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How to Appoint Postdoctoral Scholars

 If you are a new Postdoc Admin, read "Gain Access to Postdoc Web Forms System"

Determine the Postdoc Candidate's Eligibility:

  1. Has the candidate completed all doctoral requirements (PhD within the last 3 years, MD within the last 6 years) as evidenced by a diploma, degree certificate, or letter of completion (letter must meet requirements noted in Required Supporting Documents section below)?
    1. If Yes, continue to next postdoc eligibility criterion.
    2. If No, degree requirements are not complete, the candidate is not eligible; consider a Visiting Student Researcher appointment through the University Registrar's Office, or wait to appoint until proof of degree is available.
    3. If No, the degree was conferred more than 3 years (PhD) or 6 years (MD) ago, an appointment requires an approved policy exception and less than 51 months of previous research experience. If the candidate has more than 51 months of previous research experience, they are not eligible; consider a Visiting Scholar appointment through Faculty Affairs, or an Academic Staff-Research (AS-R) or Consultant appointment through Human Resources.
  2. Will the candidate be appointed at another institution or employed elsewhere concurrently with the Stanford postdoctoral appointment?
    1. If No, continue to next postdoc eligibility criterion.
    2. If Yes, the candidate is not eligible; consider a Visiting Postdoc or Visiting Scholar appointment through Faculty Affairs.
  3. Does the candidate have previous research experience?
    1. If No, the candidate is eligible for a postdoc appointment.
    2. If Yes, complete a Research Experience Calculator.
      1. 1 to 51 months previous research experience: the candidate is eligible to be appointed as a postdoc (in accordance with postdoctoral policy term limits).
      2. 52+ months previous research experience: the candidate is not eligible; consider an Academic Staff-Research (AS-R) or Consultant appointment through Human Resources.

Overview of Appointment Process: See Job Aids for Invite and Recommendation Form for Details

  • Step 1: Eligible appointing Faculty Sponsor/PI identifies a Postdoc Candidate
  • Step 2: Postdoc Admin confirms budget and Postdoc Candidate eligibility and initiates the appointment process with a Postdoc Invite web form in AXESS
  • Step 3: Postdoc Candidate completes online Data Form (Information Sheet) and uploads required supporting documents
  • Step 4: Postdoc Admin reviews and approves Data Form
  • Step 5: Postdoc Admin creates and submits a Recommendation Form
  • Step 6: Department Manager/DFA reviews and approves Recommendation Form, generating the online offer letter to the Postdoc Candidate
  • Step 7: Postdoc Candidate reviews and accepts the online offer letter
  • Step 8: Postdoc Admin verifies the appointment terms on the Recommendation Form and submits to OPA for approval
  • Step 9: OPA reviews the Recommendation Form for appointment approval

Download a Flowchart of this process   Postdoc Web Forms Workflow Roles and Responsibilities

Required Supporting Documents:

Any required documents not uploaded to the Data Form by the Postdoc Candidate must be uploaded by Postdoc Admin to Nolij before submitting the Recommendation Form!

Documents can no longer be viewed as attachments on the Data Form or Recommendation Form. Instructions for viewing and uploading documents in Nolij is available on the Job Aids page.

Outside funding letters and Notices of Award from external fellowships must be reviewed by OPA in advance of appointment approval.

Documents to be uploaded to Data Form by Postdoc Candidate:

General requirements (should be uploaded in PDF or JPEG format):

  • Copy of the doctoral diploma or degree certificate
    • English translation required if issued in foreign language
    • In the absence of a diploma or degree certificate, a Letter of Completion is acceptable to start the appointment in advance of degree conferral, IF:
      • Letter is issued by a Registrar or equivalent central office (letters issued by the academic department are not accepted)
      • Letter confirms the date ALL degree requirements were completed, including submission and acceptance, defense of thesis, and the expected date of degree conferral
      • See examples:  Sample Degree Verification Letter 1 and  Sample Degree Verification Letter 2
    • Unofficial transcript that confirms doctoral degree earned and date of conferral
  • Recent and complete Curriculum Vitae
    • Dates of experience should be entered in mm/dd/yyyy or mm/yyyy format
    • Dates noted as year-to-year are not sufficient for research experience calculation
  • Any external Notice of Award/Funding Letters (must be reviewed by OPA)
    • Must be in English
    • Must be on agency letterhead
    • Must be signed by an official funding agency representative
    • Must provide exact award start and end dates
    • Must state specific funding amount (range of funding is not acceptable)
    • Must specify use of funds and a breakdown of any amounts intended for benefits or other coverages beyond the salary amount
    • Must specify time of payment installments and if transferred in foreign currency or USD
      • Currency conversion printout is required if Notice/Letter indicates payment in a foreign currency ( provides currency conversion printouts)
    • Must provide a separate letter for each outside funding source
    • Cannot require or include a postdoctoral appointment/employment with other institution
  • For international scholars: copy of bio-demographic passport page, and any prior US immigration documents (DS-2019s, I-20s, etc.)
    • For J-1 Scholars, Postdoc Admin submits a DS-2019 request web form along with the Recommendation Form
    • For F1 OPT Scholars, Postdoc Candidate uploads a copy of the EAD card or proof of application for EAD to the Data Form
    • For H-1B visa holders, Postdoc Candidate uploads a copy of the most recent I-797 approval notice to the Data Form
    • For Permanent Residents, Postdoc Candidate uploads a copy of the green card to the Data Form
    • For Postdoc's whose J-1 visa is sponsored by another institution, Postdoc Candidate uploads a copy of the current DS-2019 to the Data Form

