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Calculate Months of Experience for Research (non-Clinical) Postdoctoral Appointments


  • Postdocs are eligible to be in postdoctoral status at Stanford for a term of up to 5 years (60 months), for all combined years of institutional research training, at Stanford and elsewhere
  • Discounted time may include:
    • Up to 12 months of postdoctoral research completed with the PhD advisor, in the same PhD lab as the doctoral work
    • Leave periods - unpaid, maternity/paternity/baby bonding, medical disability
  • Incoming Postdocs complete a Data Form that includes a section to document previous research experience and any applicable discounts
  • Admins can correct previous research experience on the recommendation form for new appointments, and update research experience on change forms during the course of ongoing appointments
  • A Research Experience Calculator smart sheet is no longer required

Research Experience Calculation Guidelines

When calculating previous research experience, INCLUDE TIME for the following:

  • After the doctoral degree, positions related to research or training, such as Postdoctoral Scholar/Fellow, Research Associate/Assistant/Research Scientist, Visiting Postdoc, Visiting Scholar, or any other research related role.
    • Example: If you worked as a Research Assistant for 6 months, include that in your research experience.
  • Research positions that began after all doctoral degree requirements were completed but before conferral of the doctoral degree.
    • Example: If you conducted research for 3 months after completing your Ph.D. requirements while awaiting your degree conferral, include that in your research experience.
  • Your current and any previous postdoc appointments at Stanford, including transfers between departments.
    • Example: If you have been working as a postdoc in the Anesthesia Department for 1 year, that counts towards your research experience.

EXCLUDE TIME for the following:

  • Up to 12 months of previous postdoc research experience can be deducted for research that was completed with your PhD advisor, in the PhD lab, and on the same research project as your PhD.
    • Example: If you worked as a postdoc with your PhD advisor for 10 months on the same project, you can deduct those 10 months from your research experience.
  • Non-research industry positions, such as being a Creative Director or Founder in a company.
    • Example: If you worked as a Marketing Manager for 2 years, that time is not considered as research experience.
  • Teaching positions, like being an Instructor.
    • Example: If you taught undergraduate courses for 1 year, that does not count towards your research experience.
  • Visiting Student Researcher positions.
    • Example: If you spent 3 months as a visiting student researcher, that time is not included in your research experience.
  • Consulting positions unrelated to the research.
    • Example: If you worked as a consultant in the finance industry for 1 year, that does not count towards your research experience.
  • Time spent in a matriculated program unless you were also in a postdoc position.
    • Example: If you were enrolled in a master's program and not working as a postdoc after your doctoral degree conferral, that time is not counted as research experience.

For MDs:

  • Postdocs with MDs completing research after a second sub-specialty program will count their prior research years; a 6th year will be approved.
  • Internship/Residency years
    • Example: If you completed a 3-year residency program, those years are not considered as research experience.
  • Med Fellow appointments at Stanford
    • Example: If you held a fellowship position at Stanford Hospital for 1 year, that time is not included in your research experience.
  • Training related to medical sub-specialty accreditation, including research years
    • Example: If you underwent specialized medical training with a focus on cardiology for 2 years, those years are not counted as research experience.

Additional Research Calculation Notes:

  • Experience is counted from the degree verification letter date or the thesis approval date (may not be the same as the degree conferral date)

  • If a postdoc started a research position in a lab other than the PhD lab after the thesis is accepted, this time counts even if it occurred prior to the degree conferral date

  • Up to 12 months can be deducted only if the research was completed with the same PhD advisor, in the same lab, and the research was the same as for their PhD

  • If a postdoc candidate has held any kind of professorship, they should be appointed as a Visiting Professor or Visiting Scholar rather than a postdoc

  • Dual-appointed postdocs and matriculated students - allow postdoc through the end of the matriculated degree (more than 5 years), but time as postdoc is still counted

  • ARTS trainees should be appointed as postdocs

When is a Research Experience Calculation Required?

  • New appointments for postdoc candidates with postdoctoral research experience from other institutions
    • Includes postdoc transfers from other Stanford departments
    • Submit a recommendation web form displaying the research experience calculation
  • Discount of previous research experience or leave period
    • Submit a change web form that includes the discount
  • Correction of a previous research experience calculation error or system calculation error
    • Submit a change web form that includes the correction
  • Sixth Training Year Requests must use the Sixth Training Year Dashboard!


For questions about calculating postdoctoral research months, submit a SNOW ticket to OPA.

For questions about calculating clinical fellow PGY months, please contact GME.