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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Postdoctoral scholars are trainees in residence at Stanford University pursuing advanced studies beyond the doctoral level in preparation for an independent career. Postdoctoral scholars are appointed for a limited period of time and may participate in Stanford research projects and/or may be supported by external awards or fellowships. In all cases, their appointment at Stanford is for the purpose of advanced studies and training under the sponsorship of a Stanford faculty member.

Postdoctoral appointments require initial full-time engagement in the designated research or study and are generally restricted to those who have earned a terminal degree such as Ph.D. or J.D. within the last three years or a medical degree such as M.D., M.B.B.S., or D.D.S. within the last six years. Requests for exceptions for individuals who are beyond these limits, or have not been actively engaged in research as their primary effort, must include a written statement from the sponsoring faculty member indicating what additional training outside the primary area of effort the individual plans to receive, and the reasons for which the exception is requested. Postdoctoral scholars are appointed at Stanford for fixed terms, typically one year but that may eventually total up to four years, and are subject to a strict five-year rule (that is, that the total postdoctoral appointment period is not to exceed a total of five years of postdoctoral research experience at all institutions combined). In cases of combined training, only the years of active research at the postdoctoral level are counted for salary and other purposes. Postdoctoral scholars who begin a second postdoctoral appointment in a new field may have training extended to a maximum total of up to six years. Postdoctoral scholars may request temporary reductions in effort and pay due to temporary family or other conditions.

All postdoctoral scholars appointed at Stanford must be supported by Stanford grants and contracts, training grants, departmental or school fellowship funds, or external fellowships, or by a combination of these sources. Scholars may not be self-supporting. In addition, all postdoctoral scholars are eligible for a benefits package including medical, dental, life, and disability insurance. Postdoctoral scholars are normally appointed for 100% time.

Postdoctoral scholars must be registered at Stanford during every academic quarter of their appointment. Registration entails payment of a quarterly postdoctoral fee by the academic department or school appointing the scholar.

Prospective postdoctoral scholars should write directly to the department in which they wish to study or check for postdoctoral openings at For more information, see

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