MOU Process

GEO provides essential support to UNM faculty and staff by facilitating the development, revision, or renewal of a variety of international Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with institutions in other countries. We collaborate closely with faculty and units who want to pursue an international collaboration, and help processes all new main campus international mobility agreements, including contract review and signature-routing. GEO can also facilitate agreements focused on international education initiatives with higher education partners in New Mexico or other states.

For general inquiries, or assistance with initiating an international agreement, please email:

For international agreements related to healthcare please contact Cristina Beato, M.D., at the UNM Health Sciences Center (505-272-5066 |

Types Of MOUs Facilitated By GEO:

General Cooperation Agreement

Formalizes UNM’s “friendship” with the other school but does not commit the parties to do anything specific

Specific Program Agreement

Can accompany a General Cooperation agreement or stand alone.


Exchange Agreement

A common agreement that allows UNM and partner school’s students to study abroad while paying home university tuition and fees. Balance in the number of academic terms exchanged is required over the term of the agreement. Faculty/departments interested in sponsoring a student exchange agreement need to complete the student exchange program application and return it to

Articulation (“X+Y” or “shared-credit”) Agreement

Course-for-course transfer agreements between two institutions in different countries. These agreements may involve a specified set of courses that will be offered during a given term, and then transferred in bulk to the other institution. Each institution’s faculty retains complete control of its respective program. Examples: Engineering 4+1 or 3+2 yields a B.S. from the home university and an M.S. from UNM; 3+1+1 yields a BBA from the home university and an MBA or M. Accounting from UNM.

Dual Degree agreement (aka “double degree”)

A degree program that is designed and delivered by two or more partner institutions in different countries. A student receives a credential from each partner institutions.


Joint Degree Agreement

A degree program that is designed and delivered by two or more partner institutions in different countries.  A student receives a single credential endorsed by each institution.

International Guest Student Agreement

Guest students (aka Study Abroad students) pay UNM non-resident tuition and fees to take courses for 1 or 2 semesters and transfer the credits to meet degree requirements at their home university.

U.S. Partner Agreement

UNM students may participate in another school’s complementary study-abroad programs not offered by UNM and vice versa.

N.M. Partner Agreement

UNM students may participate in another New Mexico school’s complementary study-abroad programs not offered by UNM and vice versa through the New Mexico Global Education Consortium (NMGEC).

Recruiting Agent Agreement

UNM pays a percentage of net tuition to in-country recruiters of ESL and degree-seeking international students.

Country Representative Agreement

UNM hires a contractor to provide in-country recruitment, pre-admissions support, and alumni-relations services, and to promote academic collaboration and education-abroad initiatives.

Partner School’s Proposed Agreements

Partner writes first draft of an MOU and proposes it to UNM.


Each potential partner’s campus culture and internal procedures for MOU’s are unique, so there is no typical timeline to complete all of these steps. For example, a General Cooperation agreement using UNM’s template verbatim can be completed in a couple of weeks if the partner is motivated to respond promptly. At the other extreme, an Articulation agreement or even an Exchange agreement can take months of email correspondence and multiple internal reviews by each partner to develop a mutually acceptable final text. Generally speaking, if UNM’s Sponsor and the partner’s sponsor are highly engaged in the process it can be completed sooner than if the sponsors take a “hands-off” approach.

Step 1

Sponsoring UNM faculty or staff (“Sponsor”) inquires with GEO ( about a desired MOU, takes GEO’s self-survey, and brings the survey results to an exploratory meeting to discuss the potential viability of the MOU.

Step 2

If the MOU appears viable, GEO emails the Sponsor the pertinent preliminary review form (as applicable).  If the Sponsor gets all required signatures on the form, the Sponsor submits the form to GEO, which authorizes GEO to collaborate with the Sponsor on the MOU.

Step 3

GEO’s next step depends on the origin of the MOU text:
  • UNM template agreement: GEO provides the template to the Sponsor for its review and edits, if any, and refines the text internally as needed before emailing it to the potential partner for its review and edits, if any. 
  • New agreement: GEO and the Sponsor meet to discuss the essential elements of the needed MOU, and GEO develops and provides a first draft to the Sponsor.  The text is refined internally before GEO emails it to the potential partner for its review and edits, if any.
  • Partner’s template or partner’s other proposed text: GEO and the Sponsor review, discuss, and propose edits to the text as needed.  The proposed edits are refined internally before GEO emails the track-changes mark-up of the text to the potential partner.

Step 4

GEO collaborates with the Sponsor and the potential partner to produce a final text that complies with UNM Policy 2010, “Contracts Signature Authority and Review.”  This process stage may require input from the University Counsel and/or other UNM units, which usually adds days or weeks to the timeline.

Step 5

Once the text is finalized, GEO’s Contract Review Officer completes and submits a Contract Review Form (CRF) for additional signatures as needed. A fully signed CRF authorizes UNM’s signatory to sign the MOU.  Sometimes, UNM signs first, and sometimes, the partner signs first.

Step 6

GEO submits the CRF and the MOU to UNM’s signatory.  Once that signatory signs the MOU, GEO retrieves it.

Step 7

GEO will mail or scan and email the MOU to the partner and vice versa to obtain all the needed signatures.

Step 8

GEO files a hard copy of the original MOU in its office and scans and e-files it in its password-protected database.  GEO also adds the MOU to its online, publicly available database of International Partnerships.  This step ends GEO’s involvement in establishing, revising, or renewing an MOU.

Step 9

The MOU then moves to the implementation phase, as applicable (i.e., general cooperation agreements are not themselves implemented). The details of the MOU will determine which UNM units and personnel are responsible for implementing it. For example, GEO implements exchange agreements, but the Sponsor and their department personnel are primarily responsible for implementing X+Y agreements within the unit in coordination with GEO’s International Admission division.