Types of Collaborations

There are many kinds of collaborations between Penn State and international counterparts. Some require formal agreements, while others do not. The following is a brief overview of the more common types of collaborations, with links to more detailed explanations.

Graduate Level Exchanges

Graduate students can study overseas without an agreement, and international graduate students can come to Penn State absent an agreement. Graduate exchanges are intended to be reciprocal (i.e. students will be coming and going on a regular basis).  In general, host institutions will offer incoming visiting students a graduate assistantship, tuitions waiver, or some other financial support. Costs associated with the exchange arrangement are borne by the college or campus proposing an exchange.

  • Process for concluding 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. Global PRograms will provide a draft agreement and coordinate the Penn State approval and signing. (link to Section IV Approval process for Letters of Intent, Memoranda of understanding, Faculty Exchange agreements and Graduate Exchange agreements)
  • 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 because there are generally discrepancies between the tuition rates. For example, if the incoming international student is taking courses at Penn State and the outgoing Penn State graduate has completed his or her comprehensive exams (and therefore has a lower tuition rate), then the Penn State student’s tuition does not cover the costs for the incoming student. Costs for tuition (and housing) for graduate exchange students should be clarified in the agreement and can be handled in a number of ways, including the following:
  1. The tuition of the incoming student is paid in full or in part by the host institution.  
  2. The host institution offers the incoming graduate student a teaching or research assistantship.
  3. The required application fee can be borne by the college.
  • Type of Activity: A graduate exchange agreement should clarify the type of activity in which international graduate students coming to Penn State are involved. 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 student activity (research or course work).
  • 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 should 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 reduce to practice inventions 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 a copy of the IP agreement should be included as an appendix to the exchange agreement (if applicable).