International Agreements

The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) supports the international engagement of our faculty, staff and students, whose diverse research, teaching, learning, and service activities extend beyond the boundaries of our campus to influence people’s lives around the world. Recognizing that international collaborators often require an agreement to formalize a partnership before collaborations can proceed, the International Division is ready to work closely with faculty and staff to develop and fully execute international agreements.

Any UW–Madison faculty or staff may initiate an international agreement. Foreign partners and UW–Madison students must find a UW–Madison faculty or staff member who is willing to engage in or support an international collaboration; requests coming directly from another institution will not advance.

Only a few people on campus have authority to sign international agreements on behalf of UW–Madison. Primary delegated signatory authority is held by the Vice Provost and Dean, International Division. Depending on circumstances, the Chancellor, the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, or the Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services and Controller will sign. Other school or college leadership often sign in support.

The International Division is responsible for ensuring international agreements generate mutual benefit, set realistic expectations, manage risks, adhere to campus, state, and federal policies, and are signed by someone with authority to sign on behalf of UW–Madison.

About International Agreements

International agreements facilitated by the International Division involve at least one entity such as a university, organization, company or government outside the U.S. and are typically non-monetary. Agreements and contracts with non-U.S. entities that involve funding are the primary responsibility of Research and Sponsored Programs and Business Services, but the International Division helps facilitate as necessary. If you need an agreement supporting international collaboration, but are not sure which type of international agreement you need, please contact

Common international agreement types include:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – A document expressing shared interests and intent to explore future collaboration toward a common goal.
  • Implementation Agreement – An agreement detailing resource commitments, contact people, and relevant terms (e.g. intellectual property) for a known activity.
  • Collaborative Academic Agreement – An agreement regarding academic programs (e.g. Dual Degrees or 3+1+1 programs).
  • Exchange Agreement – An agreement facilitating study abroad for academic credit.
  • International Affiliation Agreement – An agreement enabling students to have clinical health sciences learning experiences at non-US clinical facilities.
  • Internship Agreement – An agreement enabling UW–Madison students to have work experiences abroad.

Common agreement terms include:

  • Purpose of collaboration
  • Formal, legal names of partnering entities
  • Responsibilities of each party
  • Date of signatures
  • Duration (date the agreement will be in effect and expire) UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements. 
  • Termination (conditions under which a party may end the agreement early)
  • Modification (conditions under which a party may modify the original terms of the agreement)

Developing an International Agreement

In general, faculty and staff who need an international agreement must fulfill the following:

  • Inform and receive endorsement from Department Chair and School/College Dean.
  • Complete International Agreement Development Form, and submit it and any draft to
  • Serve as primary contact with partners, including:
    • Sharing UW–Madison-approved draft international agreement with foreign partner, once the International Relations Manager has provided it;
    • Communicating partner feedback to the International Relations Manager until all parties approve a final version of the international agreement; and
    • Seeking partner’s authorized signature(s).
  • Ensure that UW–Madison receives a fully executed version for campus files.

The process for developing an agreement varies because each international agreement tends to be unique, but the process typically includes initiating, seeking review/approval, facilitating signatures, and recording international agreements.

First, the proposing faculty or staff seeks endorsement from their Department Chair for the prospective partnership. Then, the proposing faculty or staff contacts the International Division at to:

  • Submit an International Agreement Development Form
  • Ask for a template or share an existing draft (in Word format)

Download: International Agreements Development Form

The International Division’s International Relations Manager and the Office of Legal Affairs review and approve every international agreement before anyone from UW–Madison signs.

The International Relations Manager works with the proposing faculty and staff as well as relevant campus partners to develop a draft, seek Office of Legal Affairs’ review, shares the proposed agreement with other offices that the agreement might be involved, and return a UW–Madison-approved draft with guidance on implementation to the proposing faculty or staff.

The proposing faculty or staff shares the UW-approved draft with the prospective partner and asks for their feedback (using track changes), institutional logo (if desired), and names/titles of signatories.

Repeat steps above until UW–Madison and the foreign partner agree on a final version of the agreement.

Note: UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements.

Although school or college leadership often sign in support, only a few people on campus have authority to sign agreements with non-U.S. institutions on behalf of UW–Madison. The International Division’s International Relations Manager determines who has the authority and is required to sign an international agreement on behalf of UW–Madison.

As a best practice, Deans of proposing units should review and approve or deny before someone with signatory authority signs. If a Dean denies an agreement, it will not move forward for signatures. If a Dean approves an agreement, the Dean can elect to sign or not (e.g. due to timing/logistics); although if a Dean elects not to sign, the International Relations Manager stills need indication of approval (e.g. email or signed cover letter).

Once the UW–Madison and the foreign partner agree on a final version of the agreement, proposing faculty and staff should ask partners to sign first, then seek any school/college signatures, and return all partially signed documents to the International Agreements Specialist, who will seek the final signature and stamp from the relevant person authorized to sign on behalf of UW–Madison.

Note: UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements.

It is UW-Madison’s preference that the partner signs first, the International Division’s International Relations Manager will retain an original hardcopy for campus and return the remaining original hardcopies to the proposing faculty or staff to send to the partner. If UW-Madison signs first (not preferred), the proposing faculty or staff will send the UW-signed documents to the partner for signatures and is responsible for obtaining a fully executed original hardcopy for campus files.

The International Relations Manager will create and share an electronic version of the fully executed agreement with the proposing faculty or staff.

Proposing faculty and staff should contact the International Relations Manager to discuss modifying, terminating, or renewing an agreement as well as to share the outcomes of the collaboration.


International Relations Manager, at to submit an International Agreement Development Form or if you have any questions.