The collaboration will secure part-time courses under threat as part of restructuring plans at Newcastle, which is to concentrate on its full-time courses.
Existing tutors will continue to run part-time courses for about 3,000 students. The partnership aims to maintain part-time higher education courses offered by Newcastle's Centre for Lifelong Learning and Sunderland's School of Education and Lifelong Learning.
Christopher Edwards, Newcastle vice-chancellor, said: "We have always recognised the importance of lifelong learning to the Northeast community, and this new partnership has secured its future. Throughout the restructuring process we have responded to the concerns staff and students have expressed."
Doug Ambrose, student representative for the Centre for Lifelong Learning and member of the Friends of Adult and Continuing Education, said: "We strongly support this positive move to form a partnership with Sunderland University."
He added: "It demonstrates that Newcastle University has listened to and responded to the concerns of the students. We are delighted with the outcome."