Guidelines on Engineering International Affairs
Procedures for Agreement Development, Renewal and Approval, and Best Practices for Hosting International Delegations
Internationalization in higher education gives our students the opportunity to realize their rights and responsibilities to improve the world for us all. It encourages all to respect differences and diversity, and to take actions in our lives and communities in a responsible manner.
The Faculty of Engineering aims to raise the international profile of Waterloo Engineering by developing and managing engineering exchange programs, increasing graduate student mobility opportunities, promoting international research agreements, and hosting international delegations. The Faculty encourages grass roots international connections, hoping to expand on professor-to-professor relationships to further enhance the international mobility opportunities for our students and faculty members.
This document was prepared for the efficient and consistent operation of Engineering International Affairs through a clear workflow process. This workflow is intended to streamline and provide clarity about the roles various individuals and offices play in the agreement approval process, in the Faculty of Engineering, and at the University. This document is shared with Waterloo International for alignment with their workflow process, and shared within the Faculty of Engineering for internal use.
ACGS: Associate Chair, Graduate Studies
AD: Associate Dean
ADC: Associate Dean, Co-operative Education and Professional Affairs
ADG: Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
ADR: Associate Dean, Research and External Partnerships
ADTSE: Associate Dean, Teaching & Student Experience
ADU: Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
AVPI: Associate Vice President, International
CAD: The Chairs and Associate Deans Committee (Engineering)
Chair: Chair of the Department or Director of the School
Co-op: Co-operative Education
Coordinator: A regular faculty member who initiates an MOU or a mobility agreement
Dean: The Dean of Engineering
Dir,FANS: Director, Funding Agencies and Non-Profit Affairs
GSPA: Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
IRM: International Relations Manager
MIR&P: Manager, International Research & Partnerships
MOU: Memorandum of Understanding
PI: Principal Investigator
VPRI: Vice President, Research and International
WI: Waterloo International
1. Memorandum of Understanding
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement between two or more parties. It is a formal document but often legally non-binding. It serves as an indication of the willingness of the parties to explore partnership opportunities. The MOU serves as the starting point for negotiations because it defines the scope and purpose of the exploration.
An MOU can be based on academic programmes, research activities, exchange of faculty and university staff, exchange of students, and exchange of non-confidential information, including the results of teaching or research collaboration. One MOU may lead to one, or multiple legally binding contracts or agreements.
1.1 Academic PROGRAM Based MOU
An MOU based on academic programmes is a statement of cooperation to formally acknowledge an institutional partnership and the intent to explore and promote various academic links. These MOUs may impact research, scholarship, graduate studies, and so on. However, this type of MOU is based predominantly on academic programmes. If the proposed MOU involves multiple faculties, and institutional international talent mobility (e.g., faculty mobility, undergraduate student exchange, research, and co-op placement), then WI would lead the response.
The Coordinator, who is a regular faculty member in the Faculty of Engineering, is recommended to follow these steps to initiate an academic program based MOU.
- Contact the ADTSE and discusses the proposed partnership with the ADTSE.
- Complete the International partnership request form online. (https://uwaterloo.ca/international/international-agreements/partnership-request-form).
- Submit the form to Waterloo International.
- The ADTSE facilitates the consultation, negotiation, and signing process that involves Engineering.
1.2 Research based MOU
A research-based MOU is a statement of cooperation to formally acknowledge a partnership and the intent to explore and promote various research links. These MOUs are multifaceted, and they allow for exploration of both mobility and research activities. Areas of cooperation include collaborative academic programs, joint research activities, exchange of researchers, exchange of non-confidential information (including the results of teaching or research collaboration), and the like. These non-binding MOUs do not normally have any financial commitments connected to research grants or contracts. They are managed by the ADR in Engineering, who coordinates their development and approvals.
If you (as the Coordinator) are initiating a MOU of this kind, a discussion should take place with the ADR prior to contacting the Director, Funding Agencies and Non-Profit Sponsors for the Proposal for International Research Partnership Agreement form. This form is not available online because the Office of Research prefers some preliminary discussion with the Coordinator prior to request submissions.
