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Cal Poly International Partnerships


The Cal Poly International Center oversees the approval and execution of new and renewing international agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs). International agreements are entered into for the purpose of facilitating international cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit. International agreements and MOUs are established at the college/departmental level and cannot be established on an individual student basis. There are two types of agreement that may facilitate international cooperation: a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is a general document that lays the groundwork for future collaborative activity, and a Memorandum of Agreement (Agreement), which details one or more specific activities and normally includes the commitment of university resources. International agreements are those institutional affiliations between Cal Poly and partner institutions that involve the use of the University's name and may include any or all of the following:
  • Exchange of scholarly materials
  • Administration of joint research projects
  • Administration of faculty exchange
  • Administration of study abroad program (one-way to Cal Poly and/or to the partner
  • institution; students pay host institution tuition and fees)
  • Administration of student exchange (students pay home institution tuition and fees)

Types of proposal descriptions

For the purpose of this document the following definitions will be used:
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) A document that establishes a broad context for institutional cooperation and is not a legally binding document. Because an MOU does not spell out specific commitments, programs that commit university resources will require a legally binding Agreement in addition to the general MOU.
Exchange Students take classes for credit at host institution on a temporary, non-degree basis and pay tuition and fees as required by their home institutions. Both institutions will review the program annually for any imbalances in student participation and shall adjust the following year's exchange program's student ratio accordingly.
Agreement An Agreement spells out the specific arrangements for a program that commits university resources. These include Exchange Agreements, Study Abroad Agreements, Affiliate Partner agreements and any other such agreement that is legally binding.
Amendment An Amendment clarifies or expands an Agreement.
Renewal An Agreement may be renewed following approval by the Cal Poly International Programs Committee and in consultation and agreement between stakeholders at both institutions.
Coordinating Unit The college, school, department, or center at Cal Poly that has agreed to serve as the ‘host’ of the Agreement in consultation with the Cal Poly International Center.
Faculty/Staff Coordinator The representative from the Coordinating Unit who is responsible for administering the Agreement, championing the program to students, faculty and staff, and who works closely with the International Center in the proposal and renewal process. The Coordinator is responsible for submitting an annual activity report for the International Center Director and the International Programs Committee.


Cal Poly faculty members who would like to establish a new international exchange agreement with an overseas university will work with the Cal Poly International Center to initiate this process. If this is your first time initiating and establishing a new exchange program, it can be advantageous to start with a general Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to see what type of potential there can be for a future exchange program. We also encourage you to review the current international exchange partnerships on our International Partnerships webpage to familiarize yourself with the different types of exchanges that already exist at Cal Poly. This can help you understand what type of exchanges Cal Poly approves. 


Exchange programs can play a significant role in the internationalization of your college/department. Cal Poly students are offered a low-cost study abroad experience within their academic discipline, and students from the partnering university have an opportunity to study at Cal Poly.  Faculty are also generally able to participate in exchange activities, joint research, etc. The Cal Poly community is enriched by the diversity and cross-cultural understanding that exchange bring to the campus.
Exchanges operate on a reciprocal basis, where incoming international students trade seats with the Cal Poly students studying overseas. Therefore, exchanges increase the overall number of international students on campus, and give Cal Poly students the opportunity to diversify their major/minor curriculum while also establishing valuable connections in their fields overseas.
In an exchange agreement, the two universities agree, in the spirit of goodwill and reciprocity, to strengthen ties between the universities and to promote academic and cultural exchange. The exchange agreement provides a mechanism for student exchange.


The International Center requires that you consult with your dean and department head/chair about your intent to initiate a new exchange program. The support of your dean and department head/chair is critical in establishing and maintaining a thriving and successful exchange program. Once you have discussed your goals and have the support of your department/college, we highly recommend you schedule an introduction meeting with Leanna Jenkins (, Study Abroad Coordinator for Cal Poly International Exchanges, to receive guidance on how to submit a competitive proposal for a new exchange.

When you are ready to begin the process of establishing a new exchange program or MOU, select one of the buttons below to begin your proposal application. More information about each type of proposal is also included on the homepage of these applications. If you have questions regarding international agreements, or how MOUs and Exchanges differ, please contact the International Center at exchange proposal button


New exchange proposals are reviewed by the International Programs Committee on a bi-annual basis. After the deadline, all submitted proposals will be reviewed by the International Programs Committee and a determination will be made usually within one to two months. Some proposals may receive an answer right away while others may require further clarification from the proposing faculty member before a decision can be made.  
Fall Deadline NOV 01
Spring Deadline MAY 01


The International Center keeps track of all active International Exchange Agreements and their upcoming renewal dates. Staff from the International Center will contact the Faculty/Department Coordinator about a year in advance of any agreements that are approaching their expiration date. At that time, the coordinator will be invited to complete the International Exchange Renewal Form if they intend to continue the exchange partnership. The International Exchange renewal will be reviewed by the International Programs Committee, and a determination will be made approximately one to two months after the renewal application deadline. To begin the process of initiating a renewal request for either an active international exchange or a MOU, click the appropriate button below.

IE RenewalMOU Renewal


International Exchange Renewals are reviewed once per year in the spring.
Annual Deadline February 24



Prospective Exchange Students can find instructions on how to apply online on the International Exchange Programs web page for International Students. Overseas exchange coordinators should email the International Center with their list of nominated students and the students shall submit the online application according to the following deadlines:

Inbound Exchange Deadlines

Quarter Student Begins Nomination Deadline Application  Deadline
Fall February 15 March 1
Winter July 15 August 1
Spring October 15 November 1
The California State University does not allow international exchange students to study at Cal Poly who have U.S. Citizenship or dual-U.S.citizenship.

Questions about active inbound exchanges can be addressed to


Students can review current outbound International Exchange Programs and their corresponding requirements and deadlines on the International Exchange Programs webpage. Most exchange applications are due approximately six months prior to the intended departure date.

Questions about active outbound exchanges can be addressed to


The Cal Poly Study Abroad Coordinator, in cooperation with the exchange coordinators at the partner university and the Faculty Coordinator at Cal Poly, will set the eligibility requirements of the student participants. Most exchange programs require the following:
  • GPA of at least 2.5 (Cal Poly & Overall Higher Ed GPA) and not on academic probation
  • Good disciplinary standing at Cal Poly
  • Demonstrated language proficiency of the host country to be able to function well in the academic setting of their respective destinations
A full list of eligibility criteria, requirements, and program details are listed on the brochure page of each exchange program's application homepage.