Postdoctoral Scholar Appointment Types & Criteria

Titles and Classifications

Article 26

  1. A Postdoctoral Scholar is an individual who has received a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and is engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training to enhance the professional skills and research independence needed to pursue his or her chosen career path.
  2. Postdoctoral Scholars train under the direction and supervision of faculty mentors in preparation for academic or research careers.
  3. In addition to pursuing advanced preparation in research, Postdoctoral Scholars may be approved to engage in other activities to enhance teaching and other professional skills. If formal teaching duties are assigned, a Postdoctoral Scholar will be assigned both a Postdoctoral Scholar title and an appropriate teaching title.
  4. Ordinarily, Postdoctoral Scholars are not permitted to serve as principal investigators on extramurally sponsored contracts or grant applications. Because the University recognizes that proposal preparation is an important aspect of most postdoctoral training, campuses may permit Postdoctoral Scholars to serve as principal investigators on such applications that are restricted to Postdoctoral Scholars, or in other circumstances approved by the University.
  5. The provisions of this section are not grievable.


  1. Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (3252): An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” when a. the agency funding the salary requires or permits the appointee to be an employee of the University, or b. whenever General Funds, Opportunity Funds or other University discretionary funds are used to support the position.
  2. Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow (3253): An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow” when the Postdoctoral Scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a University account.
  3. Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct (3254): An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct” when the Postdoctoral Scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar, rather than through the University. Such appointments shall have a “without-salary” status.
  4. Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee NEX (3255): An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee NEX” when a. the agency funding the salary requires or permits the appointee to be an employee of the University, or b, whenever General Funds, Opportunity Funds, or other University discretionary funds are used to support the position and c. based on the percentage appointment of the Postdoctoral Scholar, the prorated salary per week does not meet the exempt-status threshold of $913 per week.
  5. Interim Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (3256): An appointment is made in the title “Interim Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” when UCLA graduate students who recently obtained their PhD degree or equivalent need a short-term appointment to complete an existing project from their graduate educational programs before moving on to other employment. While Postdocs may be appointed more than once to TC 3256, no one shall be appointed in TC 3256 for more than a cumulative total of 12 months in one or multiple appointments.
Appointment Criteria

Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are intended to provide a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training.

  1. Appointment as a Postdoctoral Scholar requires a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D.) or the foreign equivalent.
  2. Individuals pursuing clinical fellowships and residencies in the health sciences are excluded from appointment to these titles.
  3. It is within the University’s sole discretion to appoint, reappoint, or not reappoint a Postdoctoral Scholar and to determine the duration of such appointments.
  4. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at other institutions.  Under unusual circumstances the University may grant an exception to this limit, not to exceed a sixth year.
Terms of Service

Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are temporary and have fixed end dates. Appointments are normally one year’s duration.

Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (Title code 3252)

  1. The initial appointment of a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University shall be for a duration of one (1) year.
  2. The first reappointment of a Postdoctoral Scholar from any title into the title Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee shall be for a minimum of two (2) years; however, reappointment may be for less than two years under the following circumstances:
    1. Less than two (2) years of programmatic work
    2. Less than two (2) years of funding
    3. Exhausted eligibility as a Postdoctoral Scholar as referenced in section A.3
    4. Work authorization limitations
    5. Change in PI
  3. Subsequent reappointment may be for less than one (1) year if the following circumstances occur:
    1. Less than one (1) year of programmatic work
    2. Less than one (1) year of funding
    3. Exhausted ability as a Postdoctoral Scholar as referenced in Section A.3
    4. Work authorization limitations

Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow (Title code 3253) and Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct (Title code 3254)

  1. Appointments and reappointments into the title(s) Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow and/or Postdoctoral Scholars – Paid Direct shall be for a minimum duration equal to the duration of the fellowship or extramural funding.
  2. The University may supplement Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellows and Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Directs. If the University provides a supplement to meet the experience scale minimum or to provide an additional supplement above the minimum, the appointment shall be treated in accordance with the provisions above.

Interim Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (Title code 3256)

  1. When the University appoints a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Interim Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee title, the appointment shall be for less than one (1) year. The 3256 title code is restricted to recent graduates who earned a UCLA doctoral degree. Should an Interim Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (TC 3256) be appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (TC 3252) at the conclusion of the interim appointment, the hire date shall remain the original date of appointment into the interim title.

As a postdoctoral scholar, your minimum salary is determined by the number of months of your previous postdoctoral experience. If you have worked previously as a postdoc at other universities, the length of time you served as a postdoc is used to calculate your experience level. The table below shows the minimum salary/stipend rates for experience levels. If you are reappointed or are appointed to a multi-year contract, your salary will be increased to either the next experience level or by 2%, whichever is greater, on your anniversary date.







