed information regarding MSU partnerships involving students, faculty and/or staff members engaged in particular undertakings within international institutions.
  3. The third type of agreement covers student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, joint research projects or technology transfer.

Drafting Guidance

Units wishing to formalize a relationship through a written agreement should review the information on this website and send specific queries via email beforehand. Moreover we also encourage units to talk with the director of the relevant area studies center regarding their proposals. If the agreement involves sending MSU students on a study abroad program or engaging in student exchange, we suggest that a meeting be scheduled with the Executive Director of Study Abroad or a representative. Additionally, several MSU colleges have internal procedures for processing agreements and staff members in the appropriate college unit should be consulted in these cases.

Learn more about drafting guidance >


The ISP Dean's Office must review all institutional-level international agreements. Specifically ISP will liaise with appropriate offices on campus, including General Counsel and Contract and Grant Administration and others for final review. In order for international agreements to take effect, they must be signed by the applicable academic college Dean and Dean of ISP.

Please allow a minimum of 12 business days for approval of new MOUs.

Read more about the approval process >

Agreement Search

MSU has more than 325 partnership agreements in over 80 countries.

Search the international agreements database >


Please use one of the templates below when preparing your document. Using the template ensures that all required sections are included and that MSU agreements are consistent in formatting.