Appointing and Supporting a Postdoc

In order to appoint a postdoc, you will need to work with your BRS HR Partner (HRP) and your internal, departmental HR contact. Together these two contacts liaise with the VSPA in order to initiate the appointment and complete the onboarding process. The following is information to help you navigate this process.

First Things First 

Who is a Postdoc?

Postdoc appointments are intended to provide a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training. Postdoc appointments require a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D.) or the foreign equivalent. Faculty should review the appointment criteria before searching for a postdoc.

Postdoc Collective Bargaining

Please note that postdocs, regardless of their funding source, are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. See the current contract (effective October 17, 2016 through September 30, 2021) for details. You may be particularly interested in the sections on Article 9: Individual Development Plans and Progress Assessments, Article 20: Professional Development & Career Counseling, and Article 27: Training.

Working with Campus Partners

How to find a Postdoc

Faculty may advertise an opening for a postdoc on the UC Berkeley's job board APRecruit at no cost. Conducting an open recruitment is not required, but you will work with your BRS HR Partner on how to conduct a postdoc search. 

The VSPA encourages you cast your net far and wide in your postdoc recruitment process in order to attract the most qualified and diverse candidates. We recommend that you send an email about the opening to the graduate division or graduate program at institutions with diverse graduate students (e.g. HCBUs and HSIs). In addition, you may want to advertise with organizations that support diversity in graduate education (e.g. SACNASMinorityPostdoc). Professional societies of diverse doctoral scholars can be helpful in your recruitment diversity outreach activities.

International Postdocs

For information regarding the visa application, arrival, and continuation of status processes for prospective international postdocs, contact the Berkeley International Office. Please note that B-1/B-1 tourist visas are not appropriate for postdocs and that the most commonly used visas for international scholars are the J-1, F-1, F-1(OPT), H-1B, and U. To learn about the timing for onboarding an international postdoc, review the onboarding timeline document.

How to initiate an official offer

Once you have identified your finalist, you will need to partner with both your departmental hiring contact and BRS (your HR Partner (HRP)) in order to appoint a postdoc.

Getting Postdocs Started and Connected

New Affiliate Orientation

Encourage your new postdocs to attend VSPA's monthly New Affiliate Orientation every first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 11 am. We invite campus partners to expertly speak on their areas of campus services and review postdoc appointment protocols and benefits. New postdocs can register for upcoming orientations after their appointment start date.

Help your Postdoc Understand Funding

Postdocs need to understand the source(s) of their funding in order to have realistic expectations about the length of their training and to understand how their title code impacts their retirement benefitsappointment terms, and tax implications. For postdocs that have obtained their own funding, it may be helpful to discuss the scientific and educational expectations of the fellowship, training grant, etc., and ask if they have questions. In addition, a faculty supervisor may want to clarify if the postdoc is expected to obtain an outside fellowship in anticipation of reappointment.


Connect your postdoc to compliance resources so that they are aware of the various trainings offered, and policies, regulations, and practices that they should be aware of and adhere to.

Postdoc Career Development

We recommend that you provide your postdoc with the opportunity to learn about variety of career choices and the time to build skills that make the postdoc competitive in their chosen career path. The VSPA is available to partner with you in these efforts. Specifically, we offer career and professional development events that help postdocs to build skills that prepare them for various career paths, within and beyond academia. In addition, we are available to work directly with you to locate and connect you with professional development resources for your postdocs.

We also recommend the use of the Individual Development Plan (IDP) to facilitate candid and frequent communication with you and your postdoc about career objectives and goals, and the support need to actualize them.

Campus Involvement

We invite you to explore the VSPA Resources, to refer your postdocs to them, and to encourage them to stay connected to the greater campus community. These career and professional development, wellness, and networking resources are designed to help your postdocs thrive and succeed at UC Berkeley, and beyond.

How to Partner with the VSPA

The VSPA is a steward of University policies, practices, and procedures regarding postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting student researchers. As such, we are available for consultation on how to ensure that the postdoc and visiting appointments that you facilitate are compliant. Please reach out to the VSPA for guidance or any questions that you may have.

We welcome the opportunity co-sponsor or co-facilitate events for your trainees as well as any feedback on what additional services and resources VSPA can provide to support your postdocs.

Finally, we invite you to participate in VSPA programs and events, in particular our annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) festivities every September.