University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Postdoctoral Appointments

Policy Statement

Postdoctoral graduate experience is provided through the following appointment classifications: (1) Postdoctoral Associate (9546); and (2) Postdoctoral Fellow (9560). These appointments are generally held after the individual is granted a doctorate or doctoral equivalent degree or when returning for additional training, updating, or retooling. Appointments are limited to fields for which postdoctoral degree training is necessary for career entry. Appointments are typically limited to a period of three years up to five, depending on training needs.

  1. Postdoctoral Associate Appointments (9546)

    Postdoctoral associates are University employees who are receiving additional training while also performing service for the University, for which they are compensated. Postdoctoral associates are academic employees who conduct research, teach, or provide service that enhances career skills or allows for opportunities to learn new research or teaching techniques. They are trained by and work in conjunction with a faculty mentor who determines the training agenda. Postdoctoral associates may be appointed on sponsored institutional training grants, sponsored individual fellowship awards, or training awards. Funding is provided through the collegiate budget.

    Classification and Pay

    See Job Classification Descriptions for a complete generic job description of the Postdoctoral Associate classification.


    Salary for postdoctoral associates is governed by the annual salary plan approved by the Board of Regents. Within those parameters, individual salaries are determined by the respective collegiate or campus units. In accordance with this annual salary plan, initial rates of compensation are determined at the time of hire by the appropriate responsible administrator and are to be consistent with established base pay minimums. Refer to the current year Academic Salary Floors for pay range information. Increases in salary for postdoctoral associates are to be made on the basis of criteria established within the context of the training program. Individual performance should be a major determinant; other criteria may be used as well, but should be applied consistently within any given department or unit. Increases are typically given each year at the start of the fiscal or academic year, as appropriate to the term of appointment.

    Fringe Benefits

    Postdoctoral associates receive fringe benefits as defined for the position and for which specific eligibility requirements are met. Refer to the Appendix: Benefits for Postdoctoral Associates (9546)  for a snapshot of available benefits and applicable policies.


    As part of an ongoing performance management system supporting the success of the University employees, it is expected that postdoctoral associates undergo a review of their performance on an annual basis. Criteria for such reviews will vary according to the nature of the position and the unit in which it is located. Criteria should be communicated in writing to the postdoctoral employee at the time of initial hire and at the start of each succeeding year.

    A written evaluation is required and should be prepared and delivered to each postdoctoral associate on an annual basis by the responsible administrator. The responsible administrator should seek whatever evaluations are necessary to complete a fair and thorough review. Evaluations might be sought from colleagues and from others with whom the postdoctoral associate employee interacts. Performance reviews are to be maintained in the department personnel file

    Paid and Unpaid Leaves of Absence

    Postdoctoral associates are eligible for paid and unpaid leaves of absence. Refer to the Appendix: Paid and Unpaid Leaves of Absence for Postdoctoral Associates (9546).

    Nonreappointment and Termination

    A decision may be made to not reappoint a postdoctoral associate on the basis of performance or budgetary constraints. If such a decision is made, there is no prescribed notice period requirement, but reasonableness should guide at what point the notice is given. A department may not terminate a postdoctoral associate appointment prior to the end date of the existing appointment period for reason other than fiscal emergency or just cause sanction.

    • Fiscal Emergency: The University may terminate a postdoctoral associate appointment prior to the employment contract’s official end date without the employee’s agreement in situations where a drastic reduction in the University’s budget is officially recognized and declared by the Board of Regents.
    • Just Cause Sanction: Early termination sanction may be imposed as a disciplinary sanction based on just cause. Just cause involves reasonableness, evidence of forewarning, investigation, proof, consistency, and equity. Just cause termination of the employment contract is grievable.

    Conflict Resolution

    Refer to Board of Regents Policy: Conflict Resolution Process for Employees and the corresponding Administrative Policy: Implementing the Conflict Resolution Process.

  2. Postdoctoral Fellow Appointments (9560)

    Postdoctoral fellow appointments are for persons receiving a fellowship or training award granting a stipend and allowing for advanced study or research. Postdoctoral fellows can be appointed on sponsored individual fellowships or institutional training awards. Individuals appointed as postdoctoral fellows are not employees of the University and, therefore, provide no service to the University. Responsibilities are defined by the parameters of the fellowship or traineeship.

