The following procedures are used for initial appointments and renewals for covered individuals, except that a curriculum vita (CV) is not required for reappointment in a position at the same level. Prior to appointment expiration, faculty sponsors should consider and initiate recommendations for renewals.

Appointment Form Process Overview

(Please follow these instructions carefully.)

  1. The form is a recommendation for postdoctoral fellow appointment by the PI. After careful review of application materials and references, the postdoctoral fellow appointment form is to be completed by the PI or designated department administrator by following instructions on the form.
  2. The form requires the Degree Award Date data field to be completed. The appointment as a postdoctoral fellow cannot begin unless the doctoral degree has been conferred (appointment start date cannot precede doctoral degree conferral date).
  3. The form requires 3 signatures— the PI's, Department Chair/Center Director's and the Dean's.  While one signature can be an administrator, the other signature needs to be a designated faculty member before submission to the dean’s office.
  4. Depending on individual school or center procedures, the Dean, the Center Director or the Department, initiates an Appointment and Position Data form to be sent to the Payroll Office at the Office of Human Resources (HR). HR forms may be found at the HR web site.  
  5. A copy of the completed postdoctoral appointment form must be sent to the OPA in PDF, along with the supplementary documentation (postdoctoral fellow's CV (required) and Individual Development Plan (recommended)).
  6. The candidate may be notified of the appointment once the Dean's office has approved the form.  In the case of international fellows, notification of appointment can be made after processing through the International Office.

Appointment Letter Template

Please note: The appointee is required to sign a copy of the appointment letter to signify agreement with the terms and conditions of the offer. This signed form must be placed in the appointee’s employee file.

 Other information recommended for inclusion as needed:

  • The duties and responsibilities of the trainee. If there is any specific past-training or experience the postdoc must possess, that expectation should be clearly spelled out in the appointment letter.
  • If there is an expectation by the mentor that the trainee will be responsible for attaining his/her own funding at some later date, that expectation should be clearly spelled out in the offer letter.

In general, policies outlined by Northwestern University, the Office of Human Resources, the Office for Research, The Graduate School and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs are to be followed. For specific questions on postdoctoral fellow appointment and training policies at Northwestern, please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs