Skip to content Skip to navigation

How to Appoint Postdocs

New Postdoc Admins:

Read how to Gain Access to Postdoc Web Forms System


Who Can Sponsor a Postdoctoral Appointment?

Faculty Sponsor Must be a Member of the Professoriate

Tenure Line Faculty (UTL)

  • Assistant Professor 
  • Associate Professor
  • Professor

Non-Tenure Line Faculty (NTL)

  • Assistant Professor (Research)
  • Associate Professor (Performance, Teaching, Research)
  • Professor (Applied Research, Clinical, Performance, Teaching, Research)

Medical Center Line Faculty

  • Assistant Professor (MCL)
  • Associate Professor (MCL)
  • Professor (MCL)

Other Faculty Designations

  • Assistant Professor (Subject to PhD)
  • Senior Fellow at designated policy centers and institutes (defined in Section 2.3.2(2))
  • Center Fellow at designated policy centers and institutes (defined in Section 2.3.3)

These roles cannot be Faculty Sponsors:

  • Clinician Educators (CE) line appointed as a Clinical Instructor (unless granted a policy exception)
  • Adjunct Professor
  • "By Courtesy" Professor
  • Senior Staff/Staff Scientist

Determining Candidate Eligibility

  1. Has candidate completed all doctoral requirements (PhD within the last 3 years or MD within the last 6 years)?
    1. If yes, continue.
    2. If no, candidate is not eligible.
  2. Will candidate be appointed at another institution or employed elsewhere concurrently with the Stanford postdoctoral appointment?
    1. If no, continue.
    2. If yes, candidate is not eligible.
  3. Does candidate have more than 51 months of previous research experience?
    1. If yes, candidate is not eligible.
    2. If no, continue with appointment process.

Table of Alternatives to Postdoc Appointments

Position Appointing/Retaining Authority Is OPA involved? Where to read more
Academic Staff-Research (AS-R) Faculty and Academic Staff Appointments (FASA) system No
Consultant Contract Coordinator in the Procurement Department No
Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar The inviting department, program or Independent Laboratory, Institute or Center No
Visiting Scholar The inviting department, program or Independent Laboratory No
Visiting Student Researcher Any Stanford faculty member in any department No


Appointment Process:

See Job Aids for "Invite and Recommendation Form" for Details

  1. Eligible appointing Faculty Sponsor/PI identifies a postdoc candidate
  2. Postdoc admin confirms sufficient budget exists to support a postdoc, then determines candidate eligibility, and initiates appointment process with a Postdoc Invite web form in AXESS
  3. Candidate completes online Data Form (Information Sheet) and uploads documents
  4. Admin reviews/approves Data Form
  5. Admin creates/submits Recommendation Form
  6. Department Manager/DFA reviews/approves Recommendation Form, which auto-generates offer letter to candidate
  7. Candidate reviews/accepts letter
  8. Admin verifies the appointment terms on the Recommendation Form and submits to OPA for approval
  9. OPA reviews the Recommendation Form for approval

Flowchart of process:  Postdoc Web Forms Workflow Roles and Responsibilities

Determining the Appointment Start Date

  • Review the Processing Timelines section below and set a start date that allows the processing time needed
  • Doctoral degree not yet conferred? Appointments may begin before the doctoral degree conferral date with a sufficient Letter of Completion (see the Required Documents section below)
  • Appointments can start no earlier than the day after the date of issue of the doctoral degree, or the letter of completion, and allowing for processing time needed
  • In some cases and for good cause an appointment may start retroactively, up to 30 days
    • GFS pay line(s) must start on the retroactive appointment start date, or request an off-cycle check for any missed pay periods.

Processing Timelines

  • U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and F1 OPT visa holders: 5-7 business days
  • 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 preferred
  • H-1B Visas: 4-6 months in advance of the requested appointment/visa start date; 3-4 months if premium processing is used

Required Documents

  1. Documents not uploaded to the Data Form by the candidate must be uploaded by the Admin to Nolij before submitting the Recommendation Form!
  2. Instructions for viewing and uploading documents in Nolij are available on the Job Aids page.
  3. Outside funding letters and Notices of Award from external fellowships are reviewed by OPA before approval.

Documents uploaded to Data Form by Candidate (.pdf or .jpeg only)

  • Copy of the doctoral diploma/degree certificate
    • English translation required if original issued in foreign language
    • In the absence of a diploma or degree certificate, a Letter of Completion is acceptable to start the appointment before degree conferral, IF:
      • Letter is issued by 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 Sample Degree Verification Letter 2
    • Unofficial transcript that confirms doctoral degree earned and date of conferral
  • Recent CV
    • Dates entered in mm/dd/yyyy or mm/yyyy format
    • Dates noted only as years are insufficient 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 frequency 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 conversions)
    • 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 Postdocs whose J-1 visa is sponsored by another institution, Postdoc Candidate uploads a copy of the current DS-2019 to the Data Form

Documents 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 with previous research experience, complete a Research Experience Calculator and enter number of months 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)

Before Submitting the Recommendation Form to OPA

  • Review the candidate's uploaded documents folder in Nolij
    • Are ALL required documents listed above uploaded to the candidate folder?
      • If yes, complete your final review of the appointment terms and submit to OPA
      • If no, STOP! Do not submit the Recommendation Form to OPA until you have uploaded all required documents

Processing Guidelines

  • Appointment start/end dates must match J-1 DS-2019 program start and end dates
  • Funding levels in the Recommendation Form must match the DS-2019 Form
    • Exception: If DS-2019 period is more or less than one year, funding should be prorated accordingly
  • Recommendation Form and DS-2019 Forms are submitted concurrently to OPA for review/approval
  • If proof of degree is not submitted on or before the appointment start date, the appointment cannot start and the department must appoint candidate as a Visiting Student Researcher until proof of doctoral degree is provided. Information on Visiting Student Researcher status found at:
  • Proof of outside support must be provided if the postdoc will receive funding support from fellowships, scholarships, or awards outside of Stanford
    • Award letters are uploaded by the candidate with other documents listed above
    • No support by personal or family funds 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.
    • Proof is normally a letter from the sponsoring institution (with English translation if LOTE)
    • Letters include start/end dates of support, amount of support, and name of the institution or fellowship which supports the training at Stanford
    • Exchange rates available from Oanda currency converter
    • Total annual pay to scholar, from all sources, must meet or exceed Stanford's minimum funding level, based on years of research experience
  • MDs performing clinical duties outside of a fellowship program or billing for services must sign the  Agreement For Services Outside of Fellowship
    • Signed copy provided by either the postdoc/fellow or the admin via upload to the online form

Exceptions to Policy

  • Some circumstances may warrant a policy exception.
  • Exception requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Policy exceptions are requested on the appointment recommendation form (new appointments) and on the change form (current appointments).

Searching for a Student ID (EmplID)

It takes 24-48 hours (and longer during high volume times) for Student ID creation after appointment approval. If you do not have access to PeopleSoft or GFS to search for the student ID#, use this method:

  1. In 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 results
  8. Copy ID number
  9. Exit the Look Up box and exit the change form without saving or submitting.

Example Offer Letter: 

Postdoc Offer Letter - Research 2019

For Clinical Trainees

For Joint Clinical Scholar appointees in the School of Medicine:

  • Signed copy of the CS letter
  • For clinical postdoctoral trainees, signed agreement of services outside of the fellowship

New Postdoc Data in Payroll System

The payroll system does not receive the postdoc record until after GFS sends a file on the 15th or 30th/31st (salary) or 25th of the month (stipend). New postdocs do not appear in the payroll system until the next payroll run.