    Classification and Pay

    See Job Classification Descriptions for generic job descriptions of Postdoctoral classifications.


    As stipulated by the awarding agency, postdoctoral fellows are not employees of the University, provide no service to the University, and as such received no salary from the University. However, individuals appointed under this classification receive a training stipend through the funding agency.

    Fringe benefits

    If not already provided by the award or funding agency, parental leave is available to postdoctoral fellows who are on 50% appointments or greater.

    Upon request, postdoctoral fellows may take six weeks paid leave related to the birth, adoption, or gestational surrogacy of a child. The parental leave shall begin at a time requested by the fellow, but not more than two weeks prior to the due date or adoption event. For a fellow who gives birth, the leave must begin no later than the birth event.

    For all others, the leave must begin no later than six weeks after the birth or adoption event. In the case where the child must remain in the hospital longer than the birth parent, the leave must begin no later than six weeks after the child leaves the hospital. This leave must be consecutive and without interruption and must be taken during the term of appointment.

    No other provisions of leaves or benefits are provided by the University, with the exception of health insurance if eligibility is met. Postdoctoral fellows who receive a stipend during the academic year equivalent to at least 25 percent time for nine-months are eligible for enrollment in the Graduate Assistant Insurance Plan. Availability of other benefits (e.g., leaves, tuition) is determined by the granting agency or foundation.

Reason for Policy

This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Employee Group Definitions (PDF). Postdoctoral appointments fall under professionals-in-training and are provided by the University to afford individuals holding a doctoral or doctoral-equivalent degree opportunity for further development of career skills within a particular discipline or to learn new or different research and teaching techniques, update knowledge, or retool.


Subject Contact Phone Email
General Information or Procedural Assistance
  • Primary: Responsible administrator/supervisor
  • Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator
  • Other (as needed): Office of Human Resources specialist or consultant
612-624-UOHR (8647); 800-756-2363 [email protected]
Document Processing Office of Human Resources Call Center 612-624-UOHR (8647) [email protected]
Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)
  • SPA Information
612-624-5599 612-624-4843
[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President, Office of Human Resources
  • Director - Leadership and Talent Development
  • See Contacts Table above


Adoption event 
Adoption of a child up to 18 years of age who is adopted through public, private, domestic, international or independent means and who is not the stepchild of the adoptive parent.
A descriptive title given to a position or a group of positions of sufficiently similar mix or range of responsibilities or job duties.
Dependent Child
The employee's biological, adoptive, or foster child, a stepchild, or a legal ward of the employee or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is under the age of 18, or 18 and older and incapable of self care because of a mental or physical disability.
Fiscal Emergency
A drastic reduction in the University budget that has been officially recognized and declared by Board of Regents.
Gestational Surrogacy
A legal agreement between intended parent(s) and a gestational carrier to carry an embryo to term as a means for the intended parent(s) to become parent(s) of a child. Under this policy, both the intended parent(s) and the gestational carrier would be eligible for paid parental leave.
Just Cause
A ground for discipline and takes into account reasonableness, evidence of forewarning, investigation, proof, consistency, and equity.


Responsible Administrator/Supervisor
  • Classifies the work responsibilities appropriately.
  • Has knowledge of the policies and procedures governing postdoctoral appointments.
  • Informs postdoctoral associates or fellows of the details of the appointment.
  • Provides regular performance reviews (optional but strongly encouraged).
Postdoctoral Associate or Fellow
  • Is aware of the policies governing postdoctoral associate or postdoctoral fellow appointments at the University respective to the individual’s appointment.
  • Understands and executes expected performance standards.


April 2018 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. The revised Postdoctoral Appointments policy provides a fringe benefit, parental leave for postdoctoral fellows, which was not previously provided to this appointment classification.
October 2012 - Reflecting a change to the 9546 Post-doctoral Associate and the 9560 Post-doctoral Fellow classification descriptions, a modification to the permitted term of the post-doctoral appointments was made, providing a range of 3 up to 5 years, depending on training needs.
July 2009 - Paid sick leave provisions were more clearly explained and language was added related to termination for reason of fiscal emergency. An appendix was added covering both paid and unpaid leaves for postdoctoral associates. General edits were made.
May 2008 - Policy converted to the new University-wide format for administrative policies. Language specific to bereavement leave was added for purposes of clarification.
September 2005
September 2005