International Partnerships

SDSU's robust partnerships with institutions around the globe support the diverse global education needs of our students, faculty, and staff. While international partnerships begin with conversations between individuals, International Affairs ensures that the relationships developed are clearly defined and legitimized at the institutional level to protect all parties involved.

In accordance with the CSU International Agreements Policy, International Affairs serves as SDSU’s central unit overseeing international activities and agreements. Central oversight is required to ensure that:

  • there is a clear benefit to the CSU;
  • they are a part of the university's overall mission to educate the citizens of California;
  • all international activities are being implemented and monitored consistently; and
  • risk management considerations have been assessed and appropriately addressed.

These provisions apply regardless of whether there is an agreement with another party related to the international activity.

All international programs and partnerships require approval through International Affairs. Agreements are one step in development of a successful partnership and our staff is here to guide SDSU stakeholders through the process.

Approval Process, Signature Authority, and Preferred Language

International agreements must be initiated by an SDSU employee through International Affairs. Once an agreement is approved at the campus level it will be submitted to the CSU Office of the Chancellor for review and approval.

International agreements can only be signed by the SDSU President. Administrators and faculty members are not authorized to sign agreements on behalf of SDSU or their academic unit.

Agreements must comply with CSU legal requirements, which is why it’s important to bring our office into the conversation early in the process. Allowing our team to negotiate the terms of the agreement will avoid delays in the approval process.

Agreement Types

Agreements fall into one of two categories: non-binding, of an exploratory nature or legally binding for a specific purpose.

SDSU refers to non-binding exploratory agreements as International Memorandum of Understanding (I-MoU). I-MoUs are often the starting point for additional agreements that outline specific activities. An I-MoU is a written agreement that does not legally bind the parties to action; rather, both parties agree to explore the possibility of future collaborations which may include:

  • Exchange of academic personnel for teaching and/or research
  • Exchange of students for short-term projects and research collaborations
  • Cooperative development of academic programs such as student exchange or short-term study abroad, and virtual programs including Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)
  • Development of joint scientific and/or technological research projects
  • Any other activity of mutual interest regarding academic or scientific and technological research matters

The SDSU I-MoU also provides for the mobility of scholars, staff, and qualified students in compliance with relative immigration regulations and SDSU policies pertaining to J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

The development and implementation of specific activities carried out as a result of an I-MoU must be separately negotiated and stated in a separate written agreement.

Approval and Timeline

I-MoUs must be developed and approved by International Affairs and signed by the SDSU President. To begin the process, please submit a proposal. Upon receipt, we will contact you to set up a brief meeting to discuss the potential partnership. Agreements using the SDSU template can usually be signed within six weeks.

View Sample I-MoU

Specific agreements involve the commitment of SDSU resources and are legally binding. They identify the objectives, conditions and ways of execution, financial support, intellectual property rights, and administrative responsibility of the parties.

Examples of international partnerships and activities that require approval and a specific, legally binding agreement include:

  • Reciprocal student exchanges
  • International scholarship or grant programs such as Erasmus+
  • Study abroad and faculty led programs
  • Credit bearing internship placements abroad or virtually with a non-U.S. entity
  • Degree programs offered abroad
  • Commission based recruitment of international students
  • Any other activity that involves the commitment of SDSU resources

Transborder field trips and non-credit academic related international travel always require approval to ensure compliance with risk management and insurance requirements. Depending on the activity, an agreement may also be required. For more information on the approval process for faculty led programs visit our Faculty Resources page. Agreements required for these programs are built into the development process.

Approval and Timeline

International partnerships and agreements must be initiated by an SDSU employee, reviewed and approved by International Affairs, and approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and SDSU President. The timeline to approve varies by type and complexity of the proposed relationship. Please refer to the glossary of international agreements for additional information.

International partnerships and agreements must be initiated by an SDSU employee, reviewed and approved by International Affairs, and approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and SDSU President. The process and timeline to develop and approve new international partnerships and agreements varies by type and complexity of the proposed relationship. For example, evaluation of a new bilateral student exchange program and agreement will consider many factors including course articulation and input from multiple stakeholders, which can take up to one year to complete. Alternatively, an agreement using the SDSU I-MoU template can generally be approved within six weeks.

Please use the form below to propose a new partnership and contact us at [email protected] early in the process so we may assist you in reaching your goals.

Propose A New International Partnership

SDSU International Agreements and Exchange Consortium Memberships

Current International Agreements (MOUs & Bilateral Exchanges)

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

California State University International Programs (CSU-IP)

Membership in International Education Associations

American Council on Education (ACE)

Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)

Fulbright Association

IC3 Consortium

Institute of International Education (IIE)

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

The Forum on Education Abroad


To add a partnership or membership missing from the lists above, please contact us at [email protected]

Current Partners

If you are a current SDSU partner and have questions regarding our partnership please contact [email protected]