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Job Aid For Recommendation

Purpose: To generate a postdoctoral appointment offer letter.

Confidentiality: Web forms are part of Student Records. Do not enter confidential or sensitive information.

Processing Timeline

  • U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, and F1 OPT visa holders: 5-7 business days before the requested start date
  • J-1 scholars and DS-2019 processing: 8 weeks (9-10 weeks preferred) before the requested start date
  • H-1B visa holders: 3-4 months with premium processing (requires premium processing fee)

Submitting a Recommendation form with incomplete supporting documents or insufficient proof of doctoral degree will result in processing delays in the timeframes noted.


  • In AXESS
  • Mouse over the OPA/Bechtel Center tab
  • Click Postdoctoral Administrative Forms
  • Click Recommendation Form


To create a new Recommendation Form, click “Add”

  • Select Postdoc Information Sheet field: Click the magnifying glass                                   
  • In the Look Up Box, enter the postdoc first and last names, click “Look Up”
  • From Search Results, click the name of the postdoc
  • The Look Up Box closes and the Transaction Details Box is populated
  • Postdoctoral Request Type field: Click on the dropdown menu arrow and select “Clinical” or “Research,” as appropriate
  • Appointee Information, Department Applied, and Education Details Boxes are populated
  • Is this request for Department Transfer Field: Defaults to “No”
  • If the postdoc is transferring to your department as a postdoc from another Stanford department, click the drop down arrow and select “Yes”
  • It is important to coordinate the transfer date with the transferring department to comply with visa policies, and ensure continuation of pay, benefits, and ID Card privileges, and avoid a gap in dates from the end date to the new start date


  • Comparative Display of Biographic Data link – this link is not functional
  • Offer Letter link: enter all appointment information and click “Save” to review the Offer Letter
  • Please review dates of appointment, funding source(s), and any additional text you entered
  • Complete Information Sheet link: review the postdoc’s Information Sheet


  • Academic Career field: Click the magnifying glass
  • Click “Look Up"
  • Click the appropriate career (GR or MED)
  • Academic Program field: Click the magnifying glass
  • Click “Look Up”
  • Click on the appropriate Academic Program Description (must use Academic Program of the Faculty Sponsor)
  • Academic Plan field: Click on the magnifying glass
  • Click “Look Up”
  • Click on the Academic Program Plan Description (search results will be blank if Academic Program field is blank)
  • Academic Sub-Plan field: For School of Medicine only. If the program has a sub-plan, repeat the same steps above to enter a sub-plan
  • Other Stanford Associations field: Non-degree granting programs (Independent Labs, SLAC, BioDesign, etc., use this field)
  • Click on the magnifying glass
  • Click “Look Up”
  • Click the appropriate association for the postdoc


  • APPOINTMENT INFORMATION BOX (“Request Type: Clinical” does not include all fields noted below)
  • Area of Research/Training - Position Description field:
  • Enter a brief job description to complete the Offer Letter sentence that begins “During this appointment you will be involved in…”
  • DO NOT CAPITALIZE the first word of your text; DO NOT ENTER A PERIOD at the end of your text; it is coded in the offer letter text
  • Appointment Start Date field: Enter the requested appointment start date
  • Appointment End Date field: Enter the requested appointment end date
  • Offer Letter Date field: Enter the preferred date of issue of the offer letter
  • Will the postdoc conduct research outside of Stanford campus field: Defaults to “No”
  • If “Yes,” please enter the research location(s) and travel dates
  • Will the postdoc work in a laboratory field: Defaults to “No”
  • If “Yes,” complete the follow up question
  • Is this a joint appointment Instructor/Clinical Instructor field: Defaults to “No”
  • If “Yes,” complete the follow up questions
  • Research Experience since last conferral date field: Months are pre-populated based on work experience entered by postdoc in the Information Sheet
  • KNOWN ISSUE: the pre-populated number of months may include pre-conferral research data or other work experience that should be excluded
  • CAREFULLY REVIEW the CV for the correct number of months of research experience. For help, visit the calculating research experience page.
  • Research Experience noted by department field: Enter number of months of research experience from your calculation
  • If postdoc is an MD will they have patient contact field: Defaults to “No”
  • If “yes” complete the Additional Information regarding Patient Contact field
  • Additional Information regarding patient contact field: Complete if postdoc will have patient contact
  • Additional details regarding this appointment to be included in the offer letter field:
  • Entered text creates a new paragraph in the Offer Letter


