Electronic Approval Processes and Signatures at NC State

Internal Approvals

  • NC State maintains various administrative processes or internal forms that require approval, such as:
    • departmental or supervisor approval, e.g., travel reimbursement
    • employee signature, e.g., request form
    • student consent for internal control purposes, e.g., release of educational records.
  • If a department adopts processes that maintain appropriate documentation of approvals, then those approvals may be obtained by electronic or digital means.

Acceptable approval processes

  • Applications/Processes that require Unity credentials to access and which track changes and/or capture submitters/authors (examples include: Google Docs/Sheets/Forms; approvals provided via NC State email; applications in the MyPack Portal such as the MarketPlace and the Financial, HR, Student Information (SIS), REPORTER, SAR (System Access Request), and PeopleAdmin Systems; and departmental applications requiring Unity credentials).
  • PDF form with an electronic block (certificate) or graphic signature added in any block and
    • Shared within NC State’s G Drive or
    • Sent to or from an NC State email address.
      NOTE: Adobe Acrobat and Foxit allow you to incorporate a signature into a PDF without an additional charge.
  • Typewritten name or graphic image of a signature verified by an electronic signature application (additional fee for each transaction) such as:
  • (Least desirable and not accessible) Scanned image of a signed document.

Unacceptable approval processes

  • Document originating from an email address other than the signer’s or approver’s NC State email address.
  • Text message.
  • Social media communication.
  • Any other unauthenticated method of communication.

For questions about appropriate digital approval methods, consult with your unit’s Business Office.

Signatures on University Contracts or Agreements

  •  A limited number of NC State employees have been delegated authority by the Chancellor to sign contracts on behalf of the university or a department (NC State Regulation 01.20.02 – Delegation of Authority to Sign Contracts).
  • Such employees may sign the contracts with electronic signatures, provided that both of these conditions are met:
    • All parties to the agreement consent to using electronic signatures.
    • No law or regulation specifically requires a wet ink signature; e.g., notarized documents, eviction notices, certain environmental reports.
      For details, refer to Procurement and Business Services’ Contract Review.
  • To authenticate electronic signatures, parties should use a secure application designed to meet the legal requirements for electronic signatures, e.g., DocuSign, Adobe Sign.
  • This guidance does not expand the authority of any NC State employee to sign NC State or departmental contracts, letters of intent, MOUs, or other agreements requiring an NC State signature.


  • For questions about signing NC State contracts, contact the Office of General Counsel.
  • For questions about using electronic signature tools, contact the NC State Help Desk via the IT Service Portal.