The University partners with academic institutions across the globe to expand curricular offerings, research collaborations, and intercultural opportunities for mobility of students and faculty. University of Pittsburgh Policy 02-01-05 was developed to provide a mechanism for initiating, amending and/or renewing international agreements. The University’s process for establishing and renewing agreements with international institutions exists to protect the interests of faculty and units working to establish linkages, as well as the University overall. The policy governs agreements having the following characteristics:

…any agreement 1) between the University of Pittsburgh and one or more foreign governments and/or universities or other organizations domiciled outside the United States, regarding the use of this University’s faculty, student, library or other research or instructional resources within the United States or 2) that commits the University of Pittsburgh to the deployment of faculty, student, library or other research or instructional resources outside of the United States.
Those wishing to host visitors (who are not part of an existing Exchange Agreement) and are uncertain if a Visitors Agreement is required; should refer to the Pitt Academic Visitors web-page hosted by the Office of Trade Compliance. Faculty and administrators considering an international inter-institutional agreement should follow the steps listed below.

To learn more about how to initiate an inter-institutional international agreement, please visit www.globalpartnerships.pitt.edu.

Familiar with the International Partnership Agreement process?
Access the Partnership Agreement Request Form directly.

Agreement Process Chart

  • Step 1
    Check Active Agreements
    • Contact Global Concierge
  • Step 2
    Select Agreement Type
    • Review Agreement Types
    • Consult with Partner(s)
    • Contact Global Concierge
  • Step 3
    Submit Approval Form
    • Chair & Director/Dean Approve
    • UCIS Reviews & Follows Up
  • Step 4
    Negotiate Agreement
    • UCIS Assists Requestor
  • Step 5
    Finalize Agreement
    • UCIS Assists Requestor
      & Routes for Approval

Step 1: Check Active Agreements

Before concretizing commitments with potential partners, it is important to determine whether the University currently holds an active agreement with the proposed partner institution. UCIS currently tracks all active international agreements; to learn more about where your department or unit may have existing agreements, please contact the Global Operations Support Manager.

Step 2: Select Agreement Type

Before formalizing any type of understanding between parties, it is also critical to determine if the partnership meets University’s stated needs and/or priorities. This decision should help you discern the appropriate agreement type to best formalize the desired relationship of the parties involved. The following are the types of international agreements available for consideration. At the earliest stages of conceptualization, please contact the Global Operations Support Manager for help determining which agreement type will best meet the needs of the intended partnership.

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): is a standard, non-binding accord between institutions. It is used in cases where a ceremonial signing is required or when Pitt would like to establish an exploratory relationship with a partner to best decide whether more formal collaborations are warranted. In cases where parties agree on specific projects or scope of partnerships, the MOU should be avoided and one of the agreements below should be explored.
  • Faculty Exchange Non-Teaching: supports faculty as they establish non-teaching collaborations with partners abroad (including formal mobility agreements, coordinating academic meetings, collaborating with international partners). Research projects should be discussed with the Office of Sponsored Programs and teaching contracts should be discussed with the Office of Faculty Affairs.
  • Cooperative Agreement: allows units to partner with institutions abroad on matters not related to student/faculty exchange. For example, if Pitt is co-hosting any type of program or event abroad, not related to study abroad (such as conferences, film festivals, or publication launch), then we should formalize that arrangement using this agreement.
  • Undergraduate/Graduate Student Exchange: supports individual student mobility (outside of Pitt-sanctioned study abroad program models) via a bilateral agreement where each partner is encouraged to send/receive equal numbers of students annually.  Since students at each institution pay tuition to their home institutions, these agreements require careful thought and consideration, especially as regards the responsible unit’s ability to recruit and send/receive a set number of students annually. If there is a desired exchange at both the Graduate and Undergraduate levels, separate agreements may be required. Also, please note that Graduate exchanges will be administered through specific graduate schools.

Step 3: Submit Request--International Agreement Approval Form

Once an appropriate agreement type has been selected, work must first begin to approve the partnership proposal within the University. Upon approval, you can negotiate the specific terms for a final draft with the potential partner. This process will consist of the following steps:

1: Fill out and submit the International Agreement Approval Form

This form will allow the internal applicant to provide details about the desired partnership such as project scope, level of involvement, general terms etc. The completed International Agreement Approval Form will become the initial partnership proposal that will be vetted and approved by appropriate Pitt leadership before a more formal and robust agreement is developed.

Click here to access and complete the International Agreement Approval Form. *Please note that if you are using a Mac based system, you will have to use the Firefox web browser to properly open and use this form.

View Agreement Approval Form


For detailed instructions on completing the Agreement Approval Form, please click here to access the Contraxx User Guide
2: Approval and Template Issuance

The International Agreement Approval Form will be sent first to the requestor's department chair and dean/director for initial approval. Once the chair and dean/director have approved the request, UCIS will also review and approve.

When the International Agreement Approval Form has been vetted and approved, the requestor will be invited to meet with the UCIS team to discuss the creation of a specific agreement. Finally, in consultation with the requestor, UCIS will draft an agreement that should be sent to the proposed international partner institution for their review.

For Approvers (Department Chairs and Deans): You will receive an e-mail message requesting your approval before the proposal will be reviewed by the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) and the Office of General Counsel.  Your prompt attention to this request is greatly appreciated. To electronically sign the request, please click the “Review Document” button on the e-mail message; select “Continue;” drag the “Signature” icon from the top left-hand side of the screen and drop it next to your name; click “Finish” on the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

UCIS and the University of Pittsburgh use DocuSign to manage the signature approval process for international agreements.  If you are a first-time user on DocuSign, you may be prompted to create an account. This is a one-time request. If you have questions about the international agreement proposal and approval process, please contact the Global Operations Support Manager.

Step 4: Negotiation with the International Partner

In the event where negotiations are necessary, requestors will consult with UCIS about engaging in the negotiation process.

Step 5: Finalize Approval and Routing

Once all parties agree on a final agreement draft, UCIS will assist with internal routing and final approvals.

Expected Timeline: The agreement review process will take 6-8 weeks on average to reach execution.While efforts are in place to reduce the time for procuring approvals and routing, this process still involves a signed agreement from the University of Pittsburgh and all such agreements must be thoroughly reviewed to protect the interests of the University. Therefore, the estimated timeline is subject to change based on any number of potential variables, including negotiations and required revisions or any other unforeseen circumstances.

General Advice

It is important to remember that, in many cases, international agreements can include multiple parties and not just the University and a single foreign entity. This should be taken into consideration during the initial phases of the planning process for the sake of time management. Please note that Research Agreements or any agreement where Pitt owned technology, information or knowledge could be shared with a potential international partner; might, according to various federal regulations, be subject to review by the Office of Sponsored Programs and or the Office of Trade Compliance. The inclusion of these offices should be factored into the time allotted when planning for a completion date.


For more information on international partnership agreements or to answer any questions, please contact the following:

Attention Health Sciences

Given the differences in agreement language used and types of arrangements entered into involving the Health Sciences; we ask that all departments that fall under the Health Sciences contact Megan Hall at mmh67@pitt.edu or 412-648-0053 for application and approval of international agreements. Thank you.