Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Definition: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is used to show intent of collaboration without yet commiting to specific activities. It does not, technically, represent a binding agreement but often signals the intention of working towards one.

The process for development and approval of an MoU has recently changed.

Please read the details about this process here. Any enquiries should be directed to the International Affairs Team in the Marketing, Recruitment and International Office.

Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)

Definition: A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is the formal document agreed by the University and the partner institution(s). It sets out the responsibilities, obligations and rights of each party, governs the formal relationship between the institutions and provides the framework within which programmes of study are approved, delivered and reviewed. It is a legally binding document. 
  • All MoAs should be signed by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor or nominee. Our Staff will co-ordinate the Principal’s signature on your behalf. Signed MoAs are retained by the Academic Collaborations Office.
  • MoA templates are available which, as well as the standard 'boiler-plate' clauses required for each agreement, provide guidelines on the main roles and responsibilities to be considered and agreed with a partner institution. There is a range of issues which will need to be addressed in the MoA and the template will need to be modified to accommodate the specifics of a partnership. No two are the same and each will have its own peculiarities, and so its own inherent risks.  However, the following issues will always be of paramount importance:
    • who the University is contracting with.
    • for how long, and how can the University terminate the agreement early, if necessary.
    • who is doing what.
    • who is paying what and by when.
    • what standards (such as academic, health and safety, regulatory and legal) must the parties meet and can the agreement be terminated if they are not met.
  • It is important that the responsibilities of each party are clearly communicated to the relevant staff and to students.
  • The School/RI, in conjunction with the College Business Development Manager, is responsible for drafting the MoA. Staff in the Academic Collaborations Office can provide guidance and support in reviewing draft agreements. The near final draft of the MoA should be reviewed by the Head of College.


Marketing, Recruitment & International Office, in liaison with the Academic Collaborations Office, administers another category of agreement which outlines scholarship (or fee discount) arrangements and are linked to student recruitment. Given the financial commitment, these are normally referred to as MoAs and require the explicit support of the relevant Head of College. In some cases such arrangements may involve “double counting” of credits.  For example, the students’ home institution may issue a separate award based on the credit obtained at the University.  If the latter is the case, advice should be obtained from the relevant International Officer or the Academic Collaborations Office.


Template Agreements

The main types of Agreements covering learning and teaching collaborative arrangements are described below.  A number of templates have been developed.

  • Study Abroad Agreement   
  • Student Exchange Agreement - Non-EU   
  • Student Exchange Agreement - ERASMUS   
  • Memorandum of Understanding

Further guidance on these are available from Recruitment & International Office.

  • Memorandum of Agreement (Joint Award - Taught)
  • Memorandum of Agreement (Joint Award - Research)
  • Memorandum of Agreement (Double Award - Taught)
  • Memorandum of Agreement (Double Award - Research)
  • U21 PhD Agreement (Joint Award)
  • Provision of Services Agreement (for teaching services)

Further guidance on these is available from the Academic Collaborations Office.

Further information on the main forms of agreements is outlined below.