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Postdoctoral Appointments

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) advises on the process of postdoctoral fellow appointments.

Postdoctoral appointments are made by completing the Recommendation for Postdoctoral Fellow Appointment Form. It is important that no offer should be made to the potential postdoctoral scholar by either letter or email until a recommendation for appointment form has been approved by the school dean/center director’s office. The appointment letter is sent from the dean's office to the newly appointed scholar.  

Postdoctoral fellows paid through the University payroll system and visiting postdoctoral fellows hold research staff appointments with a set end date that are approved by the school dean or center director under oversight of the OPA. Postdoctoral fellow appointments are for a minimum term of one year, with reappointment contingent upon availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

Visiting postdoctoral fellows may be appointed for a term not to exceed one year by following guidelines for these specific categories. The term of employment can impact benefits eligibility and departments should contact the Benefits Division with questions on this matter.

An effort in good faith to employ persons in EEO classes underrepresented in the research activity is expected on the part of the unit seeking the appointment.


If the appointee is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a copy of the approved appointment form must be sent to the International Office by the initiating department or center. The International Office can provide assistance in obtaining the visa that is necessary for employing a foreign national or to extend an offer to visit.

Procedure for Initial Appointment or Renewal

The Postdoctoral Fellow Appointment Form has some key differences both in content and procedure to the previous recommendation for appointment form used by the Office for Research. The key difference is: the final approval of a postdoctoral appointment will be made by the Dean's office. The Dean's office in this system is entrusted to ensure accuracy of data entered and approve an appointment.  Papers will not be routed through the OPA although copies of certain documents will be required to be submitted in PDF to the OPA.  Details are included on the form instructions.

See the following pages for more information: