Postdoctoral Appointments

Before creating a postdoctoral appointment, please review:

  1. Postdoctoral policies including faculty mentor responsibilities
  2. Compensation guidelines and benefits
  3. Admin Support Box Folder: recruitment, position posting, and on-boarding resources
  4. 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 request documentation from the degree-granting insitution and a copy of the diploma when it is conferred.
Appointment Titles

Postdoctoral appointees should normally be appointed as Postdoctoral Associates. However, if their funding source prohibits appointment as a University employee (e.g., NIH F32 fellowships and T32 training grants) or if the appointee is paid directly from their funder (e.g., paid directly from an agency in their home country), then the appointee should be appointed as a non-employed Postdoctoral Scholar.

International Postdocs

Other Appointment Policies and Guidelines:

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, a Postdoctoral Appointment can be made.
  • 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 Extension Requests

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

A 1-year extension for postdoctoral appointees may be granted for extenuating circumstances. Submit the Request for Extension of Postdoctoral Appointment with required the documents to the OPA 6 months before the end date (which allows time for any necessary visa filing if needed).

Training Completion

Postdocs must 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. Note: vacation time is not paid out to postdoctoral appointees.