Postdoctoral FAQs

Here you will find some answers to some frequently asked questions concerning Postdoctoral Researchers in the Department of Chemistry.


What is the difference between a postdoctoral associate and a postdoctoral fellow?

A Postdoctoral Associate is an employee paid by a sponsored research grant administered through MIT.  Postdoctoral Fellows typically receive a stipend from an outside agency, whose funds sometimes are administered through MIT.  Postdoctoral Fellows are not employees of the Institute. For more information, please see


As a Postdoctoral Associate, what health insurance options do I qualify for?

Postdoctoral Associates holding appointments of at least 3 months or greater qualify for the MIT Traditional and MIT Choice health plans, in addition to other employee benefits


As a Postdoctoral Fellow, what health insurance options do I qualify for?

Postdoctoral Fellows holding appointments of at least 3 months or greater qualify for the MIT Affiliate health plan, in addition to other fellow benefits.  In cases where the Fellow is on the Affiliate single or spouse plan, the Vice President for Research asks that faculty cover the difference in cost between the MIT Traditional and Affiliate health plans.  


What happens if I change status from a Postdoctoral Associate to a Fellow, or vice versa?

Changing from one postdoctoral status to another can have a number of implications, including eligibilty for benefits, eligiblity for certain visa types, tax implications, insurance rates, and more.  Please see the Office for the Vice President for Finance's notice detailing some of these changes.  If you will be changing status, it is important to be sure to speak with Michele Harris, Human Resources Coordinator to discuss your particular change in benefits and tax status.


What are the salary levels for Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows at MIT?

Postdoctoral salary levels are set by the Vice President for Research based on years of experience in accordance with the NIH stipend rates.  Please consult the Vice President for Research's webpage for more information on the current minimum salary levels.


What are the policies regarding paid time off?

Postdoctoral Associates with at least one year appointments accrue 15 days of vacation time during their first year, and 20 days each year thereafter.  All vacation time must be reported in the SRS Vacation Tracker within 30 days of the trip.  Postdoctoral Associates should consult wtih their supervisors prior to taking time off from the laboratory.  Postdoctoral Fellows do not formally accrue vacation time.  However, MIT expects that fellows receive the same vacation time as associates.  Postdoctoral Fellows should consult with their supervisors prior to taking time off from the laboratory.  


When do I get paid?

Postdocs who receive payment through MIT are paid on the last business day of each month.


How long do postdoctoral appointments at MIT last?  

Postdoctoral Researchers are typically appointed on one-year terms renewable by mutual agreement and funding availability.  The maximum length of a postdoctoral appointment at MIT is 4 years.

I will be leaving prior to my appointment end date.  Whom do I notify?

Please notify your supervisor and group administrative assistant as soon as possible in advance of your departure date.  Please also be sure to email Michele Harris, Human Resources Coordinator, to notify her of your ending appointment.


How do I get card access for my laboratory?

Please ask your advisor, laboratory safety contact, or laboratory administrative assistant to request laboratory access for you.  (Note:  this request most come from one of the aforementioned parties, and not from the postdoc him or herself).


I am an international postdoc and will be travelling.  What do I need to do?

At least 30 days prior to travelling, it is important to discuss your travel plans with the International Scholars Office, so that they may advise you on any additional steps to prepare for your trip.