Guide to Postdoctoral Appointments

Postdoctoral Researchers come to MIT to develop their scholarly compentence.  They are recent Ph.D. graduates who work under the supervision of a faculty member.  Postdoctoral appointments have a maximum total length of 4 years at MIT, with possibility to request extension to a fifth year from the Dean of the School of Science.  In most cases, faculty members considering extending Postdoctoral Associates to a fifth year at MIT should consider promoting them to the position of Research Scientist.

Postdoctoral appointments are term appointments typically one year in length.  Renewal requres a documented performance review and meeting.

Appointment Types:

There are two types of Postdoctoral Researchers at MIT:

Postdoctoral Associates are employees of MIT typically paid from sponsored research accounts.  Postdoctoral Associates are fully benefits eligible.  Their appointments incur EB (Employee Benefits), Vacation Accrual, and F&A (Facilities and Administration) charges. When a Postdoctoral Associate takes vacation,  the sponsored research account used for salary is credited for each day taken.  Postdoctoral Associates cannot be appointed on Fellowship accounts.

Postdoctoral Fellows are typically the recipients of a named fellowship, such as one from NIH, NSERC, NSF, JSPS, DAAD, or other sources.  Postdoctoral Fellows cannot be appointed on a sponsored research account.  In cases where a Postdoc's fellowship falls below the MIT minimum, it is necessary for a faculty member to provide him or her a supplement from a sponsored research account (assuming effort is put on that award) or from a discretionary account.


Funding Levels:

There are minimum salary levels for all postdoctoral appointments based on years of post-Ph.D. experience, whether within MIT or outside of MIT.  To determine the current minimum funding levels, please see the Office for Vice President for Research website on Postdoctoral Appointments.

How to Request an Appointment:

If you are interested in bringin a Postdoctoral Associate or Fellow into your group, please email Human Resources Coordinator Michele Harris as eary as possible to begin the necessary appointment paperwork. 


Visa Sponsorship:

Visa sponsorship for incoming Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows is handled by the International Scholars Office.  Human Resources Coordinator Michele Harris is the Department's Liasion to this office.  Please contact her to intiate visa processing for International Scholars.  Note:  Please allow allow at least 75 days' lead time for incoming Interational Scholars on J-1 visas.  Most of our International Scholars are sponsored on a J-1 visa.  Those requiring H-1B visa sponsorship require 6-8 months of lead time.


Health Insurance Subsidy

Though Postdoctoral Fellows are not benefits eligible employees, they do qualify for the MIT Affiliate Health plan.  As the Affiliate Health plan costs more than the MIT Tradition Health plan for Postdoctoral Associates, MIT requires faculty to cover this difference in cost.  Please see the Office of the Vice President for Research website for the specific subsidy rates.