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International Partnerships

Types of International Agreements

The Ohio State University believes international agreements should build on the academic standing of the two collaborating universities. The collaboration should enhance each institution’s competitive advantage in the discipline as well as their international standing, while nurturing outstanding research that leads faculty and students to rigorous scholarly and professional training in an international setting.

The types of international agreements that The Ohio State University enters into include:

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

MOU declares an intent to explore opportunities to collaborate in areas that would be mutually beneficial to each institution. MOUs may lead to more specific activities and goals, which could then be expressed in the form of an MOA.

  • Expresses an intent to explore a closer relationship with an institution
  • Publicly records the mutual interest to collaborate
  • Provides a symbolic foundation for the institutional relationship
  • Contains no financial commitments

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

MOA provides a strategic advantage to Ohio State as umbrella agreements for concrete and specific activities of importance.

  • Carries out the strategic international goals of Ohio State and provides diplomatic framework for institutional relationships
  • Codifies a partnership involving significant collaboration and is a legally binding document
  • Specifies activities, resources, outcomes, obligations and limitations by each partner
  • Contains specific financial obligations (specifically on the part of the Ohio State partner)
  • Includes Student Exchange Agreements and Cooperative Degree Programs

International Dual Degree Agreement

An International Dual Degree Program is an academic program collaboratively offered by Ohio State and one (or more) non-U.S. higher education institutions leading to the award of one (or more) degrees issued separately by each of the institutions involved in the collaboration. The Office of International Affairs and the Graduate School oversee the development of new International Dual Agreements.

  • Two separate and distinct diplomas/degrees are awarded by two collaborating institutions (e.g. MA, one from Ohio State and another from an international partner institution)
  • Two separate and distinct diplomas/degrees are awarded only when the requirements for both degrees have been completed
  • Enrolled students spend approximately 50% of their time in residence at each institution
  • The collaborating institutions should be compatible. The quality of both overall institutions and programs within the institution should match, and interest must exist at all levels, from individual faculty members to departments to the universities’ administration. There must be a “fit” between partners at all of these different levels
  • Each institution only awards and is responsible for its own degree/diploma
  • Curriculum is regulated by cooperative contract, directed by joint committee with representation from each participating institution
  • Students are responsible for all costs associated with enrollment in the dual degree program (including tuition and fees, living expenses, air fare and medical insurance)
  • Each program will be responsible for ensuring the appropriate enrollment status for students and establishing the protocol for the paying of stipends, tuition and fees based on the relevant rules and regulations of the respective universities. Course and program planning for each student is the co-responsibility of the program advisors at each institution. Tuition shall be proportional to the instructional and research time spent by a student at each institution
  • Thesis/Dissertation committees will be comprised of faculty members from both institutions. As will be specified in each agreement (without prejudice to Ohio State graduate school’s requirements) a thesis/dissertation may result in a student submitting one thesis/dissertation to both institutions or separate thesis/dissertation to each institution; with a separate diploma from each institution awarded to the student
  • Any additional requirements, such as the composition of the candidacy examination committee, shall be decided on a case-by-case basis and by each individual academic unit

NOTE: Ohio State does not award joint degrees: A joint degree is a single degree jointly offered and jointly awarded by more than one institution whereby the two institutions share the responsibility for all aspects of the program's delivery and quality. Student exchanges are administered through the education abroad unit within the Office of International Affairs and are formalized through separate written agreements.

Cooperative Degree Agreement

International Cooperative Degree Agreements set provisions for activities that allow students to earn degree credentials in more than one country. Student flow may be one-way or reciprocal, according to mutual agreement and institutional need.

The guiding principle for cooperative degree programs is the significant enhancement of the educational, professional and research value of such a degree for the student, as well as a substantive gain in research collaborations for the participating Ohio State units.

  • Contractually regulated conferral of existing degrees at two subsequent levels from two institutions, one unique degree from each partner
  • Regular progression of degree levels preserved (ex. BS/BA leading to MS/MA)
  • Each institution only awards its own degree
  • Each institution is responsible for its own degree
  • Transition from undergraduate to graduate institution regulated by cooperative contract concerning pre-selection and eventual admission
  • Typically implies a shortened time period for the two degrees (e.g. five instead of six years in the 3+2 model)
  • Example of Cooperative Degree Agreements: 3+2 programs (Baccalaureate + Master’s), 3+1+1, 4+2

Student Exchange Agreement

Student exchanges are recognized as a valuable opportunity for making the educational experience truly international by enrolling Ohio State students in programs abroad and in return enabling their international counterparts to attend Ohio State and benefit from our programs, while at the same time bringing international diversity to our student body.

  • Two complementary mobility programs: education abroad programs for Ohio State students and recruitment of international students to Ohio State
  • Students pay tuition to their home institution only
  • Exchanges are reciprocal and must be balanced for academic as well as budgetary reasons
  • An SEA contract involves an Ohio State unit sending students on an education abroad experience as well as welcoming the international partner institution’s students to join their program at Ohio State

Note: If there is an interest to provide Ohio State students an education abroad experience without expecting return registration by international students, please review the guidelines to establish a traditional Ohio State education abroad program.

Customized Experiential Educational Agreement

Customized agreements typically involve one or more Ohio State student engaged in an internship, externship, research placement or other individualized experience with a foreign institution or company. In some cases, the foreign institution or company will request that Ohio State sign an agreement as a prerequisite to the student’s participation.

  • May contain complex terms concerning intellectual property, dispute resolution, or use of trademarks and logos that can substantially complicate the university approval proces
  • It is important to plan in advance to determine whether the university can actually sign the relevant agreement requested by the foreign organization

Fee for Service Agreement

Fee for service agreements involve a foreign institution or company paying for services provided by Ohio State. Fee for service agreements are often the most complex agreements from a legal standpoint even when the monetary amounts are small. They require submission of a detailed budget for review and approval of the senior financial officer in the initiating college or unit.

Most often, the payments are fees for one of the following:

  • Learning experiences in the United States provided to students or employees of a foreign institution or company
  • Learning programs in the foreign country, distance education, or possibly research services

These agreements may implicate:

  • Export controls
  • Intellectual property concerns
  • Trademark and logo usage
  • Foreign tax laws on revenue-generating programs
  • Dispute resolution