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International agreements

Submitted by dandrei on Thu, 09/18/2014 - 3:33pm

We help University of Calgary faculties and departments develop and maintain their education and collaboration activities with international partners.

Submitted by dandrei on Thu, 09/18/2014 - 3:51pm


Agreements - frequently asked questions

Why is a formal institutional agreement necessary and how to develop one?

A formal institutional agreement is required to

  • Provide a framework for student/staff exchanges and research collaboration
  • Secure long-term commitment to a project
  • Gain the approval of foreign governments or to obtain third party funding
  • When an academic unit or the university as a whole is committing resources towards the achievement of international collaborative activities

If you want to initiate or renew an international linkage agreement please fill in and submit the international linkage agreement application and contact us for further information.

Note that international activities undertaken by individual faculty, staff or students of two or more institutions on their own behalf may not require a formal institutional agreement. Informal agreements may be used in such cases.

Proposals that involve major research initiatives or financial commitments should be discussed with the relevant vice-president or vice-provost at an early stage. Proposals involving graduate students must have the approval of the vice-provost of graduate education.

Finally, to keep your agreement running, note that each academic cooperation agreement (ACA) has a termination date or “sunset clause”. This date applies equally to ACAs as well as any accompanying supplemental letter of agreement (SLOA). Agreements are normally signed for a period of five years. The sunset clause provides the opportunity to review the activities outlined in the agreement and decide whether to renew the agreement. ACAs also include provisions for termination of the agreement by either party.

What types of agreements exist today?

In most instances a linkage between the University of Calgary and a potential partner institution will entail the signing of an academic cooperation agreement as well as a supplemental letter of agreement.

  • An Academic Cooperation Agreement (ACA) is an umbrella agreement which provides a framework for collaboration between the parties. The ACA identifies a range of activities such as staff and student exchange, collaborative research and other mutually beneficial collaborations. It is a university wide agreement that is usually accompanied by a supplemental letter of agreement. These documents outline the broad terms and conditions for specific collaborative activities between the parties. While ACA is the generally accepted term used for University of Calgary agreements, in deference to our partners, an umbrella agreement can also be referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or sometimes Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
  • A Supplemental Letter of Agreement (SLOA) usually accompanies an ACA. It outlines the terms and conditions for a specific collaborative activity between the parties. Terms could include responsibilities of each party, schedules, budgets and sources of financing, as well as other items necessary for the efficient achievement of the activities identified. If the activities are expected to include collaborative research, issues such as confidential information, intellectual property and publication rights must also be addressed in the SLOA. An SLOA may be specific to a particular academic unit or it may be university wide. The ACA and SLOA may be combined into one document if no other activity with that institution is anticipated.

What types of academic programs are offered through partnerships or collaborative degree programs?

Some international linkage agreements outline terms for academic degree programs to be offered in conjunction with a post- secondary institution(s) and/or corporate entity/entities abroad. These academic programs offered through partnerships are also called collaborative degree programs.

Upon completion of the requirements as described in the agreement, participating students are awarded the relevant University of Calgary degree. A certain number of courses are normally taught by University of Calgary approved instructors from the partner institution. Upon successful completion of those courses students are granted advanced standing into the designated University of Calgary degree program.

Operational Variables

  • In some instances, the entire program is offered abroad. Sometimes, students start the program at their home institution completing the remaining courses at the University of Calgary
  • Students in some collaborative degree programs are funded by a third party. The third party is often the employer of the sponsored students with a vested interest in the students’ successful completion of the program. The funder/sponsor may or may not be an additional signator to the agreement

What are the University of Calgary policies and procedures for establishing international linkages and academic programs offered through partnerships?

The international travel policy and policy on international linkage agreements outline the responsibilities of University of Calgary employees and students when conducting such activities.

Note that the provost is the designated signator and the only one required to sign international agreements at the University of Calgary. The president signs agreements only in exceptional circumstances. Under specific circumstances, additional signatures may be added, from the vice-provost (graduate education) and/or relevant deans.

For more information please contact us at or at +1.403.220.7702.