Student NDA (undergraduate & MBA students)

An increasingly large number of students are working closely with companies as a part of their senior design or other class projects. In some cases, a company may find it necessary to disclose confidential information to the students in order to engage in a meaningful project. As such, the company may require students to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to sharing such information.

Penn State’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has an established process in place to facilitate student project NDAs.  If your College/Unit will be participating in company-sponsored student projects, please contact OSP who will work with you to get started.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement – Student Project can be found here.  This agreement has been successfully utilized by hundreds of companies, from small start-ups to Fortune 100 businesses. Due to the volume and nature of these projectsPenn State’s Student NDA must be utilized for student projects and is NON-NEGOTIABLE.  We are unable to entertain company-provided agreements for these particular projects.

A few of the terms and conditions of this agreement deserve special attention:

 1.    The confidentiality period for this agreement is two years.  It would be imprudent for any company to share confidential information with a student of such significant commercial value that it warrants a confidentiality period of more than two years.  Furthermore, it is unreasonable for companies to expect an undergraduate student, who is still at the beginning stages of his or her career, to maintain such information in confidence in perpetuity.

2.    PSU will not accept any export controlled information under a student NDA.  PSU has foreign nationals working in nearly every facility across the University.  PSU will not establish special U.S.-only facilities for undergraduate student research projects.

 3.    Companies may request ownership of any intellectual property (IP) generated as a result of a student project.  Since Penn State’s guidelines state that certain students, under certain circumstances, retain ownership of their IP, an assignment form may be requested by the company before the project begins.  See PSU Guidelines IPG01 and IPG02 for more information on assignment of IP, or contact Penn State’s Office of Technology Management (OTM) for assistance with completion of IP assignment forms.

One of the most successful senior capstone programs is Penn State’s Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory, housed in the College of Engineering.  Please visit the Learning Factory’s website for examples of some of the exciting things they've put in place to make their program a success.