UMAP Terminology and Acronyms

UMAP Organization, Membership, and Eligibility

1. University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP)

UMAP is an association of higher education institutions in Asia and the Pacific. The organization is responsible for enhancing cooperation among higher education institutions in the region and increasing mobility of students and staff through exchange programs.

2. UMAP Constitution

The UMAP Constitution is a set of fundamental principles and the embodiment of the governing authority of UMAP. The UMAP Board has sole authority to amend the UMAP Constitution.

3. Eligible Country/Territory

UMAP membership is currently open to 36 countries/territories in the Asia-Pacific region. The list of eligible countries/territories is stated in Attachment 3 of the UMAP Constitution and shown below:

Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Reunion Island, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA, Vietnam.

Others may be added as eligible Member countries/territories by a majority vote of the UMAP Board.

4. Member County/Territory

There are two types of membership status: Full Membership and Associate Membership

Full Members are those eligible countries/territories that have paid the annual UMAP membership fee. Full Members are expected to participate in the UMAP Board and UMAP Committee Meetings, and they are entitled to participate in the UMAP Exchange Program.

Associate Members are those eligible countries/territories that do not pay the annual UMAP membership fee. Associate Members may attend the UMAP Board Meetings and UMAP Committee Meetings only as observers and cannot participate in UMAP Exchange Programs. Members may be represented by their respective governments’ higher education departments or ministries, individual universities, university umbrella organizations, or a combination of these. Each Member County/Territory shall set up a Member Secretariat (National Secretariat) to be the chief point of contact in that country/territory. Individuals are not eligible for membership.

5. UMAP Board

The UMAP Board is the governing authority of UMAP and is composed of representatives from each of the Full Members of UMAP. The Board shall select the UMAP International Secretariat Host Country/Territory from proposals made by interested Full Members and shall elect a UMAP Chair from Full Members. The elected UMAP Chair shall nominate a Chairperson and inform the UMAP International Secretariat.

6. UMAP Board Meeting

UMAP Board Meetings shall be held at least twice a year, once in the country/territory of the UMAP Chair and, in principal, once in the country/territory of the UMAP International Secretariat. A quorum of at least 50 percent of Full Members is necessary for the Board to vote on decisions. Each Full Member shall have one vote. In the event of a failure to achieve consensus on an item at a Board Meeting, a simple majority vote of the Full Members present shall determine the issue.

7. UMAP International Secretariat (UMAP IS)

The UMAP IS shall be responsible for the management and administration of the day-to-day operations of UMAP and serve as the liaison with National Secretariats. The Member Country/Territory serving as International Secretariat shall be selected by the Board. The term of International Secretariat shall be 5 years. The costs of providing the basic infrastructure for the International Secretariat shall be borne by the Full Member Country/Territory serving as the International Secretariat and shall not be represented in the UMAP budget. The Member Country/Territory serving as the International Secretariat shall appoint a Secretary-General to the International Secretariat.

8. UMAP National Secretariat (UMAP NS)

Each UMAP Member Country/Territory needs to establish a UMAP National Secretariat (NS), which represents the country/territory and is responsible for the promotion and development of UMAP Exchange Programs. Ideally the NS should be a governmental institution of higher education (i.e. Ministry of Education) or work closely with such a governmental organization. In some Member Countries/Territories, a particular University/Institution serves as the UMAP NS.

The responsibility of a UMAP NS includes:
1) Payment of the annual UMAP membership fee and (if necessary) collection of participation fee from Member Universities/ Institutions in the country/territory.)
2) Providing a list of Member Institutions and contacts.
3) Promoting student exchange programs in the country/territory.
4) Promoting and overseeing Member Institutions in the country/territory.
5) Disseminating information and news from the UMAP IS in the country/territory.
6) Attending and voting at UMAP Board Meetings.
7) Reporting annually regarding the situation of student mobility in the country/territory and UMAP activity there.

9. Sub-National Secretariat

An administrative region within the countries/territories listed in Attachment 3 of the UMAP Constitution may represent the region and set up a Sub-National Secretariat only when there is no representation for the whole country/territory. Even in a case where there is more than one Sub-National Secretariat within a Full Member Country/Territory, the country/territory has only one vote in a Board Meeting.

