Skip to content




Determine requirements

Know what you want to purchase. Research your product/service and write clear and detailed specifications.

Select one or more vendors

University and state contracts must be used unless better pricing can be obtained from another vendor.

  • Obtain a new quote from one or more vendors. If the vendor provides a cart service where the cart number is retained on the vendor’s site and can be pulled by a purchasing agent, please use it.  Digi-Key’s “saved order” is a good example of such a service.  The purchasing agent can use the Web ID and Access ID to pull up the quote.
  • Advise the vendor up front:
    • Apply academic discounts.
    • Include shipping and handling costs on the quote.  The total cost of the order will be used to determine the proper purchasing process to be followed by the purchasing agent.
    • Does the vendor require any contracts or other documents to be signed by the University of Tennessee at any point during the purchasing or installation process?  If so, please obtain those documents so that legal review process can be initiated by the purchasing agent.
    • The University of Tennessee is tax-exempt.  Quotes and invoices including sales tax will not be processed.
    • If you are unsure what items may satisfy your requirements (computer, printers, etc.), please send the detailed requirements to  The purchasing agent will prepare a quote for your review.

Prepare justification

Each order request requires a detailed justification before the order will be placed.

  • Example justifications with sufficient detail:
    • To purchase a nerf gun from Walmart for ECE402 senior design team 2 that will demonstrate the velocity of different objects against gravity
    • To purchase a smart watch from per sponsor approved budget to develop applications for research project R011344xx NASA
    • To purchase a tool kit from on my enrichment account that will be used for repair of robotics in my lab in Min Kao 629
    • To purchase electric bicycle parts from for the spring 2016 ECE482 course
  • Example justifications with insufficient detail:
    • For my lab
    • For my research project
    • For a senior design project

Submit the request and justification to Orders

  • Send an email to with your list of items and any other supporting documentation.  Keep the confirmation email received from Orders for later questions about your order.
  • A purchasing agent and purchasing method will be determined after the order request has been submitted.  It will not always be same person or method.
  • Expect questions from the purchasing agent on specialized items and about vendor terms or conditions.
  • Let the purchasing agent know if you are under time constraints. However, not every purchase can be classified as a rush.

After the order is placed

  • All communications with the vendor after a purchase has been initiated are required to be through the purchasing agent.  Faculty and students are prohibited from directly changing the order in any way after an order is placed.  This includes adding, changing and deleting lines items and changing shipping terms.  The purchasing agent must request all changes.
  • You will be notified when your items arrive.
  • If you have any questions about the status of your order, reply to the confirmation email sent to you after the first email was sent to Orders.

Common Problems

  • Failure to allow enough time to process and receive orders. Many vendors build-to-order. You may experience long lead times and lengthy shipping delays.
  • Ordering the wrong items that require returns.  Returns require considerable time to process.   Please order the correct items the first time.
  • Submitted an old or expired quote to Orders.  Expired quotes may not be honored by the vendor and will cause delays in the process.  Submit new quotes.
  • Failure to provide an appropriate and active financial account number.  Restricted accounts may prohibit the purchase of certain items. Please contact the EECS Business Office if you are not certain.
  • We cannot pay for items using PayPal. Make sure your vendor accepts VISA credit cards or Purchase Orders.
  • eBay purchases are allowed if a valid receipt is obtained and the seller is not a UT employee.
  • Splitting order requests in order to circumvent Fiscal Policies, such as bid limits. Violators are subject to disciplinary action.
  • Failure to respond to questions from the purchasing agent regarding your order.  If we don’t hear from you, your order will not be processed.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.