Before deciding to create a postdoctoral appointment, please review:

  1. Postdoctoral policies include faculty mentor responsibilities.
  2. Compensation guidelines and benefits.
  3. Mentorship resources.

Postdoctoral Appointments

Postdocs may be appointed in one of two titles (click the title to view the Official WUSM HR Job Descriptions):

An appointment is made when all requirements for the PhD, MD or equivalent terminal degree have been met, even if the diploma has not been conferred. Departments should request documentation from their graduate school and a copy of the diploma when it is conferred.

For administrators: Posting Open Postdoc Positions and a template description.

NOTES for WUSM Appointments:

  • If a person is in a clinical training program, appointment should be a Clinical Fellow.
  • If a person is adding additional research time to the middle or end of their clinical training program, appointed can be as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar/Associate.
  • Paid-direct postdocs (e.g., HHMI or foreign government fellowships paid directly to the postdoc) should be entered as Postdoctoral Research Scholars in a non-paid role (NPR) and the amount entered in the Non-WU Pay field.
  • If a person does not receive a salary/stipend, paid-direct fellowship or other funds, then they should be appointed as a Visiting Researcher or other appropriate title.

Part-time appointments are not permitted. In the case of family, personal or medical issues, a temporarily reduced schedule may be approved by the Postdoc Policy Review Committee. A temporarily reduced schedule may be granted once during postdoctoral training, for at least 50% time and for a period not to exceed one year. Please submit the form to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs as far in advance as possible to request a Temporarily Reduced Schedule (PDF).

Traditional secondary appointments for job or sourcing splits must be made in the same title as the primary appointment. Secondary appointments in a different, non-postdoctoral title are only allowed for appropriate positions with completely different time-limited that are above and beyond postdoctoral training and paid hourly or lump sum for a certain activity. E.g. postdocs who are paid to teach a class, see patients in a clinic once a month or provide a certain specific time-limited service on a grant.

Letters of Appointment

Each postdoc must receive a written initial letter of appointment within 3 months of the appointment date, a copy should be kept on file in the department. This letter is generated through HRMS when the appointment is complete and should be sent by the department on departmental letterhead. It is a confirmation of the postdoc’s department, supervisor, salary/stipend amount and other details of their appointment.

Training Limit and Extensions

Postdoctoral positions are limited to 5 years of training, including time at other institutions. Clinical training (residencies & clinical fellowships) does not count towards this five year limit.

​Extensions may be granted by the Postdoc Policy Review Committee for extenuating circumstances (e.g. changing labs, medical or personal issues). Submit the Request for Extension (PDF). with required documents to the OPA 3-6 months before the end date and allowing for any necessary visa filing. Generally extensions are granted for a maximum of one additional year.

You do not need to file the official Request to Extend with the Committee if:

  1. A postdoc will be leaving WU within 3 months of the end date;
  2. A postdoc has received an individual fellowship that extends past their postdoctoral training end date, but is within one year

However, please send an email to the OPA at postdoc@email.wustl.edu explaining the details and copying all affected parties (postdoc, faculty mentor & department admin).

Training Completion

Postdocs should complete the Exit Surveys, please distribute these surveys when postdocs contact you to complete their appointments.

Human Resources has information that summarizes benefits status when leaving the university and benefit changes when transferring to a faculty or staff position.