10. UMAP Committees

The UMAP Board shall set up special committees as deemed appropriate. No special committee may exercise any authority other than that specifically outlined in the establishing resolution. The members of the Committees are nominated by the UMAP Board.

11. Pledge of Agreement (PoA)

Pledge of Agreement is a simplified name for the Student Exchange Agreement. The agreement operates between participating higher education institutions (or consortia of institutions) on the basis of mutual acceptance of the appropriateness of national accreditation determinations, and under the mutual understanding of contents of “The Pledge of Agreement”.

12. Member Institution

A Member Institution is a higher education institution that is located in a UMAP Member Country/Territory and has signed the “Pledge of Agreement”. Only Pledged Institutions of Full Member Countries/Territories are able to participate in UMAP Exchange Programs.

Each UMAP NS is responsible for confirming whether new members from their respective country/territory can join the UMAP network on the condition that they are officially accredited.  

13. Associate Institution

An Associate Institution is an institution that is located in Associate Member Country/Territory.

14. Participating Institution

A Participating Institution is an institution that has agreed to accept exchange students from other Participating Institutions by submitting an “Outline of Proposal” for UMAP Exchange Programs in a certain term/semester. Participating Institutions may send their exchange students to other Participating Institutions.

15. Active Institution

An Active Institution  offers programs and/or nominates (as relevant) students to at least one UMAP program (A,B,C, Virtual) per academic year.

UMAP Exchange Programs

16. UMAP Exchange Programs

UMAP currently offers four programs to undergraduate and postgraduate students:  the UMAP Multilateral Program (A);  the UMAP Bilateral Program (B); Short Term Programs; and the UMAP Summer Discovery Program.

17. Outline of Proposal

The Outline of Proposal is the document utilized by Participating Institutions to offer  programs to exchange students. By submitting an Outline of Proposal, the institution agrees to participate in UMAP Exchange Programs for a certain period of time. They are then able to accept eligible exchange students from other Participating Institutions if there are applicants who meet the requirements. The institution is also eligible to send their students to other Participating Institutions once they submit this proposal.

18. UMAP Multilateral Exchange Program, Program A

The UMAP Multilateral Exchange Program is also called Program A . It is a multilateral exchange program among  institutions that have signed the “Pledge of Agreement”. In principle, Participating  Institutions send and receive two students per semester on a tuition-waived basis. Students can choose to study either one or two semesters when they apply for programs. Program A runs twice a year: Semester/Term 1 begins in autumn (July to October) and Semester/Term 2 begins in spring (January to April). Each program has two application cycles in these periods, during which Pledged Universities/Institutions can participate based on their preferable timeline(s). 

19. UMAP Bilateral Exchange Program, Program B

The UMAP Bilateral Exchange Program is called Program B. It is a bilateral student exchange made between any two UMAP Participating Institutions that would like to exchange more students than agreed under UMAP Multilateral Exchange Program, or launch special programs between them. The terms and conditions, including tuition charges/waivers need to be discussed and agreed between both parties, and an additional MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) can be signed the institutions if necessary.

If a Host Institution accepts a student nominated for Program B with tuition waived, the host is also able to treat the student as a participant in Program A and count the result toward the Quota/Allocation for Outbound Exchange Students.

20. Short Term Program, Program C

The Short Term Program, Program C,  is a short-term (one to eight-week long) program offered by UMAP Participating Institutions. Program C is generally offered between June and December, and the programs are available in a wide range of disciplines: cultural studies, language proficiency courses, vocational training, entrepreneurship, and more. Institutions offering Program C may charge or waive tuition fees for students coming from UMAP Member Institutions. Institutions can decide whether to give academic credits for their programs, but are encouraged to utilize the UMAP Credit Transfer System and provide program schedules that show participants’ workload inside/outside the classrooms.

Unlike Program A or B, students of any Pledged Institutions, rather than only “Participating Institutions” are eligible to apply for  Program C.

21. UMAP Summer Program

Due to the COVID-19, UMAP Discovery Camps 2020 and 2021 will be postponed.

