The partnership, launched by Scottish education secretary Michael Russell, will make SAC research and expertise available to the other land-based colleges with opportunities arising to progress more smoothly from certificate-level courses to degree-level courses and PhDs.
Russell said: "This is a landmark day for all four colleges. The approach will enable each college to bring its own individual strengths to the table, to the benefit of the whole land-based sector."
Independent chairman of the project's steering group Andy Robb said: "This project builds on existing partnerships and will deliver a fully-integrated approach to tertiary education for the land-based sector."
The full working model of the agreement will be revealed at the end of June, following collaboration between the four colleges.