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

2. Undergraduate Mobility Agreements


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: 

student mobility agreement workflow

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.

joint program agreement workflow

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.

IVUS workflow

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

4. Visiting Scholars (Faculty)


6. Support letter, letter of intent, endorsement, information agreement

7. Research Agreement with Financial Commitment


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 (

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.

Immigration questions

Please direct immigration questions to Frances Hannigan, Immigration Specialist. (

Waterloo International

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:

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)

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)