Postdoctoral Appointments

University-wide, postdocs are appointed in the titles of Postdoctoral Research Scholar (non-employee status, paid by stipend) or Postdoctoral Research Associate (employee status, paid by salary). Training is limited to 5 years, including time spent in either title or at other institutions, but excludes clinical training. See also Postdoctoral Appointments for a comparison of titles.


Due to the economic realities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, strong steps were taken in the spring of 2020. A hiring freeze was implemented, many faculty and staff took cuts to their compensation, university contributions to the 403b retirement plan were halted, there were no raises in compensation for faculty and staff, and the postdoc minimum salary/stipend was not increased on July 1 as it normally would have been.

 Normally, the minimum compensation or stipends for Postdoctoral Research Associates and Postdoctoral Research Scholars are adjusted every year, but this year, the adjustments planned for July 1, 2020 will be delayed until the University resumes normal operations. The current required minimum remains at $50,004 (the WashU FY20 postdoc minimum).

Recent announcements regarding restoration of salary cuts/retirement contributions and lifting of the hiring freeze were positive signs that the university is recovering financially.  We are hoping that at some point in the future, we will be in a position to consider raising the minimum postdoc salary/stipend again.

Importantly, $50,004 is only the required minimum. Individual compensation should be discussed with the appointing faculty member. It is recommended that postdocs be reviewed annually and, when raises are permitted again at the university, given raises as appropriate. See current NIH NRSA Stipend Levels for guidance or contact the department / school administrator for information on compensation guidelines.

Note that specific fellowships and training grants have stipend level requirements for FY21 from the federal funding agency, and these requirements should be followed.

Annual Review

It is recommended that postdocs and their faculty advisor use the Annual Review Form to discuss progress annually. In addition, regular meetings to discuss research progress and professional development are highly beneficial.



The above policies include what to do when there is a conflict or issue during postdoc training. Postdocs can also access the confidential services of the Ombuds Office.

Training Completion

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

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