Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

July 2011

New VSR classification and Postdoc Appointments

Memo sent to supdssworkinggroup on July 26, 2011

Dear Postdoc Administrators,
Stanford new Visiting Student Researcher classification is good news for many of you who deal with cases when the prospective postdoc is not yet a ‘doc’—i.e., when the proof of degree is not in place nor is the degree anticipated at the time of the researcher’s start at Stanford. VSRs replace the older classification known as “visiting researcher” and is associated with a J1 visa as is the Scholar category for postdocs. It is a monthly status and does not carry a requirement to fund at the same levels as postdocs. There are other fees and expenses.

We will have an open forum at the Quarterly Meeting this Thursday to discuss how the VSR may impact your postdoc appointment process, particularly as you would like to support eager faculty to bring ‘almost done’ PhDs to Stanford but are required to follow our postdoc policy which requires doctoral degree completion. Bring your ideas and thoughts.
The first part of the memo below describes this new classification and how it’s administered.

Effective on September 1, 2011, Stanford will implement two new classifications for nonmatriculated graduate students at Stanford. Both of these were introduced earlier this year. This email will point you to the new relevant policies and procedures, and ask for your assistance in identifying students who will be converting into one of these new classifications this coming year.


See Provost's memo, June 3, 2011,
See GAP policy, (Section 1.3)
See RPH policy,
See Registrar's page,

This nonmatriculated category is for visiting graduate students from other universities, appointed for up to one year for the purpose of being involved in research at Stanford. These students will be charged monthly VSR fees ($868 per month, for the 2011-12 year), instead of the quarterly Permit for Services Only tuition as has been charged in the past. They will not matriculate here, and may not enroll in classes.

The Registrar's Office is contacting those departments with current Visiting Researchers who wish to extend those appointments into 2011-12. These students will convert to the new Visiting Student Researcher classification on September 1, 2011. Revised appointment procedures, including a template letter for inviting Visiting Student Researchers, are available at the Registrar's web site above.

These students are required to have health insurance and to pay the Campus Health Services Fees, both charged on a quarterly basis. Unless they contact the insurance desk at the Vaden Health Center to demonstrate that they have comparable coverage, these students will automatically be enrolled in Cardinal Care starting with the quarter in which their appointment begins. If you have a student arriving mid-quarter, we encourage you to have the student contact Vaden directly about insurance coverage.

If you have any questions about this, please let me know. In particular, if you have students who will be converting from the quarterly Visiting Researcher classification to the new VSR classification, and you have not yet been contacted by the Registrar's Office in this regard, please let me know.


See memo from the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, April 21, 2011,
See GAP policy,

This is a new classification of nonmatriculated graduate student, intended for the doctoral students of newly-hired faculty at Stanford, where that faculty member would like to bring one or more of his or her students to Stanford to complete their doctoral research under the faculty member's direct supervision. This classification is for students who will NOT matriculate at Stanford and earn their degree here; that option is also discussed in the VPGE memo linked above.

In order to be classified as a Student of New Faculty, Stanford will need a signed Affiliation Agreement with the student's home institution. A Word Form for this agreement is linked to the GAP policy above.

Students of New Faculty will be appointed at Stanford on a quarterly basis, and must enroll in the appropriate departmental TGR class during each quarter of the school year while they are here (summer enrollment is not required, and is at the discretion of the student and advisor). Because they are nonmatriculated, these students must enroll in the TGR course by completing a Registration Form at the Student Services Center (second floor of Tresidder Union). In addition to TGR tuition, these students will be charged a one-time Document Fee and the quarterly Campus Health Services Fee. Unless they contact the Vaden insurance desk to make other arrangements, they will automatically be enrolled in and charged for Cardinal Care.

Students of New Faculty may be appointed as Research Assistants and paid on research grants and contracts, if that is what the faculty member wishes to do. They may not be appointed as Teaching Assistants. There is additional information about funding for these students in the policies linked above.

If your department has recruited a new faculty member who wishes to bring a grad student to Stanford in this classification, please pass along the VPGE memo linked above. If you anticipate bringing one or more students here in this classification, or converting students who are currently here in other nonmatriculated status to the Students of New Faculty classification, and I have not already been in touch with you about this, please let me know.

Thank you.

Ann George
Assistant Dean, Research and Graduate Policy
(650) 723-9721,

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