Purchasing Guidelines

Helpful Tools Reimbursement and Purchasing Cards Invoices
Shoppers Undergraduate Thesis Returns
Requisition Creator Packing Slips Copier Use
Equipment Orders    


Please Note: Some items may be deemed unallowable for purchase on certain project grants.  For more information regarding project, program and account types and allowability, please see the Business Practices and Grant Administration sections of this website.  If you have questions or need assistance, our Purchasing Coordinator or Business Office representatives are always available to guide you through any processes.

All purchasing and financial systems should be accessed through the PRIME Portal.


Helpful Tools

Buying and Paying Guide – This link provides an overview of preferred payment methods.



All members of the Princeton community are automatically set up with the role of Shopper. This function allows you to log-in to the Marketplace (via Prime Portal) and create a shopping cart containing items you wish to purchase. The process is similar to ordering from any standard website. 

Examples of the vendors commonly used for Chemistry purchases in the Marketplace are: Office Max, Fisher, VWR, Dell, Apple, CDW-G, Sigma and Grainger. You can find a complete listing of preferred suppliers on the marketplace. These vendors are considered preferred because Princeton University has a contract with these suppliers which allows for significant discounts. Although you do have the option of making a special request to use an alternate supplier, it is University policy to use an existing contract supplier first before entering into an agreement with other suppliers.

Once your cart is complete, assign it to the designated Requisition Creator for your lab/group. If you do not have a designated req creator, assign your cart to the department Purchasing Coordinator. 

Note: You must include the chart string coding you wish to charge in the comments section upon submission.

Click here for additional Marketplace Shopper information and training.


Requisition Creator

Req creators are assigned by their advisors. If you have been designated as a req creator, you will need to fill out a Prime Financials Access Request Form. Return the completed form to the departmental Business Manager. It will then be approved and routed to the Office of Finance for activation.

The function of the req creator is to ensure that the charges submitted by the Shoppers in their group are allowable for purchase and properly allocated to the correct chartstring coding. You need to enter the shopper’s name in the attention line of the requisition to ensure proper delivery. This can be completed at the time of checkout under the Shipping Summary heading by clicking Edit All Lines and entering the shopper’s information. Prior to submission, ensure you name your requisition using the last name of the faculty member for the lab in which you are completing the purchase. Once you have entered and reviewed all applicable information, you will submit for approval. The requisition will automatically route to an appropriate Business Office representative for final approval and submission to the Purchasing department.

As a req creator, you will always login under Requisitions in the Prime Portal. Once you have completed your shopping cart, it will route to you for requisition creation.

Note: Any changes to any original order should be brought to the attention of the Purchasing Coordinator immediately — Such items would include duplications, adding item(s), cancellations and price changes.

Click here for additional Requisition Creator information and training


Equipment Orders

Equipment orders exceeding $5,000 in whole or in part will be processed by the Purchasing Coordinator. In addition to any standard purchasing paperwork, additional documentation is required, such as a valid quote and a completed Sole Source Justification Form.

All equipment purchases will need to be approved by the Grants Manager prior to ordering.This is to ensure allowability to the project and account being charged. Please ensure you discuss equipment, as well as any high cost or unusual product, purchases with the Grants Manager prior to placing your orders.


Reimbursements and Purchasing Cards

In general, payments via credit card to a vendor or reimbursements to those who are part of the Princeton community will be issued through Concur (access through the Prime Portal, under Travel and Expense module).

In an instance where you will be issuing a one-time payment to a vendor, for non-chemical purchases, the following methods of payment may be used on a limited basis:

Non-PO Payment Request: Check with the department’s Purchasing Coordinator prior to entering the request to ensure the vendor has been set-up in the system. The coordinator will let you know what additional steps to take in an instance where a vendor requires activation.

Purchases Made via Department Purchasing Card: All payments must be issued by the department’s Purchasing Coordinator. Coordinator will let you know, at the time of request, if your order is applicable to be purchased by this method. You will need to provide all pertinent vendor/order information as well as the appropriate chartstring coding you wish to charge. 

Note: Princeton University is tax exempt. The university does not reimburse for tax. As such, please print and use a Tax Exempt Form when making any purchases. This form may be used ONLY for purchases relating to Princeton University business.


Undergraduate Thesis

For Junior and Senior Undergraduates participating in the Thesis Program, please note the following purchase practices: All orders, including Stockroom purchases, require your full name on applicable paperwork such as order forms, vouchers, shop usage logs, etc. Should you have any questions regarding purchases or your account balance, the Purchasing Coordinator monitors these accounts and will be able to assist you.


Packing Slips

All packing slips related to the purchase of equipment must be turned in upon receipt. Silver mesh wall units, located just inside the doors on the Atrium side of all labs, have been provided for drop off of packing slips. These are collected by the Purchasing Coordinator on a regular basis.



Invoices should route directly to the Office of Finance. In a case where an invoice is received directly by you, forward it to the Purchasing Coordinator in order to be processed for payment. Invoices must reference a Purchase Order number (if applicable) and/or applicable chartstring coding for payment.



In the case that you need to return an item to a vendor: Bring the item in its original packaging (if possible), the packing slip associated with the item, and the reason for return to the Purchasing Coordinator. You must provide the chartstring coding used to make the original purchase in order to ensure the credit for returned item is applied correctly.


Copier Use

Copiers require a 5-digit code in order to initiate copy functions. If you have questions regarding the appropriate copier code for your group, please consult with your advisor or lab administrator. If you are a professor requiring a copier code to be set-up for you, please contact the Purchasing Coordinator.

Note: Some items may be deemed unallowable for purchase on certain project grants. For more information regarding project, program and account types and allowability, please see Business Practices and Grant Administration sections of this website. If you have questions or need assistance, our Purchasing Coordinator or Business Office Representatives are always available to guide you through any processes.