Welcome to Stanford!
We Help Postdocs Thrive
Stanford has a rich and supportive training environment for postdocs. The following groups are the core of postdoc support. As you plan your training, these are the best places to start with any questions.
- Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)
OPA supports all 2500 postdocs at Stanford University. We:
- Manage all appointments
- Administer all benefits
- Provide robust professional development
- Answer questions, consult about concerns, celebrate postdocs
- Postdoc Administrators
Your departmental postdoc administrator likely helped you set up your appointment. Postdoc Admins are the first line of support for postdocs at the departmental level. They are the link between you, your appointment, and OPA. They have a wealth of knowledge about living and thriving here, so contact them with any questions you have, before and after you arrive.
SURPAS is the postdoc association which represents all postdocs at Stanford. SURPAS advocates on behalf of the entire population and organizes social activities with committees focused on family, international scholars, JEDI, transportation and housing, teaching and outreach, sports, and career development. SURPAS hosts two email lists: SURPAS announcements for general events, and the Postdoc Exchange, featuring postdoc-to-postdoc postings including housing, furniture, cars, bikes, and more - it is a great resource for incoming and current postdocs.
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Requirements for your Start Date
The following items must be completed prior to or within the week of your start date. More information will be provided by your department’s postdoc admin or emails from OPA.
Obtain your SUNetID so you can set up email and other services
Your departmental administrator will send you your ID number. Use this to create your SUNetID, which you need for email and other services.
Attend a Postdoc Benefits Orientation so you can sign up for health benefits (this is required within 31 days of arriving)
Your postdoc administrator will sign you up for a Postdoc Benefits Orientation, where incoming postdocs and their spouses learn about the benefits offered to them. Sessions are on Zoom, and spouses are encouraged to attend.
Complete the Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU-18)
Use your SUNet ID to log in to Axess; click the “Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU-18)” link to review and submit.
Complete your Data and Device Attestation to ensure you meet required encryption
Update your contact information on Axess
Axess requests multiple contact addresses to keep your pay on schedule, ensure that you are in compliance, subscribe to important information, confirm your eligibility for the Go pass, and help us to keep you informed in the case of an emergency.
Use your SUNet ID to log in to Axess and go to the Student Services Center.
Select "Personal Information" to update addresses, phone numbers, and the Stanford Directory.
Update your Mailing address to ensure receipt of tax documents. J visa holders are required to maintain a home address that is their permanent residence. To receive mail from Stanford, you must have a Mailing Address. Otherwise, mail is delivered to your home address.
Add or update your Local address for Go Pass eligibility.
International Scholars: add or update your Permanent Home address to ensure SEVIS compliance.
Include your full Phone Number with area code (e.g. (555) 123-4567). Do not use 5-digit campus extensions.
Enter Emergency Contact information for us to use in case of emergency.
International Scholars only: Confirm your arrival
Confirm your arrival on the Bechtel International Center Mandatory Confirmation of Arrival at Stanford site no later than the 15 days after the "From" date on the DS-2019 form. Please read the "Limited Validity of the DS-2019" for more details.
Obtain your Stanford ID Card
Campus Card Services can generate a virtual ID card (accessed through the Stanford Mobile application). If you live in campus housing and/or do not have a smartphone, you can obtain a physical Stanford ID card by making an appointment at the ID Card Office after completing the Campus Card Services process.
School of Medicine postdocs only: a second Stanford photo ID is needed for access to buildings located in the School of Medicine. Email DL-SecurityServicesAccessOffice@stanfordhealthcare.org for your SoM ID card.
Check STARS for any required trainings or courses
School of Medicine Postdocs: Check for additional training requirements
SoM Postdocs who 1. May be assigned duties with potential for occupational health exposures related to clinical research participants, and 2. Perform job duties (including Epic access) within SHC, LPCH, and/or other Stanford affiliated research patient care locations must complete Health Screening, Safety and Compliance Training for Clinical Research Staff & Postdocs. For more information about this training or to view a training checklist, please visit the Spectrum Website. Questions go to email@example.com.
Requirements after you Arrive
- Complete your IDP
Your initial Individual Development Plan (IDP) meeting helps you set expectations with your faculty sponsor (mentor). Your initial IDP must be completed within three months of your start date. Sign-up for direct deposit (pay) in Axess
- Confirm receipt of your first paycheck: Salary, Stipend or Outside Support
Salary: paid on the 7th and 22nd. View online pay statements in Axess.
Stipend: paid on last day of the month. Pay statement is sent to Campus Work address in Axess; no online statements are available.
Outside Support: paid at discretion of outside institution.
