Graduate Level Exchanges

Graduate students may study overseas without an agreement, and international graduate students may come to Penn State absent an agreement. Graduate exchanges are intended to be reciprocal. In general, host institutions offer incoming visiting students a graduate assistantship, tuition waiver, or some other financial support. Costs associated with the exchange arrangement are borne by the college or campus proposing an exchange.

  • Process for graduate exchange agreements: Colleges and campuses are asked to complete an International Agreement Approval Form, seek internal approval from the dean or chancellor and send the form to Global Programs who prepare a draft agreement and coordinate the Penn State approval and signing. 
  • Financial arrangements: Generally, Penn State cannot use the tuition that the outgoing Penn State student pays to Penn State to cover the tuition for the incoming student and vice versa due to discrepancies between tuition rates. Costs of tuition and housing for graduate exchange students should be clarified in the agreement and can be handled in a number of ways, including:
    • The tuition of the incoming student is paid in full or in part by the host institution.  
    • The host institution offers the incoming graduate student a teaching or research assistantship.
    • The required application fee can be borne by the college.
  • Type of Activity: A graduate exchange agreement should clarify the type of activity for which international graduate students are coming to Penn State. Due to U.S. visa regulations, incoming graduate students must decide prior to their arrival whether they will enroll in courses or exclusively conduct research and cannot change the category once they arrive. Enrolling in courses does not preclude incoming students from conducting research.  Admission and visa requirements depend on the type of activity.
  • Enrollment Status:  Agreements should specify the status under which international students are admitted to Penn State. Incoming exchange students who will be taking courses but are not seeking a Penn State degree can be admitted either as non-degree students or on provisional-no-time-limit status.  Provisional-no-time-limit status allows students to obtain assistantships or fellowships; non-degree status does not.
  • Program Administration:  Agreements must specify the title of the individual or office responsible for administering the program at each institution.
  • Intellectual Property Agreement: Incoming graduate students who may be in a position to make, conceive, or otherwise develop technology, will be required to sign the Penn State Intellectual Property Agreement (see Policy RA11). The partner institution should be notified of Penn State’s IP policy in advance, and, if applicable, a copy of the IP agreement should be included as an appendix to the exchange agreement.