The research shows spending on administrative costs is growing faster than what's spent on education, and that there are too many jobs with the same responsibilities.
It also says the school could save millions by centralizing its purchasing processes and upgrading computer equipment.
The work was done by the independent consulting group Bain & Company, and was funded by a private donor.
Critics within the school have long said that layers of bureaucracy not only add to costs, but slow down efficiency.
Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Winston says the report is eye-opening. He believes it'll set a framework as the university streamlines operations in light of tough budget cuts.
"Obviously, there are some areas we need to change in the way we run the university. We're going to do that," he said.
UNC has an annual budget of around $2 billion.
The report said in some areas, a worker has nine administrators over him, while more than half of campus supervisors oversee three or fewer workers. Cutting managers could as much as $12 million.
UNC officials said they planned to make an announcement about possible changes they plan to make in light of the study in the coming weeks.