Post doc

Guidelines for Postdoctoral Scholars


The postdoctoral experience at Arizona State University provides individuals who have recently completed a doctoral degree with a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training under the guidance of a supervising faculty mentor. Postdoctoral appointments are by their nature temporary, and are designed primarily to benefit the postdoctoral scholar’s future career development as an independent scientist. Postdoctoral appointments may be funded through salaries, typically from a supervisor’s grant, or through training grant or fellowship stipends.

The Postdoctoral Affairs Office, part of the Graduate School, provides community-building and professional development programs and is a resource of postdoctoral and early career scholars at ASU.

Appointment is based upon the postdoctoral scholar’s research credentials and availability of funds. Postdoctoral scholars typically have been awarded a doctoral degree within the past five years, after which time it is expected that they will transition into independent academic or research careers.

Offer letters should be conveyed in writing and should describe the research training opportunities available to the postdoctoral scholar as well as the individual’s specific responsibilities. The offer letter must specify the start date; the amount of annual compensation; and the requirement that the postdoctoral scholar will comply with applicable rules and regulations of Arizona State University and the Arizona Board of Regents, including the ABOR Intellectual Property Policy (6-908). The postdoctoral scholar must accept the offer in writing.

Offers are contingent upon the successful outcome (as determined by the university) of the pre-employment screening activities (including a criminal history check under Arizona Board of Regents policy, 6-709).

Postdoctoral scholar appointments may be renewed annually on a fiscal year basis for up to four years, so long as the postdoctoral scholar is within five years from receipt of the doctoral degree. Any further extensions must be approved by the Office of the University Provost. Appointments may be terminated prior to the end of the contract year based on unsatisfactory performance or when funding is no longer available.

For information about benefits available to postdoctoral scholars please go to: New employee orientation: postdoctoral scholar hires.

The university’s vacation policy provides for 10 days paid vacation in year one and 15 days per year in years 2 - 4. Unused vacation does not carry over from year to year and will not be paid out at the conclusion of the postdoctoral appointment.

Health insurance and any tuition for postdoctoral scholars may be charged to sponsored accounts or paid by state or local accounts.

Please refer also to ABOR Conditions of Postdoctoral Scholar Service Policy (6-310).

The supervising faculty member is responsible for developing, in concert with the postdoctoral scholar, a plan of research and the goals, objectives and expectations of the training program. Faculty supervisors are expected to regularly and frequently communicate with postdoctoral scholars; provide oral or written evaluations as they deem appropriate; and offer mentoring, including career advice and job placement assistance. The faculty mentor should also ensure that postdoctoral scholars have an environment adequate for fulfilling their responsibilities.

Postdoctoral scholars are expected to carry out the research plan and fulfill the goals established with the supervising faculty member; to assist the faculty member in fulfilling the requirements of the grant, contract or project in a timely manner; to communicate regularly with the faculty member; and to notify the faculty member of any change in research plans. Postdoctoral scholars funded through institutional training grants or fellowships may have additional responsibilities identified by the funding source.

Updated May 1, 2008