Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Appointing Postdoctoral Scholars

Effective Sept. 1, 2011, all appointment actions for postdoctoral scholars (research scholars or clinical trainees) at Stanford University moves to an online interface via PeopleSoft.  Appointments may not be done via a paper copy after that date.  Every department must have at least one administrator and one approver for the postdoctoral appointment, typically the student services or postdoctoral administrator and the Department Manager, respectively. 

The initial appointment starts by ‘inviting’ the prospective postdoc to complete the Data Form online.  The administrator then proceeds to complete the Recommendation Form.  The transactions then move through approval and email notification steps, and is then received online via Workflow by the managers in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for review and decision.  See the Job Aids and Training Slides Page for step-by-step instructions on processing online appointments.

A postdoctoral appointment submission is comprised of an online Recommendation to Appoint form to be completed and approved by the Department, plus documents that the prospective postdoc uploads while completing the Postdoctoral Scholar Data Form online:

  1. Copy of the diploma or degree completion letter
  2. Any external funding letters
  3. Recent and complete curriculum vitae
  4. For foreign scholars:  copies of passport pages, any and all prior US immigration documents such as I-20s, DS-2019s, for the candidate and any dependents
  5. For clinical trainees: copy of CA medical license. A printout of a valid licence from is acceptable.
  6. For clinical trainees (if applicable): Patient Care Form

The administrator is responsible for obtaining signatures and upload the following, where applicable:

    1. signed copy of the CI letter
    2. in the case of a clinical postdoctoral trainee, signed agreement of services outside of the fellowship

The postdoctoral scholar retrieves and accepts/declines the postdoctoral offer online.
Postdoctoral Administrators may refer to the Postdoctoral Scholar Appointment Checklist for more information about other appointment paperwork and procedures required by other offices at Stanford in order to complete the setup for new scholars. 

Guidelines and Processing:

  1. Stanford policy allows for  postdoctoral scholar appointments only on a full-time basis. 
  2. Submissions must be made as soon as it is determined that an appointment will be made.  A minimum of 8 weeks before the anticipated start date are required for foreign nationals in order to allow for DS-2019 review and processing.
  3. Appointment start and end date must coincide with the J-1 program start and end dates.  Funding levels must be the same in the appointment paperwork as attested in the DS-2019 form.  Departments are responsible for submitting a DS-2019 document to OPA concurrently with the appointment.   
  4. Proof of Degree is required for a postdoctoral appointment.  A copy of the scholar's diploma (English translation attached to original) is required. If the scholar has more than one doctoral degree (i.e., M.D. and Ph.D.), the diploma pertinent to research study is necessary for admission as a scholar; copies of both are preferred.

In cases when the candidate may not yet have their final degree conferred, but has completed all the requirements for a doctoral degree, a letter may be accepted from the scholar's institution (Registrar's Office or equivalent is required) stating the date the scholar completed ALL the requirements, including submission and acceptance, defense of thesis, and the date the degree is to be conferred.  This letter is sufficient to grant a Conditional Approval of the postdoctoral appointment.  See examples:  Sample Thesis Acceptance (Letter 1) and Sample Degree Conferral (Letter 2)

If a final completion letter is not provided by the first day of the postdoctoral appointment, the appointment may not start and the department must appoint him/her as a Visiting Student Researcher until proof of doctoral degree can be furnished.  See memo from OPA in this regard online.  Information on Visiting Student Researcher status can be found at:

If the candidate will be receiving funding support from fellowships, scholarships or awards outside of Stanford, Proof of Outside Support must be provided.  The document is to be uploaded by the candidate with the other documents listed above. No support by personal or family funds is allowed.   Typical examples of this type of support is the home country government, educational institution, Stanford Hospital (SUH), Palo Alto Veterans’ Administration Medicine Center (PAVAMC), fellowship paid directly to the scholar, etc.  This proof is normally a copy of a letter from the sponsoring institution; an English translation must be included, if appropriate. The letter must include the start and end dates of support, the amount of the support and the name of the institution or fellowship which is supporting the fellowship training while at Stanford. Exchange rates can be easily retrieved from the Oanda currency converter.   The total annual pay to the scholar, from all sources, must meet a minimum level based on years of research experience. The levels are listed at

MD holders who will be performing clinical duties outside of a fellowship program or who will be billing for services must sign the Agreement for Services Outside of Fellowship.   The signed copy must be provided by either the postdoc/fellow or the administrator via an upload into the online form.

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