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Establishing a Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a formal, written agreement between two or more parties that establishes a partnership. The University of Chicago has active MOUs with universities and institutions both in the United States and around the world. Each active MOU serves a specific purpose - visiting scholar exchanges, student exchanges, resource sharing, etc. - depending on the needs of the person or entity initiating the agreement. Please note that unless an MOU affirmatively states the parties do not intend to be legally bound by its terms it will generally be considered a binding agreement.   

If you are interested in establishing an agreement with an outside university or institution, please review the steps outlined below and contact UChicago Global at global@uchicago.edu to assist with the process. Keep in mind that MOUs should not be used solely to establish goodwill between two institutions; they should serve a specific purpose. 

Follow These Steps:

Define a Purpose

Determine the purpose and the details of the agreement you wish to establish. For example, with which institution do you wish to partner? What kind of partnership would you like (i.e. student exchange, resource sharing, visiting faculty, etc.)? How long should the agreement last? Should the agreement apply to a single department or include the entire Division, School, or University? Having answers to such questions helps determine if an MOU that fits your specifications already exists.

Determine if an MOU already exists

The University of Chicago has agreements with universities around the world. Perhaps your needs are already addressed in an existing and active agreement. Before starting work on a new MOU, contact UChicago Global at global@uchicago.edu to determine if an MOU that fits your specifications already exists.

Draft an MOU

In partnership with the university or institution, write an agreement that fulfills the needs of what you hope to accomplish. Simultaneously, contact UChicago Global at global@uchicago.edu to make the office aware of your intentions and to see what support is available.

Use this template to write an MOU:


Once the agreement is written, UChicago Global will facilitate review by the Office of Legal Counsel and any other relevant units, divisions or schools. Please email your agreement to UChicago Global at global@uchicago.edu to start the evaluation process. The evaluation process takes between 2-4 weeks. MOUs must go through this process to ensure that both the relationship with the outside entity and the agreement itself is consistent with the missions and values of the University. If the language in the MOU requires alteration, a staff person from UChicago Global will contact you to discuss recommendations. The unit or department is responsible for notifying the external university or institution of any changes to the agreement.


When the text of the agreement is finalized, it must be signed by the Provost of the University and the comparable party in the outside university or institution before it is considered active. UChicago Global will provide support in obtaining the Provost's signature and the unit will be responsible for obtaining the outside party's signature. 

Submit executed MOU to UChicago Global

After the agreement is signed by both parties, a copy of the executed MOU must be submitted to UChicago Global as a record. Please send an e-copy of the executed agreement to UChicago Global at global@uchicago.edu.