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International Agreements

Where in the World is Maryland?

Click on this interactive map of current or recent formal international partnerships to find out where, with whom, and in what ways Maryland is engaged around the globe.

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) advises and assists the Maryland campus with processing a variety of agreements supporting global partnerships. To initiate a formal international partnership, Maryland's first step is generally the crafting and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). To learn more about MOUs, browse the frequently asked questions below or contact OIA Associate Director Joe Scholten at

A “Memorandum of Understanding” or MOU is a non-binding statement of intention between two parties—in this case, between Maryland and an international partner. MOUs are very general documents, indicating that the leaders of the two institutions support cooperation between them. An MOU does NOT commit either party to any specific obligation. Instead, it calls for separate, detailed, binding agreements for each collaborative program (such as a reciprocal graduate student research mobility), and sets some general conditions that will apply to any specific program that is created under its umbrella.

There are many reasons why you may want to propose an MOU between Maryland and an international institution with which you work regularly. For example, many external funding agencies require an MOU between the institutions of the researchers who are making a joint application for a grant, to demonstrate that the two institutions support the proposal.
Likewise, Maryland’s international partners will often ask for a general MOU either ahead of, or in conjunction with, the creation of a specific program of collaboration, such as a formal student exchange program or a joint degree program. Maryland in fact prefers that MOUs be linked to some specific planned collaboration, either in the immediate or near future.

  1. For initial guidance, contact Joe Scholten, OIA associate director at
  2. Contact your unit supervisor and your dean or division head to get their preliminary approval for your proposal.
  3. Once you have these, work with OIA to draft the actual document. OIA can provide a template approved by the Maryland Office of General Counsel and the Provost’s Office, both of which must approve any Maryalnd agreements. If your partner will accept the language of this Maryland template, then approval proceeds more quickly on our side.
  4. Share the draft document(s) with your proposed partner for their input and for the approval of their legal office. 
  5. If your partner has their own preferred template MOU, or requests changes to the Maryland template, consult with your campus stakeholders, OIA, and the Maryland Office of Legal Affairs.
  6. Repeat Step 5 as often as needed to get to a final text that all parties can accept.

Send the final document to OIA, which will route it for needed final approvals and signature.

In addition to your unit head and your dean or division head, all international MOUs require the formal approval of the Office of Legal Affairs, the Office of International Affairs, and the associate provost for academic planning and programs. If the president is the Maryland signatory, the provost must give formal approval first.

The only Maryland official who has legal signatory authority for institution-to-institution agreements, whether general MOUs or agreements involving university-level resources and commitments (such as student exchanges, joint degree programs or major research collaborations) is the president. The president has delegated that signatory authority to the provost for most international agreements. Other university officers can add their signature for ceremonial purposes, with the approval of the Provost’s Office. 

From initial discussions to final signature by the provost or president can take several months, particularly if your partner institution asks for special conditions or customized language in the agreement. The completion of an international MOU based on the Maryland template typically takes four to six weeks.

The current Maryland international MOU template has a term of five years.

Yes! The renewal process follows that to establish an international agreement, with the added requirement of a brief report on what was accomplished during the agreement's first term and what that its sponsors plan to do during the renewal term.  For advice and assistance renewing an MOU, contact OIA Associate Director Joe Scholten at

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