Linkage Agreements/Formal Relationships with Universities Abroad


Categories Of Agreements

GT is interested in establishing relationships with high caliber international institutions to facilitate academic exchanges and other cooperative activities. Most of these partnerships are initiated by individual faculty members. Most agreements fit into one of the below categories:

  1. Memorandum of Understanding
  2. Agreement for Bilateral Exchange
  3. Agreement for Direct Enrollment
  4. Joint/Dual Degree Program

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
This is a general statement of cooperation between the two institutions. It is typically used to establish a general relationship for cooperation between two institutions or as an initial agreement that is intended to lead to future, detailed agreements. (Click here for GT's template MoU.)

Agreement for Bilateral Exchange
This agreement facilitates a bilateral exchange between GT and the partner university. One GT student will be able to study at the host university for a full semester in exchange for one university from the partner university studying at GT for a full semester. A list of steps to follow when setting up a linkage agreement appears below. (Click here for GT's template bilateral exchange agreement.)

Agreement for Direct Enrollment
This agreement is used when the university abroad does not wish to send students to GT but is willing to host GT students who wish to study there for a semester or a year. In this case, students generally pay the fees of the host institution rather than paying GT tuition and fees. (Click here for GT's template direct enroll agreement.)

Joint/Dual Degree Program
Dual or Joint degree programs allow GT students and students of a partner university to earn two degrees simultaneously or earn one degree from both universities. GT faculty interested in establishing a dual or joint degree, or a single degree delivered abroad are advised to meet with the Vice Provost for International Initiatives and with the academic unit leadership (as appropriate to the degree desired). 


Common Factors that Determine If An Exchange Agreement Will Be Successful

Faculty wishing to enter into a student exchange agreement with an international university are urged to consider some of the following:

  1. Quality and reputation of the university abroad
    Both quality and reputation of partner universities should be very high in general and particularly in the fields of exchange if the partnership is not university-wide.

  2. The language of instruction at the university in question
    If the university offers courses in a language that is not taught at GT, then it will be difficult to make a student exchange partnership successful. Even if the courses are taught in a language that is offered at GT, consider the level of proficiency that students need to have in order to participate and whether GT is likely to have adequate students with required language skills to make the partnership viable. See the webpage of the School of Modern Languages for information on languages taught at GT.

  3. Compatibility of courses
    All students who participate in an exchange program must be full time students (i.e., enrolled the equivalent of at least 12 GT credit hours); therefore, it is best for the university abroad to have a variety of courses that would be interesting and useful to GT students.

    It is important that the partner university have courses that are compatible with courses here at GT in terms of their content. GT students will need to meet the prerequisites for the classes taught abroad, will not want to take a course over two semesters if they can take it in one semester at GT, and will need to have the appropriate content in the classes abroad to be prepared for subsequent courses at GT.

    It is also important to think about the credit system at the university abroad. Are they a semester school or are they on trimesters or quarters? If they are on trimesters or quarters, the students may not be able to get enough contact hours to make it possible to transfer credits. To get 3 credit hours for a class, the class must have at least 37.5 full hours of contact for that course. Many universities around the world do not have the same criteria for determining credits. For example, another University might assign more work outside the classroom. GT does not count homework assignments and hours spent doing work outside the classroom towards contact hours. For the exchange to be successful, the credit system of the university abroad needs to be compatible with GT's.

  4. The academic calendar
    Many universities do not have similar calendars to GT. For example, in Europe, very often the Fall semester extends into January and is therefore not a viable option for our students. It is, however, possible for students to study at these universities in the Spring. The calendar of the university abroad does not need to be exactly the same as GT's, but it does need to be compatible for at least one term per year to improve the chances of making the exchange successful.

  5. Does GT already have a partnership with another university in the same location that would serve the same academic purpose?
    GT has many partnerships with institutions all over the world. It is possible that we already have a partnership that suits the needs that you are looking to meet? If you would like to know more about our current partners, see the International Partnership Database on the website of the Office of International Education (GT login required).

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