Documents to be uploaded by Postdoc Admin:

  • Any required documents from the list above that were not uploaded to the Data Form by the Postdoc Candidate
  • For Scholars wtih previous research experience, complete a Research Experience Calculation to support the number of months entered in the "Research Experience noted by Department" field on the Recommendation Form
  • Currency conversion printout (if outside funding letter states foreign currency)
  • Outside funded benefits coverage approval email (if applicable)

Processing Timelines:

  • Recommendation Form Processing Timelines:
    • For U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents and F1 OPT visa holders:
      • 5 - 7 business days in advance of the requested appointment start date
    • For J-1 Scholars:
      • A minimum of 8 weeks in advance of the requested appointment start date is required for DS-2019 processing, 9-10 weeks is preferred
    • For H-1B Visas:
      • 4-6 months in advance of the requested appointment/visa start date, 3-4 months if premium processing is used

Processing Guidelines:

  • Appointment start and end dates must coincide with J-1 DS-2019 program start and end dates
  • Funding levels in the Recommendation Form must match those attested to in the DS-2019 Form
    • Exception: If DS-2019 period is more or less than a one year increment, funding should be prorated accordingly
  • Recommendation Form and DS-2019 Forms should be submitted concurrently to OPA for review and approval
  • If proof of degree (diploma, degree certificate, sufficient Letter of Completion) is not submitted on or before the postdoctoral appointment start date, the appointment may not start and the department must appoint him/her as a Visiting Student Researcher until proof of doctoral degree can be furnished. Information on Visiting Student Researcher status can be found at:
  • Proof of outside support must be provided If the postdoc will receive funding support from fellowships, scholarships or awards outside of Stanford
    • The award letter should be uploaded by the candidate with the other documents listed above
    •  No support by personal or family funds is allowed
    • Typical examples of this type of support is the home country government, educational institution, Stanford Hospital (SUH), Palo Alto Veterans’ Administration Medicine Center (PAVAMC), fellowship paid directly to the scholar, etc.
    • This proof is normally a copy of a letter from the sponsoring institution; an English translation must be included, if appropriate
    • The letter must include the start and end dates of support, the amount of the support and the name of the institution or fellowship which is supporting the fellowship training while at Stanford
    • Exchange rates can be easily retrieved from the Oanda currency converter
    • The total annual pay to the scholar, from all sources, must meet a minimum level based on years of research experience
  • MD holders who will be performing clinical duties outside of a fellowship program or who will be billing for services must sign the  Agreement For Services Outside of Fellowship
    • The signed copy must be provided by either the postdoc/fellow or the postdoctoral administrator via an upload into the online form

Searching for a Student ID (EmplID):

Be aware that it takes 24-48 hours, longer during high volume times, for the Student ID to be created after appointment approval. If you do not have access to PeopleSoft or GFS to search for the student ID#, please use this method:

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

Review an Example Offer Letter

Postdoc Offer Letter - Research 2019

Need a Copy of the Offer Letter in Word?

  1. From the Recommendation Form, click the Offer Letter link to open the letter
  2. Save a copy to your computer by left clicking on the letter
  3. Open Adobe Pro, then open the saved offer letter
  4. Click the Tools tab
  5. Click the Protection link
  6. Click Remove Protection or click Encrypt, Remove Security (varies by version of Adobe)
  7. From the menu at the top, click File
  8. Click Save as Other, click Microsoft Word, click Word document
  9. Enter a File Name
  10. Click Save

For Clinical Trainees:

For Joint Clinical Instructor appointees in the School of Medicine:

  • Signed copy of the CI letter
  • In the case of a clinical postdoctoral trainee, signed agreement of services outside of the fellowship