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 three categories, determined by the source of support: Postdoctoral Scholar- Employee, PD Scholar- Fellow, and PD Scholar- Paid Direct.
Click here for a full definition of a Postdoctoral Scholar.
All postdoc appointments are temporary and typically last for two years. Some postdocs may be appointed up to three years, depending on funding. In rare cases, appointments can be extended to a fourth, and even fifth, year with approval of the cognizant dean. 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 employees 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.
Health insurance varies according to the type of postdoc category. Determine whether or not the health benefits will cover your needs before you accept an appointment. If you will use your own health plan, verify your coverage, particularly if you come from another part of the United States or if you are an international postdoc. International postdocs are required to have health insurance and repatriation insurance. Work with your prospective department or ORU to coordinate visa arrangements through the Services for International Students and Scholars Office immediately.
Postdocs receive benefits and privileges, including library privileges, a campus email account, housing services and campus parking lot permits.
If you a citizen of another country, you must have the appropriate visa type, are required to have or obtain health insurance coverage, and are required to have repatriation insurance. Postdocs must arrive with sufficient funds to cover the high cost of living in the Bay Area for several months (including covering the first and last month's rent for housing).
Visa arrangements must be made several months prior to your planned arrival date or visa renewal date. The appropriate visa status is critical to gain or retain an appointment and to remain in the country. You are encouraged to work with your prospective department or ORU staff to coordinate visa requests through the Services for International Students and Scholars Office as soon as possible.
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.