Signature Authority

End users within departments/schools typically do NOT have the authority to sign ANY contracts or agreements with outside parties in the name of the University or one of its departments/schools. 

Contracts and agreements that need to be signed by the University MUST be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel (OGC)*. OGC may also forward contracts and agreements for the purchase of products and services to PRS for review to make sure appropriate policies and procedures were followed in the selection of vendors. Accordingly, a Bid Documentation Form (BD-1) (doc) or Sole Source Justification Form (SSJ-1) (doc) should accompany the contract/agreement to be reviewed. Once the contract/agreement is reviewed and approved, it will be forwarded to the appropriate officer of the University for signature.

* Hotel booking, restaurant reservations, and catering agreements do not need to be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel (OGC). However, any such agreements still require review and signature by an authorized Northwestern University signatory. Non-Preferred Vendors will still need to provide evidence of insurance. Forms are available on the Policies and Forms page under OGC Forms & Templates.

These are the officers authorized to sign contracts and agreements on behalf of the University:

  • President
  • Provost
  • Senior Vice President

Certain Vice Presidents, Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents, Deans, Associate Provosts, and Directors have been delegated authority to execute contracts under $25,000 per year. Check with your unit or department to determine if a particular person has been delegated authority, or you may contact the Office of General Counsel.

PRS and OGC work together to streamline the contract review and signature process.

Learn about approval requirements and policies.