To view paychecks in Axess: click on the Employee Center and in the Pay box, click on "View all Pay Statements"
- International Scholars only: Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
Postdoctoral scholars are required to have a social security number (SSN) or tax identification number (TIN). If you do not have a number, apply for one here: https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ – when you receive your new SSN/TIN, report it to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
** Special Reminder about Protecting Your Social Security Number (SSN) **
Never list a SSN publicly. Never send SSNs via electronic format (i.e., email, text, etc.). Never have a computer login system where a person has to use their SSN. Never use SSNs on ID cards. Never send SSNs on postcards. Never store SSNs on unprotected computer systems. Never carry a Social Security Number (SSN) card with you.
- Report your ORCiD
Reporting your ORCiD helps us track outcomes data for postdocs, which drives program improvement efforts. If you do not have an ORCID ID, register here for this unique ID to distinguish you from other researchers across your career.
Things to Consider before Moving
- Cost of Living
The Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas in the United States. We strongly encourage you to create a budget that includes your salary, the cost of housing, and other necessities, as well as other cost factors (like childcare, hobbies, etc.), to have realistic expectations for your budget as a postdoc. The best way to know if there is financial help for relocation is to ask your faculty sponsor. Relocation costs are not routinely reimbursed, but some faculty do have funds for this purpose.
Your first paycheck will not arrive for 2 weeks if you are paid salary, or one month if you are paid stipend. Make sure to have some funds for living expenses set aside for those early weeks.
- Finding Housing
The OPA Housing website has helpful information to support your housing search.
Stanford offers several options for on-campus childcare and a childcare subsidy for postdocs. Childcare centers on campus and around Stanford can have long waitlists, so be sure to start exploring options early.
- Set Up Banking
Stanford has several banks on campus. International Postdocs: Stanford Federal Credit Union does not require a Social Security Number to set up a new account.
- Plan Your Commute
Parking & Transportation Services helps plan the best route to campus; obtain your Caltrain Go Pass; register your bike; find ride matching services for carpools (or purchase a parking permit). The free Marguerite shuttle provides transportation on campus and to train stations.
Getting Settled at Stanford
- Meet with your departmental postdoctoral administrator/lab manager to:
- Obtain Department/Lab "How To" information.
- Complete payroll forms (I-9, LA-6, W4...) and provide copies of your documents.
- Discuss department/lab email lists and required training.
- Sign up for your lab, department, and other groups or organizations' mailing lists for announcements.
- Check out Postdoc Benefits
- Check out your Stanford Profile
Access and update your School of Medicine profile or University profile to add research interests, honors and awards, and a photo. This is a great way to highlight your work through an official Stanford channel.
- International Postdocs: check visa renewal deadlines
Talk with your faculty sponsor, departmental postdoctoral administrator, and Bechtel International Center to establish a timeline for visa renewal deadlines and processing procedures.
- Pay U.S. and California taxes
Taxes are due April 15 every year. Stipend-paid postdocs are responsible for quarterly estimated taxes. Stanford provides only general tax information. OPA has general tax information and includes links to government websites. International postdocs should review the Bechtel International Center website. If you have questions about taxes, seek reputable advisors or pay for services.
- Sign up for emergency alerts
Emergency Alerts keep you up to date during local emergencies. Some alerts you may find useful are Stanford University’s AlertSU System, San Mateo County’s SMCAlert System, and Santa Clara County’s AlertSCC System.
- Prepare for earthquakes
Earthquakes are common in the Bay Area. Check out these preparedness resources: the "Emergency Preparedness for Your Home" free class at Stanford and Earthquake Country Alliance’s “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country – SF Bay Area".
Resources for Early Postdocs
- Postdoctoral Scholar Policies
Postdoctoral scholar policies are detailed in the Research Policy Handbook section on Postdoctoral Scholars (RPH 10.3) and on the OPA Postdoc Policy page.
- Professional Development
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs offers a variety of Educational Programs for postdocs. A variety of other partners across Stanford also welcome postdocs; you will receive regular emails from “Postdoc Programs” with relevant opportunities.
- Career Development
Two career centers serve postdocs: Stanford Career Education (all fields) and BioSci Careers (primarily biosciences). They offer career development workshops, individual career counseling, and a variety of other resources from career exploration, applications, to negotiation. These centers also offer one counseling appointment for spouses/partners of postdocs.
- Community Development
There are many ways to find and build your community. The postdoc association, SURPAS, our 4 postdoc affinity groups, and Stanford's cultural centers are all good places to start.
- Office of Technology Licensing (OTL)
OTL provides guidance on invention disclosures and patent policies. Some helpful information from OTL include "Inventor Resources", "Research Funding Opportunities", and "Start-Up Guides." Sign up for the SPOTLIGHT Quarterly Newsletter for the latest OTL news and inventions.
- Institutional Memberships
Stanford’s institutional memberships entitle you to a free individual membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (First time sign in here and provide your Stanford email address), the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), and Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). These organizations provide professional development opportunities.