Postdoctoral appointments are contingent on program need, satisfactory performance, and funding. Washington University does not offer a guaranteed or implied agreement of renewal at the end of an appointment term. The postdoctoral appointee and the faculty mentor should discuss appointment renewal several months before the appointment end date.

WashU postdoctoral appointments have a 5-year term limit, including previous postdoctoral experience in other institutions. Once the 5-year term limit is reached, postdoctoral appointees should transition to positions inside or outside academia more appropriate for their level of training, expertise, and independence.

If a postdoctoral appointee is on a visa, they might be eligible for up to five years of a J-1 visa program. However, this eligibility does not offer guarantee of a 5-year postdoctoral appointment at WashU. If a change of status is required, please consider giving notice with at least 90 days of anticipation.

Appointment Extension Request

Exceptions to the five-year term limit for a postdoctoral appointment will be granted by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to current WashU postdoctoral appointees for extenuating circumstances only. Only one extension is allowed per postdoctoral appointment.

Request for Extension of Postdoctoral Appointment (PDF)

Postdoc Exit Surveys

Postdoctoral appointees must complete the Exit Surveys prior to the end of their appointment.

Human Resources has information summarizing benefits status when leaving the university.

Appointment Verification Request

Former postdoctoral appointees since 2010 may request a letter verifying their postdoctoral appointment dates. Contact us at