Experience Level





Level 0 ( 0 – 11 months)
Level 1 (12 – 23 months)
Level 2 (24 – 35 months)
Level 3 (36 – 47 months)
Level 4 (48 – 59 months)
Level 5 (60 – 71 months)

New Postdoc Contract

With the ratification of the new postdoc contract on 10/17/16, you may receive an increase. On December 1, 2016, all postdocs who are paid below the new scale (see table above) will be raised to the new scale for their experience level. For example, a postdoc with an appointment from 4/1/16-3/31/17 at a level 0 rate of $43,692 will be raised to a level 0 rate of $48,216 effective 12/1/16-3/31/17. However, if postdocs are at level 0 with an off-scale rate of $50,000, they will not receive an increase on 12/1/16 because they are above the new minimum of $48,216.

Additional Information

If you have questions about your compensation, contact your departmental administrator. View the UC-UAW contract, including the article on compensation.

Time And Effort Commitment
  1. Postdoctoral Scholars are full-time FLSA-exempt professional appointees. Postdoctoral Scholars are appointed with the expectation that they will have a full-time involvement in scholarly pursuits, except as provided in D. below.
  2. The workweek for full-time exempt appointees is normally at least 40 hours, with the emphasis placed on meeting the responsibilities assigned to the position, on making progress toward their professional goals, and on demonstrating their research and creative capabilities, rather than on working a specified number of hours. Required work schedules must be reasonable, and related to the research needs. In recognition of the professional exempt status of Postdoctoral Scholars, assigned work schedules provide the flexibility to meet research goals and to occasionally allow a schedule of less than 40 hours in a week.
  3. Postdoctoral Scholars do not receive overtime compensation or compensatory time off.
    1. Upon written request of the appointee and concurrence of the supervisor, the University may grant an exception to the full time appointment expectation when the appointee is unable to make a full-time commitment for reasons of health, family responsibilities, or employment external to the University. Such a request must take into account extramural funding agency requirements, if any. When a Postdoctoral Scholar simultaneously holds a University teaching appointment or other University position, the percent time of the Postdoctoral Scholar appointment normally will be reduced so that the sum of the percent times of the two appointments equals one-hundred percent (100%).
    2. When the University reduces an appointment as described in D.1., above, the supervisor and Postdoctoral Scholar shall sign a written agreement specifying the reduction in hours of work and concomitant responsibilities.
    3. The full-time work expectation in A and B, will be pro-rated for Postdoctoral Scholars with less than a full-time appointment as provided in D.
Notice Of Appointment/Reappointment

Article 2
This section applies to Postdoctoral Scholars to whom the University has made a written offer of employment, who have accepted such offer in writing, who have satisfied work eligibility requirements for U.S. citizens and non-citizens, who have complied with all timelines – including work authorization processing requirements – stipulated in that letter, and for whom funding remains available.

As soon as practicable, but no later than seven (7) calendar days following the start of the appointment, or thirty (30) calendar days prior to the start of a reappointment, the University shall provide a Postdoctoral Scholar a written notice of appointment/reappointment. The appointment notice shall include:

  1. job title;
  2. beginning and end dates of the appointment;
  3. appointment percentage;
  4.  supervisor’s name;
  5. department or academic/research unit;
  6. anticipated place of employment (location of work-site – e.g., main campus, remote location, medical center);
  7. a brief description of the anticipated research project(s);
  8. funding information available to the University at the time of appointment including: salary/stipend amount; supplemental compensation information, if any; and funding source(s);
  9. a summary of benefits including eligibility for participation in the Postdoctoral Scholars Benefit Plan (PSBP) and the requisite enrollment information;
  10. a statement that the Postdoctoral Scholar is exclusively represented by the UAW, and the website address for the Union and the Agreement;
  11. a statement that the University maintains individual personnel files and that the Postdoctoral Scholar may access their file in accordance with the provisions of Article 18 – Personnel Files; and
  12. the name of a person to contact for information regarding the appointment (with contact information).

Campuses may provide additional information in appointment and reappointment letters (e.g., whether the appointment is renewable, and the conditions for such renewal).

Defining the Home Department
  1. The home department is the department that issues the Offer Letter, which the Graduate Division then lists in the official Notice of Appointment.
  2. The home department has fiduciary and overall responsibility for the postdoctoral scholar during the appointment period regardless of any the changes in funding. For example, a home department may not pay the salary, but it is responsible to ensure the postdoctoral scholar gets paid.
  3. If the postdoctoral scholar changes her/his primary mentor or research project during the appointment period, then the home department may change.
Defining the Mentor
  1. The mentor is the faculty member designated in the Offer Letter, which then the Graduate Division lists in the Notice of Appointment.
  2. The mentor has academic responsibility for the postdoctoral scholar during the appointment period regardless of whether the postdoctoral scholar has additional mentors.
Annual Review

The supervisor shall provide the Postdoctoral Scholar with at least one written review per 12-month period. This Annual Review is a comprehensive assessment of the Postdoctoral Scholar’s research progress and achievements, and professional development activities during the previous year. The supervisor may utilize an independently developed or a pre-established form when conducting the Annual Review.


A Postdoctoral Scholar in the “Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow” or “Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct” title may have his or her stipend supplemented with additional funding beyond the scale minimum. Supplementation must conform with the terms of the fellowship or traineeship and, if paid with University funds, be paid in the “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” title.

Revised 12/2016