Terms of Service

Postdoctoral Researcher appointments are temporary, have fixed end dates, and are subject to the following rules.

Appointments are typically made for a one-year term, renewable for up to three additional years until a fixed end date. Renewal for a fifth year requires a documented academic justification, a vote of the departmental faculty, and approval by the cognizant dean.

Extension of appointment beyond a total of five years is possible only when warranted by special circumstances, and requires documented academic justification, a vote of the department, approval by the dean, and approval by the Provost.

The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral experience may not exceed seven years, including postdoctoral work at other institutions. By exception, the Provost may grant an extension when justified by extraordinary circumstances, or when it has been documented that in the field or sub-field it is the norm that a third postdoctoral position precedes securing a faculty position in a comparable institution.

It is within the University’s sole discretion not to reappoint a Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS). Reappointment normally is contingent upon various factors including but not limited to satisfactory performance (including compliance with all applicable University policies), work authorization, availability of funding, and programmatic need. If the University decides not to reappoint a Postdoctoral Scholar after the fixed end date, his or her employment will end at that time and no further notice will be provided to that effect.


Postdoctoral Researchers are of three kinds, determined primarily by the funding agency that supports the appointee. Their eligibility to teach, whether as instructors of record with the rank of Lecturer or as assistants, likewise follows the kind of funding.

Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS)
Because Postdoctoral Scholars are in a full-time program, at 100% effort, they may not teach except under the following conditions:

  1. If teaching is required by the source of funding and is part of the program of training, then after appointment as a Lecturer (or another role) has been approved, the PDS may teach for no additional compensation, since the compensation for teaching is included in the regular salary. Mentoring of the teaching must be part of the mentoring plan.
  2. If teaching is not part of the scope of work, then only if the source of funding allows a reduction of effort on the grant of 33% for one quarter for a Lecturer (some part of that for a TA or CA) may the PDS be appointed as Lecturer (or hired as a TA or CA). The compensation for the teaching effort should be the standard rate for an ad hoc Lecturer (or TA or CA): the salary rate for the sponsored research portion of the PDS’s appointment need not be the same as the salary rate for teaching.

Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF)
PDFs are supported on stipends, and may do no work for the University in exchange for that stipend, or as “volunteers.” They may not do part-time teaching as a Lecturer or in another role except under the following conditions:

  1. If the funding source agrees to allow the PDF to do part-time teaching in addition to the training program while retaining the full stipend, the PDF may accept an offer of a teaching (or TA or course assistant) position. A normal for-credit Lectureship is considered to be a 33% effort. Units must use this benchmark when communicating with the source of funds regarding the PDF’s intention to accept a job offer from the University.
  2. The PDF’s participation in or teaching of a course must be relevant to his or her training as a scientist-educator.
  3. A teaching role may not be undertaken merely to supplement the PDF’s stipend or offered to help a department cover its teaching responsibilities.
  4. University policy does not allow PDFs to reduce the effort in order to take a teaching role.

PDF – Paid Direct
These individuals may be hired for any job open to the public, and only through processes open to the public. Compensation must be comparable to what is paid to qualified people who have no existing relationship to the University.

Process for PDS and PDF part-time teaching assignments
Lecturer appointments (but not teaching assistant or course assistant jobs) must be in an appointive unit. Before the start of the quarter in which the teaching role is to begin, and before offering the PDS or PDF the appointment, the unit must obtain the approval of the Provost. In addition to the usual documentation, recommendations for appointment must include:

  1. a memo from URA confirming that the specific plan for teaching is consistent with the funding source;
  2. a copy of the notification sent to the funding source (not needed if the teaching salary is already in the SOW), including, when appropriate, the PI’s description of how he or she will assure that a PDF’s part-time work does not jeopardize the quality or quantity of time devoted to the research training; and
  3. a copy of the mentoring plan that explains how the teaching activity will be mentored.

General Conditions

  1. No PDS or PDF may teach more than one course per year as a Lecturer.
  2. Teaching in any role by a PDS or PDF must be in an area closely related to the PDS’s field, must be in furtherance of his or her training as a scientist and educator, and must be mentored.
  3. The principles in this policy with regard to our obligations to funding sources are applicable to all forms of additional effort by PDSs and PDFs.