    • Funding types are Salary, Stipend, and Outside Funding
  • If no funds are paid from a particular salary type, LEAVE THAT DESCRIPTION FIELD BLANK
  • Entering “None” or “N/A” will populate as text in the funding sentence of the Offer Letter
  • Funding Description field(s): In the appropriate New Salary, New Stipend, or New Outside Support Description fields:
  • Provide the following description: US or Foreign; Agency/Fellowship Name; Dates of Funding
  • Example Description 1: Foreign; Swiss Natl Funding Fllshp; 05/01/20-04/30/21
  • Example Description 2: US; John Doe Gift Funds; 10/01/19-09/30/20
  • Amount fields: Enter the funding amount(s), ensuring that the total (or combined total) meets or exceeds the Required Salary listed
  • If funding data is entered in the Outside Support field, a copy of the outside funding letter must be uploaded to Nolij
  • Outside funding letters must provide an award start and end date and a specific funding amount
  • Funds must be stated in U.S. dollars, or upload a currency conversion
  • Outside support must be entered in GFS as Outside Funding lines
  • Departmental quarterly review of currency exchange rate is required to ensure funding does not fall below the minimum
  • Outside funding must be supplemented by department funds when exchange rate fluctuations result in funding falling below minimum


  • For international scholars, click the drop down arrow and select the appropriate visa type


  • SPONSOR INFORMATION BOX (ONLY for “Request Type: Clinical”)
  • Post Graduate Year Field: Click the drop down arrow and select the appropriate PGY
  • Various Questions with Radio Buttons: Select the correct answer. 


  • NOTES TO APPROVER BOX may be used for:
  • Notify OPA of an existing Student ID number
  • Request policy exceptions
  • Explain any unusual appointment terms
  • Notify OPA of erroneous Info Sheet data to be corrected (names, birth dates, degree conferral dates, etc.)


  • Ensure postdoc has uploaded the following documents:
  • Doctoral diploma (English translation if issued in foreign language), OR
  • Letter of completion (issued by Registrar or equivalent; no department letters)
  • Letter must confirm ALL degree requirements are COMPLETE, and the expected degree conferral date
  • Postdoc CV
  • For International Scholars:
  • Passport: copy of bio-demographic page (with picture)
  • For J-1 Visa status: Admin submits a DS-2019 request web form
  • For F1 OPT status: Postdoc provides copy of EAD card or application if card not yet issued
  • For H-1B Visa status: Postdoc provides copy of most recent I-797
  • For Permanent Residents: Postdoc provides a copy of green card
  • Outside Funding Award letter (if data entered in Outside Support field)
  • Admin uploads the following documents, as applicable:
  • Any documents not available to the postdoc when Info Sheet was submitted
  • Research Experience Calculator (if postdoc has previous research experience)
  • Currency conversion printout (if outside funding is paid in foreign currency)
  • Outside funded benefits coverage approval email (if applicable)


  • Click “Save” and then click “Preview Offer Letter”
  • Review the offer letter for punctuation, grammar, and any text you entered
  • Click the Certification Box to confirm you have reviewed the Offer Letter text
  • Click “Submit."


“HOLD” Recommendation Form while awaiting final Proof Of Degree

  • Begin the appointment process by sending the invite
  • After review, if all else is in order on the Information Sheet, approve it without proof of degree
  • Create and submit the Recommendation Form for Department Manager approval
  • After the postdoc accepts the online offer, HOLD your verification approval and submission to OPA until you have received and uploaded proof of degree to Nolij
  • THEN submit the recommendation form to OPA


To search for a previously saved or submitted Recommendation Form

  • In AXESS, mouse over the OPA/Bechtel tab
  • Click the Postdoctoral Administrative Forms link
  • Click the “Recommendation Form” radio button
  • To search for all Recommendation Forms, click “Search”
  • To search for a specific Recommendation Form:
  • In the search criteria fields, enter the postdoc’s First and Last Names, and click “Search”
  • From Search Results, click the Transaction ID of the Recommendation Form


After Admin Submission of Recommendation Form

  • The Recommendation Form routes to the next approver, e.g., Department Manager, DFA, etc.
  • After DFA/Department Manager approval, the postdoc receives an email with instructions for accepting the offer letter
  • The Admin receives an email to return to workflow to verify the Recommendation Form
  • The Admin's Approve button is disabled until the postdoc accepts the offer letter
  • After the Admin verifies and approves the Recommendation Form, it routes to OPA


Searching for Student ID

Please allow 24-48 hours (longer if high volume) for Student IDs to be created after appointment approval.

If you do not have access to PeopleSoft or GFS to search for a Student ID, use this method:

  1. In AXESS, mouse over the OPA/Bechtel Center tab
  2. Click the Postdoc Administrative Forms link
  3. Click the Change Transactions button
  4. Click "Add"
  5. Click the magnifying glass to the right of the Student ID field
  6. In the Look Up box, enter the postdoc’s first and last names
  7. Click "Look Up"
  8. The student ID is displayed in the Search Results
  9. Write down (or copy and paste) the ID number
  10. Exit the look up box; exit the change form without saving or submitting


Rejected Offer Letter Return to Workflow

  • When a postdoc rejects the offer letter the recommendation form it goes to the Admin Verify role in workflow
  • Admin has to go into workflow and "return" the recommendation form to him/herself 
  • The recommendation form then returns to draft mode for editing by the Admin in Postdoc Administrative Forms database


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