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Postdoc Basics for New Faculty

Stanford postdoctoral scholars are appointed as advanced trainees for the purpose of advanced studies, research, and training under the mentorship of a Stanford faculty member. Postdoctoral scholars are expected to attend to their professional development as well as their research program during their time at Stanford, and a variety of offices and programs can support faculty and postdocs in that endeavor.

Information provided here is for your convenience. Your departmental administrator and OPA are available to answer questions and to initiate an appointment when you are ready.

Start Date  Postdocs must produce proof of degree (PhD, MD, or equivalent) by the appointment start date. Acceptable proof includes a copy of the actual degree, or a letter from the Registrar (or equivalent), stating that all components of the degree have been met, and including a date when the degree is expected to be conferred. A letter from the graduate supervisor, department or program chair is not acceptable.
Term Limits  Postdoctoral training at Stanford is limited to 5 years including all previous postdoctoral training. Petitions for a 6th year of training are reviewed by a faculty committee and by the Vice Provost of Graduate Education. Initial appointments are usually for a minimum of one year, although 9-month appointments are allowable.
Some faculty choose to appoint a postdoc for an initial year to assess performance, followed by a longer appointment if both parties are willing. Longer appointments are especially helpful for postdocs on visas who must travel to renew the visa at each appointment renewal. Note that early termination of an appointment is allowable only in specific circumstances, and upon consultation with the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.
Visa  Most international postdocs are appointed on a J-1 visa. The Bechtel International Center oversees this program. Both new and renewing visas may be subject to processing times that are beyond Stanford's control.
Training Plan  Postdocs are trainees at Stanford, here to develop research independence and to contribute to the Stanford mission. All postdocs must complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and discuss it with their faculty mentors within three months of their initial appointment, and annually thereafter. The IDP is intended to support a broad conversation about career goals, expectations, and resources. OPA maintains a record of the IDP meeting dates that may be used to support progress reports and grant proposals for federal funding.
Compensation  All postdocs receive at least the minimum postdoc salary, as well as benefits for themselves. Postdocs who wish to include dependents on their benefits plan pay subsidized rates. Faculty sponsors are responsible for compensation, which may include salary from grants and contracts, fellowships, or a combination thereof. 
Salary  A minimum postdoc salary is applicable to all postdoctoral scholars on campus, regardless of their source of funding. Funding in foreign currency is re-assessed quarterly to offset fluctuating exchange rates.
Benefits  All postdocs are entitled to receive a benefits package administered through OPA, and must be covered by benefits throughout their appointment. The institutional portion of the cost of benefits is covered by the faculty sponsor, either through the fringe associated with salary, or, for stipend-paid postdocs, through a faculty account. Current benefits rates can be found here. Postdocs who wish to waive the benefits package must provide proof of acceptable alternative benefits to Postdoc Benefits for review. Note that a faculty sponsor cannot alter the terms of the benefits package.

Selected Resources

(Note that the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is available to advise on all matters)

Appointments                                       Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) Staff
Benefits                                                   Postdoc Benefits
Professional Development              BEAM, School of Medicine Biosci CareersVPGE
Conflict Resolution                             University Ombuds, School of Medicine Ombuds, Faculty Staff Help Center
Mental Health (non-emergency)     Faculty Staff Help Center, Guidance Resources 
Emergencies (24/7)*                              GLO Dean, Guidance Resources
Visas                                                           Bechtel International Center
Child/Elder Care                                    WorkLife Office, Guidance Resources

*Emergency Contact Information

Graduate Life Office (after-hours emergencies)     723-8222; ID #: 25085
Guidance Resources          855-666-0519; Code: SUPDPAP