A Berkeley postdoctoral appointment is temporary, allowing individuals a unique opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty member. The time spent as a postdoc prepares you for a career in academia, industry, government and the non-profit sector. Each year, the University hosts approximately 1,400 worldwide postdoc scholars who assist in its premiere educational and research mission.
Prospective postdocs not only receive advanced training and research under the direction of their faculty mentor, but also support from campus research grants, contracts, fellowships and external sources. Please note that postdocs may not have more than five years of postdoctoral experience, including that from other institutions, nor have previously held a tenure-track professorial appointment, including assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.
Postdoc appointment titles vary in compensation, benefits, and taxation. Appointments fall into five categories, determined by the source of support: Postdoctoral Scholar- Employee, PD Scholar- Fellow, PD Scholar- Paid Direct, PD Scholar- Non-Exempt, and PD Scholar- Interim.
Postdoctoral Scholar Definition & Titles
Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (Job Code 3252)
An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” when (1) the agency funding the salary requires or permits the appointee to be an employee of the University, or (2) whenever General Funds, Opportunity Funds or other University discretionary funds are used to support the position.
Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow (Job Code 3253)
An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow” when the Postdoctoral Scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a University account.
Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct (Job Code 3254)
An appointment is made in the title “Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct” when the Postdoctoral Scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar, rather than through the University. Such appointments shall have a “without-salary” status.
Postdoctoral Scholars may be assigned to more than one Postdoctoral Scholar title concurrently depending on University and extramural funding agency requirements.
All postdoc appointments are temporary and typically last for one to two years. Some postdocs may be appointed for subsequent years depending on funding, but normally do not exceed five years. This includes previous postdoc experience at other institutions. With the sponsoring department or Organized Research Unit's approval, faculty mentors offer postions to appointees in writing. Offer letters must state the appointment duration, postdoc category and relevant benefits information. Letters should be sent at least one month before the appointment start date. Potential appointees must accept the offer in writing.
All postdoc appointments must work and be compensated at 100% time. Exceptions to less than full-time appointments are initiated by the postdoc and endorsed by appropriate University officials. The campus has a minimum compensation policy for postdocs; postdocs whose fellowships pay less than the campus minimum may be supplemented by other fund sources contingent upon the rules of the fellowship as well as the availability of funds.
Your first step should be to seek out faculty in a department you are interested in and see if anyone would be interested in collaborating with you on your research project. The department’s website has a list of all current faculty members and their contact information. Once you have a faculty member who has agreed to sponsor you, the faculty's home department will work with you directly to complete an electronic application form and other necessary paperwork. Additional requirements for eligibility can be found here.
If you have any questions, please contact your sponsoring unit or the Visiting Researcher Scholar and Postdoc Affairs Office at 510-643-9681, 44 Barrows Hall #2572.