The UMAP Summer Program is a special summer program with different host countries and themes each year.

The first Summer program was offered in 2016 as “UMAP Discovery Camp 2016” hosted by the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines in partnership with De La Salle University, Lyceum of the Philippines University-Bantagas and Ateneo de Manila University. The purpose of this program was to learn about Asian arts, culture, and cuisine, and discuss about environment and climate change.  In 2022, the first Virtual Discovery Camps were offered by the University of Regina, in Canada and Ateneo de Davao University in the Philippines.  For more detail on Discovery Camps, please visit the program page.

      Eligibility to apply for this program is generally limited to Pledged Institutions; however, the National Secretariat of the host country/territory has the discretion to modify its eligibility requirements and the selection of participants among applicants.

      22. UMAP Program Year

      The UMAP Program Year is based on UMAP Multilateral and Bilateral Exchange Program application cycles and does not necessarily follow a calendar year or academic years of Participating Institutions.

      For example, UMAP Program year 2021 consists of Program A&B 2021-1 (Autumn 2021 Student exchange) and Program A&B 2021-2 (Spring 2022 Student exchange). Together, these constitute one year of UMAP  program offering.  

      23. STP Scholarship

      In some cases, participants of Program C (Short-Term Programs) may be offered STP scholarships of varying amounts, depending on the country and duration of the program.

      24. Quota/Allocation for Outbound Exchange Students 

       Institutions that accept more than 2 exchange students in a given semester on tuition-waived basis (Program A) will be allocated an equal additional allocation for outbound exchange students. The additional quota/allocation can be used from the following semester without an expiration date.

      25. The First Cycle and Second Cycle

      UMAP offers two program cycles per year. Each program cycle as has two rounds of applications, enabling Institutions to choose to participate in the cycles that best fit their academic calendars and to provide students with more opportunities to study abroad.

      26. Timeline of UMAP programs

      The UMAP IS will announce the Timelines of each program at the start of program period. The Timeline outlines the time frame and deadlines for program registration and announcement, student application and placement, and final acceptance or non-acceptance of applicants.

      27. Home/Host Institution Coordinators

      Coordinators are those persons who coordinate applications and the acceptance of exchange students at participating Institutions. They act as institutional representatives  for UMAP Exchange Programs and help connect and coordinate between students and faculty.

      28. USCO System

      USCO System is the acronym for UMAP Student Connection Online. Utilizing the system, students and UMAP coordinators of Participating Institutions are able to submit applications, and Host Institutions’ Coordinators are able to monitor students’ application status and to approve or decline their applications. 

      29. The UMAP Credit Transfer Scheme (UCTS)

      UCTS was developed to simplify the process of transferring credits earned in exchange programs to the students’ Home Institutions. UCTS uses the 60 credit point scale originally developed for the European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS). These points can be applied to both trimester-based and semester-based academic years. The UCTS credit point scale facilitates the conversion of credits between different grading systems. It is not intended to supplant existing grade point scales (or other measures of student workload) used by the Host and Home Institutions, nor is it meant to replace their regulations and autonomy in terms of assessing students’ learning outcomes. More detail on UCTS is available on the website (

      30. UMAP Student Exchange Application Process

      Students interested in UMAP Student Exchange Opportunities complete on online application process through the USCO platform. 

      31. UMAP Study Plan

      Students are encouraged to use this form to submit their study plan to their Host  Institution after their acceptance. 


      32. UMAP Research Net

      UMAP Research Net ( promotes the mobility of academic faculty, researchers and students through the establishment of research networks. Groups consist of 2 or more researchers from UMAP Institutions who share common research interests. The program announces calls for proposals which are reviewed by an international panel of reviewers.  UMAP selects the proposals based on their significance, timelines, and relevance to the goals of UMAP. Selected research projects will be funded by UMAP and the selection of projects will be performed biannually. Only faculty from Pledged Institutions of Full Member Country/Territories are eligible to apply.

      33. UMAP International Conference

      The UMAP International Conference is a conference and/or symposium which the Chairperson of UMAP Board convened and presided over at least once during the term of Chairmanship.