2. Undergraduate Mobility Agreements
2.1 STUDENT MOBILITY Agreement
A student mobility agreement is a bilateral or multilateral agreement that defines the exchange of students between or amongst the partners. This type of agreement supports international academic activities, work-integrated learning, research, etc. A student mobility agreement is initiated, assessed, and approved following this procedure:
2.2 Joint Academic Program Agreement
A bilateral agreement with a university partner defines and facilitates students’ academic progress toward a joint or dual degree. Joint academic program models are defined by the number of years that students attend each institution (e.g., 2+2 or 3+1+1). These joint undergraduate degree agreements normally follow the procedure below.
2.3 International Visiting Undergraduate Students (IVUS)
From time-to-time undergraduate students from international institutions may request to come to Waterloo to complete a research term, or the like, under the supervision of a regular faculty member. These requests are handled case by case. Any regular faculty member wishing to invite and host a visiting scholar on campus has a number of required steps to complete prior to the visit being approved.
For visiting international undergraduate student, a formal appointment will need to be made for them as a visiting scholar. This must be reviewed for immigration determination, by Frances Hannigan, Senior Consultant, Immigration & Visa Services, before a letter of appointment can be sent.
Prospective hosts are strongly encouraged to check with their departments to begin visiting scholar invitations and documentation. The approval procedure is illustrated below.
Note: Undergraduate students who wish to come take courses are only able to do so through an active exchange agreement (see 2.1).
3. Graduate Mobility Agreements
3.1 Cotutelle Agreement
A cotutelle agreement is a bilateral agreement that enables a graduate student, normally at doctoral level, to take courses and conduct research at both institutions. The graduate student is jointly supervised, and the student receives two degrees upon completion of the degree requirements of both institutions. Detailed information about cotutelle agreements is available on the GSPA website: https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-postdoctoral-affairs/future-students/international-students/international-agreements-and-sponsorships/dual-phd-degrees-cotutelle
The engineering internal review and approval process is as follows.
1. Intent to form a cotutelle agreement form - approval:
2. Cotutelle agreement:
3. Student online application must be submitted and approved:
3.2 International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS)
International Visiting Graduate Students (IVGS) do not require international agreements. IVGS is managed by GSPA. Please follow the instructions on the GSPA website: https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-postdoctoral-affairs/visiting-and-exchange-students/international-visiting-graduate-students-ivgs
The engineering internal review and approval process is a two step process, as indicated below.
4. Letter of invitation approval:
5. IVGS approval form:
6. Online application must be submitted and approved:
4. Visiting Scholars (Faculty)
International Visiting Scholars (faculty) working in areas of mutual interest are approved on a case-by-case basis by individual departments or schools. They should be initiated and hosted by regular faculty members. Scholars are normally responsible for their travel and living costs, Waterloo's mandatory health insurance plan, and any other miscellaneous costs. Engineering faculty members who are interested in hosting international visiting scholars should begin with contacting their Department Chairs or School Directors.
5. STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
A strategic partnership agreement formally acknowledges and deepens an international partnership and defines collaborative support and joint academic activities.
6. Support letter, letter of intent, endorsement, information agreement
Regular engineering faculty members who require support letters, letters of intent, endorsement, information agreements, or the like, which involve international institutions, are strongly encouraged to contact the Chair of the Department first before contacting the Dean for assistance.
7. Research Agreement with Financial Commitment
The ADR reviews and approves research grant applications and contract proposals that have associated funding. The (international) partnership agreements specify common fields of joint research themes and activities, which may involve mobility of researchers, lecturers, workshops, and documentation exchange.
International research partnership agreements with funding are administered by the Office of Research. Contact Manager, International Research & Partnerships) to begin the process. MIR&P will then provide the Principal Investigator (PI) with the Proposal for International Research Partnership Agreement form. The normal procedure is illustrated as follows.
8. CO-OP OPPORTUNITIES
International co-op opportunities do not require formal agreements. At this point, there are no bilateral internship-only or co-op only agreements. The co-op opportunities can be arranged between the potential employers and co-op education as per the co-operative education process for any employer. Interested employers can be directed to Hire Waterloo (https://uwaterloo.ca/hire/).
