Memoranda of Understanding

International Memoranda of Understanding

Definitions and Guidelines


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a statement of goodwill between universities that demonstrates strong interest from a group within McGill to form a partnership with another academic institution to generate reciprocal benefits. Although typically stemming from one particular academic unit, potential benefits for other McGill University academic units should also be considered.

An MOU remains in force for a period of five (5) years and provides an umbrella for activities such as faculty, staff and graduate student exchanges, joint research activities and publications, and participation in seminars and academic meetings. An MOU may have appendices that relate to non-recurring, specific, funded activities, but these appendices are not legally binding and do not commit McGill to ongoing expenditures. Particularly fruitful collaborations may lead to more formal and binding agreements. MOUs are reviewed and recommended for signature by the Associate Director (International). The process is administratively light and can usually be carried out in a short time. The MOUs are signed for McGill by the Associate Provost (International). It is worth emphasizing that an MOU is not a warranty of success with funding agencies, and that most research and exchange activities involving McGill faculties happen without such an agreement in place.


Faculty members who propose that McGill sign an MOU with another institution should contact anna.piotrowska [at] (Anna Piotrowska) and provide her with a completed and signed Microsoft Office document icon MOU Proposal Form.

Once a grant or contract has been awarded, a Partnership Agreement may be developed between all partners, recognizing among other things the role and responsibilities of each, and the budget allocations foreseen over time in the context of a specific project. The Office of Sponsored Research can answer questions concerning these of agreements and help researchers meet University and project requirements.

A Student Exchange Agreement covers bilateral exchanges of students for periods of one semester to one academic year. These agreements fall under the Office of International Education, the unit mandated for approving such agreements. A list of existing student exchange agreements can be found here.