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.


  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. when ever 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. Postgraduate Researcher – FY (3240), Postgraduate Researcher – AY (3243), Postgraduate Researcher – AY Extramural Funds (3245), and Postdoctoral Scholar (3370). The University retired these titles on January 1, 2010.

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.

Terms of Service

  1. Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are temporary and have fixed end dates. Appointments are normally one year’s duration.
  2. The initial appointment of a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University shall be for a minimum of one year.
  3. With the concurrence of the Postdoctoral Scholar, reappointment may be for less than a year under circumstances that include:
    a. Fellowship funding is for less than a full year. For example, 18 months, so reappointment is for 1 year + additional 6 months.
    b. Lack of full-year funding. For example, a PI may be waiting for renewal but without confirmation of award, dept is advised to only appoint for the period they have funding.
    c. Continuation of the project is less than 1 year
    d. Visa limitations.
  4. At the request of the Postdoctoral Scholar, the University may agree to bridge the Postdoctoral Scholar’s appointment. For example, the Postdoctoral Scholar may request an appointment for a short duration to carry her/him over from the Postdoctoral Scholar appointment to another anticipated appointment, or training grant.
  5. It is within the University’s sole discretion to appoint, reappoint or not reappoint a Postdoctoral Scholar.
  6. 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.

Compensation (Article 4)

A. General Provisions

The provisions of this section apply only when the referenced terms are implemented.

  1. Nothing shall preclude the University from providing compensation to Postdoctoral Scholars at rates above those required in this Article. Such rates may be provided on appointment, reappointment, anniversary date, and/or as a merit increase.
  2. The provisions of this Article shall not apply to any Postdoctoral Scholar appointed on a grant (e.g., Einstein Fellows, Hubble Fellows) that restricts that Postdoctoral Scholar’s remuneration to only the pay received by the grant.
  3. Increases to the University salary/stipend minima rates shall be made in accord with the NIH Notice pertaining to the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipend Levels. The effective date of the change is the first day of the payroll period following the announcement, except for Postdoctoral Scholars appointed to the Kirschstein Fellowships, for whom the effective date is the date established in the NIH notice.
    a. The implementation of and/or changes to the salary scale does not automatically affect the salaries of Postdoctoral Scholars, except for Kirschstein Fellows as provided in A.3., above.
    b. The new minima will apply to individual salaries/stipends only when a Postdoctoral Scholar is newly appointed, reappointed, or on the anniversary date for those Postdoctoral Scholars with multiple year appointments.
    c. Individual Postdoctoral Scholar salary/stipend increases shall occur in accordance with the provisions of B. and C., below.
  4. When extramural agencies establish stipends at a rate less than the University-established salary/stipend minimum, and the campus elects to proceed with the appointment of a Postdoctoral Scholar, the campus shall provide additional funding to bring the salary/stipend level of the Postdoctoral Scholar up to the established minimum. The supervisor shall arrange the additional funding prior to the begin date of an appointment.
  5. In the event the University is providing a supplement to Postdoctoral Scholars in excess of the Postdoctoral Scholar’s base salary/stipend rate, continuance or discontinuance of the supplement is at the sole discretion of the University, unless the supplement is being provided to meet the salary/stipend requirements of this article.
  6. When the requirements of the sponsoring agency exceed the requirements of this Agreement, with the exception of the provisions of A.2. above, the requirements of the sponsoring agency shall control all salary increases and adjustments for the individual Postdoctoral Scholar.

B. Effective the First Pay Period Following Ratification

  1. A current Postdoctoral Scholar appointed at a rate less than or equal to $47,000 shall receive a salary increase of 3%.
  2. Any Postdoctoral Scholar appointed to a salary above $47,000, shall receive a salary increase of 1.5%.
  3. Any Postdoctoral Scholar appointed after ratification shall receive a salary/stipend of at least $37,740.

C. Effective February 1, 2012

  1. Beginning February 1, 2012, the Postdoctoral Scholar Experience-based Salary/Stipend Minima shall be implemented with the following rates for new appointments, unless the rates are increased as provided in A.3., above, in which case the new Minima shall apply.

    Postdoctoral Scholar Experience Based Salary/Stipend Minima





    Experience Level









    0 (0 – 11 months)









    1 (12 – 23 months)









    2 (24 – 35 months)









    3 (36 – 47 months)









    4 (48 – 60 months)









    5 (61 – 72 months)









    The scale must be applied to all new appointments and reappointments effective February 1, 2016, or later.

  2. Beginning June 1, 2011, once a Postdoctoral Scholar is appointed at or above the appropriate experience rate, all future appointments must be to at least the appropriate experience based
    salary/stipend rate.
    a. In the event a Postdoctoral Scholar initially appointed on or after June 1, 2011 receives a multiple-year appointment, the Postdoctoral Scholar must thereafter receive salary/stipend increases to the appropriate experience-based salary/stipend rate on her/his anniversary date.
    b. If a Postdoctoral Scholar’s salary/stipend amount is above the appropriate experience level on reappointment, or on her/his anniversary date for Postdoctoral Scholars with multi-year appointments, the Postdoctoral Scholar shall receive at least a two percent (2%) salary increase.
  3. Phase-in of Salary Scale for Postdoctoral Scholars employed as of August 12, 2010:
    Beginning June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2014, a Postdoctoral Scholar receiving a salary/stipend below the appropriate experience rate based on her/his experience as a Postdoctoral Scholar, shall be moved (on reappointment or anniversary date) to the appropriate salary rate for her/his experience level provided such move does not exceed a 3% increase from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2013, and a 3.5% increase from June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014. If the increase would exceed 3%, the Postdoctoral Scholar shall receive a 3% increase to her/his salary/stipend for the period through May 31, 2013, and 3.5% through May 31, 2014.

D. Effective June 1, 2014

All Postdoctoral Scholars shall be placed on at least the appropriate NIH-NRSA rates based on the Postdoctoral Scholar’s experience on June 1, 2014.

Time And Effort Commitment (Article 25)

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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 prorated 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.

  1. 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:
    a. job title;
    b. beginning and end dates of the appointment;
    c. appointment percentage;
    d. supervisor’s name;
    e. department or academic/research unit;
    f. anticipated place of employment (location of worksite – e.g., main campus, remote location, medical center);
    g. a brief description of the anticipated research project(s);
    h. funding information available to the University at the time of appointment including: salary/stipend amount; supplemental compensation information, if any; and funding source(s).
    i. a summary of benefits;
    j. a statement that the Postdoctoral Scholar is exclusively represented by the UAW, and the website address for the Union and the Agreement;
    k. a statement that the University maintains individual personnel files and that the Postdoctoral Scholar may access her/his file in accordance with the provisions of Article __;.
    l. name of a person to contact for information regarding the appointment (with contact information);
    m. a statement that the University may require the use of vacation prior to the end of the Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee’s appointment period.
  2. Campuses may provide additional information in appointment/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 then OPVSS lists in the official Notice of Appointment.
  2. The home department has fiduciary and overall responsibility for the PDS 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 OPVSS 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 her/his professional development 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 be in conformance with the terms of the fellowship or traineeship and, if paid with University funds, be paid in the “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” title.