Criteria and Process for Developing 2+2 and Dual Degree Programs

Academic departments interested in developing 2+2 or dual degree programs at the undergraduate level for international students from a partnering university should consult the following criteria and work with the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office for Global Engagement to develop the program. Establishing a dual degree program requires close collaboration with the faculty at the partnering institutions and U faculty should be prepared for multiple trips to the partnering institution to discuss all the details.

The following items are meant to guide the process of developing a dual degree agreement with a partnering institution:


  • Students complete the first two years of their undergraduate degree at the partnering institution and transition to the U as transfer students.
  • After completion of the undergraduate requirements for the degree at the U, the U will issue a transcript indicating the degree earned at the U with the applicable transfer credits as the University does for all transfer students. The transcript does not indicate a dual degree. It is at the discretion of the partnering institution to award a degree in addition to the degree from the U.

Developing the Program

  • As a first step in determining whether a dual-degree partnership can be implemented, U faculty members must connect with the Office of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) to evaluate the curriculum at the partnering institution to determine transfer credit completed in the first two years. Generally, at higher education institutions outside of the U.S., students take classes in their major only and do not complete general education requirements. UGS may recommend the following options:
      • Major specific courses at the partnering institution may fulfill general education requirements; for example, if students have to complete X course as part of their major, it could be evaluated to see if it can fulfill the general education requirement after evaluation by UGS. General Education courses do not have to be a one-to-one match to courses offered at the partnering institution.
      • U faculty could teach General Education courses at the partnering institution to the students who will transfer to the U either via distance education or by faculty traveling to the partnering institution. If the classes are offered in face-to-face instruction, they could be taught during the equivalent of a summer break and an intensive format or shorter duration than a full semester. 
      • The partner university may provide General Education courses taught by its faculty to the cohort of students planning to transfer to the U. In this situation, UGS and U faculty would provide oversight to ensure course content matches required courses at the U.
  •  Once it is determined that the dual degree can be implemented and prior to implementation, an agreement must be developed. The Office for Global Engagement will assist academic departments and the Office of Undergraduate Studies to develop the appropriate agreement with the partnering institution outlining all details negotiated between the institutions for the dual degree program.

 Admission and Student Services

  • Students must meet all admission requirements at the U to be enroll as transfer students.
  • There is no guarantee that students will complete their undergraduate degree in two years after transferring from the partnering institution. As with all students, time to degree completion depends on the students’ performance in courses and the number of courses completed each semester. International undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 credits per semester according to immigration regulations.
  • Degree-seeking international students enter the U.S. on an F-1 visa for which the Admissions Office issues the I-20 document that students take to the U.S. embassy to apply for the visa. There is no guarantee that a student will be issued a visa to enter the U.S.
  • Once students are admitted to the U and have been issued an I-20, the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) Office/OGE sends pre-arrival information pertaining to all the details students need to know, such as housing, registering for classes, campus information, and on-time arrival to participate in the international student orientation that is held the week prior to the beginning of the academic year.

Important Items to Consider

  • The University of Utah awards the degree according to U requirements being met. It is at the discretion of the partnering institution to award a degree (the dual degree from the U’s perspective). The U does not indicate a dual degree on student transcripts.
  • It is important for U faculty to participate in selecting students for the dual degree program at the partnering institution and there should be an expectation that students are selected early in their education at the partnering institution in order to prepare them to come to the U. For example, selected students should complete seminars on U.S. higher education, classroom culture, academic expectations, etc. as preparation to come to the U. They should be provided with detailed information regarding the campus and Salt Lake City during their first two years and have the opportunity to interact with U students in the same major via Skype or e-mail.
  • In addition to incoming student mobility, departments may want to consider sending U students in their programs to the partnering institution for a learning abroad semester or academic year, if the partnering institution provides appropriate support and course work for U students. This would have to be discussed and developed with Learning Abroad staff in the Office for Global Engagement.
  • It is a good idea to assess the number of students from the partnering institution who can meet admission requirements for the U and are interested in transferring to the U. Sometimes partner university officials can be overly optimistic and overestimate the number of students they will be able to send to the U. Considering the amount of effort to develop and maintain this type of program, the return on investment may not be as positive as anticipated. The capacity of the U program to accommodate transfer students must also be assessed and U faculty may want to cap the number of students in each cohort if there is reason to believe that the partnering institution is intending to send large numbers.
  • The partnering institution may ask for a reduction in the nonresident tuition at the U. Unfortunately, the U cannot accommodate such a reduction at the central administration level. This must be negotiated at the College and departmental level and in consideration of scholarship funding that may be available. Sometimes a reduction of only 10 percent may be sufficient to demonstrate that the U is committed to the partnership.

For additional information and to begin the process of developing a dual degree program, please contact Sabine Klahr, Deputy Chief Global Officer, in the Office for Global Engagement at or 801.587.8888.