Northeastern University (NU) encourages colleges, schools, departments, and faculty to initiate new international programs to foster NU’s mission for 100% student participation in “going global.” In order to create new international study partnerships that align with NU’s goals and international mission, all new program proposals must be thoroughly researched and assessed by the Global Experience Office (GEO) and approved by various constituents at NU. GEO is committed to providing the best possible global experience for students and faculty at NU and ask anyone who is proposing a new partnership to carefully consider the rationale for the program and thoroughly read through the following information related to new program development.

Getting Started

To begin the proposal process for a new international study partnership, the faculty or staff member proposing the new program should complete the International Study Partnership Proposal Form and send it directly to the Global Experience Office for review. The College Dean and Department Chair should also be copied on this e-mail.

It is also recommended that the program initiator take a look at NU’s current partnerships to see what opportunities are already available for students and faculty. Please refer to the document NU International Partnerships prior to contacting GEO.

For a detailed timeline of the program development process, see below for the steps that outline the program approval process from the partnership proposal to the implementation of the program at NU. You may also refer to the Timeline for Establishing New International Study Partnerships to gain a better sense of the proposal process. Please be advised that GEO will serve as the main contact and point of reference throughout the partnership approval process.

Types of Partnerships

  • Exchange: An exchange partnership is an agreement with a partner institution that involves direct exchange of students to and from the partner institution and NU. Typically, NU will send one student to the partner institution in exchange for receiving one student from the partner institution to study at NU. Participants will enroll as exchange students at the partner university but will pay their tuition at NU for that term. This type of partnership is ideal for NU as it creates a stronger relationship between the two institutions and promotes a deep cultural immersion for NU students.
    • College-Level: A college-level agreement is a partnership between a particular college of NU and an international institution. In this type of agreement, mobility of students is limited to the specified college or department at NU and at the partner institution.
    • University-Wide: A university-wide agreement is a partnership that has been established between NU and the international institution. University-wide agreements allow for the direct exchange or study of students to and from any college or department at NU, providing the agreement doesn’t specify otherwise.
  • Study: A study partnership is an agreement between two institutions that allows the direct study and enrollment of NU students at the partner institution. The program is similar to exchange programs in duration, independence, and academics, but does not bring international students to NU.

Factors to Consider

When evaluating an international study partnership, the Global Experience Office will consider the following factors:

  • The academic standing and accreditation of the potential partner (International and national ranking, etc.)
  • Academic calendar for the partner institution (Available terms of study, semester start and end dates, etc.)
  • Course offerings for NU students at partner institution (Course selections, language options, etc.)
  • Academic opportunities available to NU students at partner institution that may not be available to students on the Northeastern campus (Research or study opportunities, internship options, etc.)
  • The geographical location and campus access to nearby city or town (Size of city, public transportation options, etc.)
  • Resources available to students at partner institution (Housing options, on-campus support, etc.)
  • Evidence for student interest in partner institution (Target numbers in given academic year, student inquiries, etc.)
  • Financial considerations (Scholarships, grant funding, etc.)
  • Safety concerns (High risk-locations, travel advisory, etc.)

The Evaluation Process 

Prior to signing any agreements for an international study partnership, GEO will thoroughly evaluate and assess a partnership, being sure that it is beneficial to both NU and the international partner institution. The GEO team will take the following steps in conducting an evaluation when a faculty or staff member proposes a new international study partnership:

  • Partnership Proposal: A request to initiate a new international partnership or study abroad program may be made to Northeastern University’s (NU) Global Experience Office (GEO), by a faculty member, department, campus organization, or initiated directly by GEO. The program initiator must complete the International Study Partnership Proposal Form and send to GEO to begin this process.
  • Collaborative Research: Once the program initiator meets with a representative from GEO to discuss the proposal and the details of the proposed partnership, GEO, in collaboration with various constituents on campus, will begin researching the host institution and gathering the necessary data to make informed decisions on the partnership and how it will benefit students at NU. This process may involve international site visits, meetings, or Skype calls with the proposed partner institution in order to gain an understanding of the partner institution’s priorities, challenges, and opportunities.
  • Program Assessment: After researching the partner institution, GEO will come together with the program initiator and any additional constituents on campus who have worked on developing the proposed partnership to discuss its strengths and weaknesses. At this time, GEO will make an informed decision regarding the proposed partnership and will decide to either recommend or deny the proposal for a new international study partnership.
  • Approval or Denial: If NU decides to recommend this partner institution as a formal international study partner, GEO will then notify the host institution of this decision and will begin discussing the terms of the partnership. If NU decides that the partnership is not a viable opportunity for both institutions, GEO will notify the partner institution of this decision and will lay out the details explaining why the partnership is not recommended at this time.
  • Preparation of Agreements: After approving the new international study partnership, GEO will work with various NU constituents to prepare the agreements between NU and the partner institution. This process may involve detailed negotiations among the partner university, GEO, and NU’s Office of General Counsel (OGC). Once the agreements are drafted, reviewed, and signed, the proposed agreement will be made official and a copy will be shared with the necessary constituents at NU and with the partner institution.
  • Program Implementation: Once the final agreements are signed, the GEO team members will work on the details for full implementation of the program. This process includes gathering application materials, creating a program page on the website, marketing to students, and, ultimately, student mobility. Please note that this process can take 6 months to one year from the time of the program proposal to the mobility of students to and from the partner institution.
  • Periodic Assessment: In order to continue the development of strong partnerships, GEO will evaluate and assess each program or partnership after a period of 3-5 years and prior to the renewal of any agreements. This process may consist of an on-site evaluation, student feedback, and consistent communication between NU and the partner institution. It is important that NU continuously works with the partner institution to provide the best opportunities for students to support their academic and professional career.

*If NU decides that the partnership is strategic and necessary for both institutions, then GEO will implement the next steps in establishing an international study agreement. If NU determines that the partnership does not benefit the students and faculty at the University, the partnership will not be pursued at this time and GEO will work with the staff or faculty initiator to begin researching alternative international opportunities and partners.



For any questions regarding international study partnerships, please contact either Garrett Margliotti, Senior Associate Director of Students and Program Development, at 617-373-8781 or at or the Global Experience Office, at 617-373-5276 or at for further information or to schedule an appointment.