NC State
Office of International Affairs

Standard operating practices for establishing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and other agreements with universities outside the United States


Many academic and research units at NC State University are actively engaged or have plans to become engaged in research, education, and other forms of collaboration with universities outside the United States. Such endeavors are important to NC State’s goal of integrating global perspectives into all aspects of the University’s mission. Faculty members and administrators are encouraged to pursue international collaborations that are consistent with the unit and University strategic plan.

To protect NC State University from unplanned financial or legal obligations, properly manage the agreements, and keep the NC State community informed of established relationships, certain policies must be followed when developing these international agreements. MOU and International Cooperative Agreements must be authorized by the Chancellor or Provost.  These instruments are intended to support institutional goals, particularly to enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships. A letter of support may also be requested from the Office of International Affairs towards the development of more specific international collaborative efforts.  For additional information about international partnerships and developing MOU or letters of support, please contact David Dixon (

I. Process for Establishing Agreements

  • The unit wishing to establish the agreement should begin the process in consultation with the Office of International Affairs (OIA). OIA keeps files of all existing agreements that may be helpful in preparation of a new agreement and has information about many NC State, Board of Governors, state, and federal policies that may impact the planned collaboration.
  • Before any agreement is finalized, the unit should ensure that any resources necessary to support it will be available through the Department, College, or University. If the agreement includes plans for a dual or joint degree or other academic credential, the unit should review policies and procedures for approval by the appropriate NC State bodies.
  • The unit should send a draft agreement to the Vice Provost for International Affairs. The agreement will be reviewed by the Office of International Affairs and the Office of General Counsel for consistency with NC State policies and procedures.
  • This draft will be forwarded to the partner institution(s) for their review. The unit and OIA will negotiate with the partner institution(s) as needed to achieve consensus on a final agreement.
  • Two originals of the agreement should be signed by all parties. One will be kept by OIA and logged into DICE, the Database of International Connections and Expertise. The other original will be forwarded to the partner institution for their records.

II. Required Signatures

  • All agreements, regardless of type or level, must include the signature of the Chancellor or, if signature authority is delegated, the Provost of NC State University as the final signature line in the agreement unless otherwise specifically delegated. See Reg 01.20.1, Delegation of Authority and Reg. 01.20.2, Procedure for Delegation of Authority to Sign Contracts
  • Agreements at the University level would require only signature by the Chancellor or Provost.
  • Agreements at the College level would require signatures of the appropriate Dean and the Provost or Chancellor.
  • Agreements between a department, center, or institute and an entity outside the U. S. should include the signatures of relevant administrators up through the Provost or Chancellor. For example, a department-to-department agreement would involve signatures by the Department Head, Dean, and Provost or Chancellor.
  • Units wishing to establish activities with an institution with which NC State already has a Memorandum of Understanding can execute a letter of intent or international agreement following the procedures outlined above.

III. Establishing Dual Degree Programs

  • The process to establish a new international academic dual or joint degree program involves development at the department level and requires approval by the College Dean, either the Graduate School or Division of Academic and Student Affairs as well as the Substantive Change Review Team prior to University approval.  For more details about the procedures, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula website.


For more information, please contact Dr. Bailian Li (, Vice Provost for International Affairs.