Appointment Guide

The postdoctoral appointment at OHSU is a career-development position, which involves full-time research under the supervision of a faculty member or equivalent senior scholar. The appointment involves career development activities preparatory for a full-time academic, research or other related position. A postdoctoral appointee must have a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.

On December 1, 2016, OHSU will refer to all postdocs as Postdoctoral Scholars, regardless of the source of funding.

Postdoctoral Scholars paid by OHSU are individuals appointed to gain research experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor and who receive a salary as an at-will employee of OHSU. An at-will employee can be terminated at any time, for any lawful reason, with or without notice, and Postdoctoral Scholars paid by OHSU do not receive annual contracts.

Postdoctoral Scholars paid by stipend are individuals appointed to gain research experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor and who receive a stipend from an institutional training grant or individual external fellowship. In some cases, the funding agency pays the stipend directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar. Postdoctoral Scholars paid by stipend are not OHSU employees, and will generally have an initial appointment for one year, but it may be for less than one year, and are renewable by OHSU. If the appointment is not to be renewed, a thirty (30) day notice should be given to the Postdoctoral Scholar prior to the end of appointment.

Postdoctoral appointments are generally 1.0 full time equivalent. Exceptions must be approved by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For appointments of less than 1.0 full time equivalent, the faculty mentor must make the appointee aware in writing that only the agreed percentage of time needs to be devoted to the postdoctoral position. 

Draft offer

Once the decision to hire a prospective Postdoctoral Scholar is made, an offer letter must be drafted. Please use the template offer letters found on this site under Postdoc Appointment Letter Templates.

Submit offer for review

Please send draft offer letters and the applicant's CV to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for review prior to the extension of an offer to any prospective postdoc.

Review will verify use of the correct offer letter template, ensure the communication of correct terms and conditions of employment, and confirm we are meeting the OHSU minimum salary guidelines corresponding to relevant experience. Review time will require a maximum of one business day.

Extend offer

Once the offer is reviewed and approved, you or the faculty member may extend the offer.

Start date

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs recommends that all new postdocs start on a Monday coinciding with New Employee Orientation.

New postdoctoral scholar orientation

All new postdoctoral scholars are required to attend Day One of OHSU's New Employee Orientation (NEO).

Organized by Organizational Effectiveness, Day One of NEO presents information pertinent to the entire OHSU workforce. Furthermore, the Day One NEO itinerary includes a breakout session specifically for postdocs - a New Postdoctoral Scholar Orientation led by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs - filled with information and resources specific to their appointments and training at OHSU.

To enroll a new postdoc in Day One of NEO, please visit the NEO Registration page on O2.

In the online registration form, please select Postdoc from the classification drop-down menu.

Vacation and sick time

On their employment start date, Postdoctoral Scholars paid by OHSU receive 80 hours of vacation. Thereafter, vacation is accrued annually at 80 hours per year. Postdoctoral Scholars receive 96 days of sick leave per year, accrued at 3.7 hours per biweekly pay period. Neither sick nor vacation accruals shall be paid out at the time of termination. Holidays shall be granted consistent with the unclassified employee policy.

For Postdoctoral Scholars paid by stipend, vacation and sick time accrual is consistent with the funding agency's requirements. If no vacation or sick time policy is addressed by the funding agency, the policy above shall apply. Holidays shall be granted consistent with the unclassified employee policy.


All vacation and sick leaves are tracked at the department level. To keep and accurate log of postdoc sick and vacation accrual and usage, please use this timekeeping template


Vacation and sick time shall not be paid out at the time of termination; however, if promoted to a faculty or staff position within OHSU, up to 160 hours of accrued vacation time and up to 96 hours of accrued sick time may be transferred to the new position (effective January 1, 2016). To arrange transfer of accrued leave to the new position, please send an email detailing the hours to transfer to with the subject line “Postdoc sick/vacation transfer.” 

The total duration of a postdoctoral appointment should not exceed five years, unless a special exception has been made with approval of an appropriate vice president. For any of your postdocs with tenures at or exceeding five years, it is highly recommended that you discuss a career transition plan with these individuals. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is happy to work with you and your postdoc on such a plan.