University schools and departments may contract for the purchase of professional services to accomplish the objectives of the University when such services are specialized, highly technical, and cannot be economically or satisfactorily performed by University employees as part of their normal duties.

An independent contractor is a business firm or an individual that contracts with the University to provide services for which the University controls or directs at most the result of the service, not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

Refer to the Columbia University Purchasing Department’s website for detailed information on the process.

Please note that the use of the services of a former or retired employee as a consultant raises special considerations. Work with your HR Client Manager to determine whether such an arrangement is permissible and/or feasible. In general, current University employees are prohibited from contracting with the University.