The hybrid agreements involving co-operative education may be driven by WI. WI will contact the Faculty of Engineering to confirm Engineering’s interest in participation. Draft agreements involving Engineering will be reviewed by the appropriate Associate Deans (Engineering) and signed off by the Dean of Engineering, if applicable.
OTHER INFORMATION related to INTERNATIONAL agreement development and approval
Renewal of agreements
Renewal of agreements that involve the Faculty of Engineering follow the same guidelines as those indicated in the respective sections above.
Please direct immigration questions to Frances Hannigan, Immigration Specialist. (firstname.lastname@example.org
WI changed its processes (in 2019) to allow for various types of inputs for partnership requests. WI accepts requests through the International partnership request form on their website: https://uwaterloo.ca/international/international-agreements/partnership-request-form.
WI also accepts requests by email, phone call, etc. WI then completes an internal assessment of the request to confirm whether the leadership of the partnership should fall to WI, and whether it fits the institutional priorities. The assessment also ensures that the tool being proposed is the most appropriate. For example, someone might suggest an MOU, but a different agreement type might accomplish the same objective.
WI will contact the Administrative Assistant to the Associate, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, for direction to the most appropriate Engineering contact, or the Dean (Engineering) directly, to confirm Engineering’s interest in participating in any agreement type that is stewarded by WI. Draft agreements involving Engineering will be reviewed by the appropriate Associate Dean (Engineering) prior to execution.
Hosting International Delegations by the faculty of ENGINEERING (ADI, May 2020)
- Visits to individual faculty members or departments or schools may be led by the individuals or units themselves.
- Requests to Engineering for hosting international delegations may start with the online Delegation Visit Request form (https://uwaterloo.ca/engineering/international-0/delegation-visit-request). You are welcome to contact the Administrative Assistant to the Associate, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (https://uwaterloo.ca/engineering/about/people/group/26 ) for assistance.
- New exploratory visits by international entities are coordinated by one or more of the Associate Deans ADGSP, ADTSE and the ADR offices until the intentions of the visitors are clear.
- Faculty of Engineering hosts are recommended to follow the best practices developed by Waterloo International as follows.
Best Practices When Hosting an International Delegation (WI, March 2020)
- Identify a lead contact for the visit
- Formally accept or decline the visit
- Set expectations in advance of the meeting
- Including media – Photographs, use of social media
- Ensure a clear agenda is provided in advance of the meeting
- Pay attention to international cultural customs
- Review and consider best practices/guidelines with the UW unit responsible for hosting formalities around (such as gift giving etiquette, timing of meetings, communication, language, flag protocol, order of precedence)
- Be well organized
- Consider things such as food, gifts, transportation on or off campus, photography, seating plans and name cards, presentations.
- Provide guests with information concerning travel to UW
- Help arrange parking, transportation to/from airport, hotels in Waterloo, campus map, etc.
- Check in with meeting participants the day before to ensure everyone is confirmed
- Plan for contingencies
- Make Guests feel welcome
Hosting International Delegations by waterloo international (WI, March 2020)
- Visits to individual faculties, departments or academic support units are led by the unit themselves.
- Waterloo International’s International Relations Managers (IRMs) can provide advice on best practices or can review visit plans, but do not act as a lead host unless approval is obtained.
- Waterloo International takes the lead on any institutional-level visit to the University of Waterloo
Note: not all delegation requests are accepted (WI accepts about 1/3 of the requests WI receives), if not accepted, an individual unit or faculty could still host a visit. Please give WI at least 2 weeks notice, though more notice is appreciated, typically they are notified months in advance of a visit. If something unexpected happens, please still reach out to WI.
- To ensure that visitors are appropriately hosted, any time an executive level visitor or delegation (e.g., a Vice-President, President or equivalent from another university, an ambassador or Consul General, a senior international government official) comes to the University of Waterloo, WI takes the lead.
Note: not all such requests are accepted.
Other Resources (WI March 2020)
- International Cultural Customs
- Government of Canada – Check list for Organizing Special Events
- Canadian Flag Etiquette
- Diplomatic Protocols
- Office of Protocol – Canada:
- Canadian Order of Precedence:
- Office of Protocol – Canada:
- Ontario International Relations and protocol: