Definitions of a Postdoctoral Appointment

Position requirements set forth by the University of Louisville Department of Human Resources.

The University of Louisville adheres to the basic recommendations of these national committees in defining postdoctoral appointments: The AAU Committee on Postdoctoral Education,1998;  FASEB’s Science Policy Committee, 2001; NSF;  AAMC; and the National Postdoctoral Association. Those recommendations include:

  • The appointee was recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D.) in an appropriate field
  • the appointment is temporary
  • the appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship
  • the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic career
  • the appointment is not part of a clinical training program, unless research training under the supervision of a senior mentor is a primary purpose of the appointment
  • the appointee works under the supervision of a senior scholar or a department in a university or similar institution
  • the appointee has the freedom, and is expected, to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of the appointment.

The University’s Human Resources Department specifically recognizes the following levels of Postdoctoral Appointment:

Postdoctoral Candiates will be substantially involved in full-time research or scholarship, not enrolled in a formal academic program, but working under the mentorship of a senior scholar in preparation for a career in academe, industry, government or the non-profit sector academic or research career.

Postdoctoral Associates: Individuals engaged full-time in clinical or laboratory-based research; Postdoctoral Associates will have 0 to 3 years of experience.

Postdoctoral Scholars: Postdoctoral Scholars shall have the same criteria listed above for appointment as Postdoctoral Associates, but in addition shall have 4 to 7 years of experience.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Postdoctoral positions that have funding restrictions or are in a postdoctoral clinical training program.