Types of Collaboration

Active collaboration drives effective partnerships

The university’s first International Strategic Plan was approved by the IU Trustees in 2008. This plan and subsequent refinements have been enormously successful. Among its key priorities are an increase in the number of IU students studying abroad, a selective and diverse increase in international students at IU, the development of partnerships with top-ranked foreign institutions of higher education and research, and a focus on pursuing all of these goals in the context of 30 priority countries.

Partnerships with institutions of higher education, organizations, and governments around the world play an increasingly important role to advance IU as a global university. The development of partnerships is typically a longer-term process, one that requires a sustained commitment to identify areas of mutual interest for collaboration. The following concise guide of common collaborative activities can help IU faculty and staff assess the feasibility of certain activities before proposing an agreement.

What is a partnership? A partnership involves active collaboration on concrete, sustainable activities that are of mutual benefit to IU and the partner.

Types of Collaboration

Undergraduate Exchange Programs

Exchange programs for undergraduates should, foremost, be tuition neutral. IU students pay their regular tuition and mandatory fees to IU. Those costs are waived for incoming exchange students. It is, therefore, imperative that equity in exchange participation be maintained over a three-year period. 

Participants from the partner university must apply and be admitted to Indiana University as non-degree students. They must meet all standard admissions requirements, including English language proficiency. During their stay at IU, students must maintain full time enrollment (min. 12 credit hours per semester).

Questions to consider:

  • Who is responsible for the administration of the exchange program?
  • Is the partner a peer institution that complements the academic strengths of IU?
  • What is the anticipated demand for the program?
  • Does the partner operate on a similar academic calendar?
  • Does the partner have services and resources to host international students?
  • Does the partner offer a sufficient number of courses in English each semester?
  • Are there foreign language requirements to participate in the program?
  • What specific courses are transferrable?
  • How much will the program cost participants?
  • Is on-campus housing available, or is housing assistance provided?
  • Are there known or potential safety and security issues in the host country or city?
  • What is the process by which students will be selected for the program?
  • What are the admissions requirements and processes?
  • What are the minimum academic requirements for program participants (e.g. credit hours per semester)?

Graduate Exchange Programs

Exchange programs for graduate students may be configured in one of two ways:

  • Non-degree students enrolled full-time in courses
  • Visiting research scholars

The first category follows the requirements for undergraduate exchanges. Students must maintain full time enrollment (min. 8 credit hours each semester).

The second category generally follows the requirements for faculty exchange programs. Visiting research scholars may enroll in or audit one or two courses as long as such courses are not the primary purpose of their visit. Scholars that intend to enroll in courses for credit must apply to the University Graduate School's Continuing Non-Degree Program and must also pay application fees, international services fees, credit hour fees, and mandatory fees. Scholars that intend to audit courses should review the registration instructions for audit-only students through the Student Central on Union.

Faculty Exchange Programs

Academic units at IU may seek approval for faculty exchange programs with  current or prospective partners.

Questions to consider:

  • Who is responsible for the administration of the exchange program?
  • What is the anticipated demand for the program?
  • What is the length of the exchange program (one month, one semester)?
  • What is the process to nominate a scholar?
  • Is the home institution or the participant responsible for certain expenses (airfare, housing, meals)?
  • Will participants receive any financial support from the host institution?
  • What are participants expected to do during their stay at the host institution?

Collaborative International Degrees (Dual and Joint)

Collaborative international degrees pose reputational risks to Indiana University and, therefore, must be carefully considered. Such degrees are typically approved only with primary partners or with leading peer institutions that have parallel strengths in a particular field of study.

Academic units at IU may propose dual degrees by which students earn two degrees, one from IU and one from the partner. Most current dual degree programs are non-reciprocal, meaning that students from the partner institution complete a certain number of courses at home and transfer to IU to complete the remaining degree requirements for both IU and the partner institution. The partner institution, at its discretion, may accept the credits that the student earns at IU and confer a separate degree. Reciprocal dual degrees tend to be less common because they require careful assessment of student demand, foreign language requirements, residency requirements, and tuition and fee rates.

There are three options for developing collaborative international degrees:

  • Concurrent undergraduate degrees: Transfer credits from the partner institution fulfill a portion of the requirements for the IU degree. Students must complete at least 50% of all credit hours required for the IU degree while in residence at IU.
  • Integrated undergraduate-graduate degree programs: Students complete the remaining requirements for the undergraduate degree at the partner institution and the requirements for a master's degree at IU. Specified courses may count toward both degrees.
  • Concurrent graduate degrees: Students are enrolled concurrently in graduate degree programs, typically at the master's level, and specified courses may count toward degrees conferred by the partner institution and IU. 

Joint degrees involve collaboration by an IU academic unit and a partner institution to offer a degree program that neither would have the resources to offer by itself but which can be offered when combining expertise and instruction. These programs usually involve a two-way flow of students and substantial collaboration between faculty members. Upon completion of the degree program, both institutions' names would appear on the diploma.