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.

As of 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.

New postdoctoral orientation

General onboarding of new hires is delivered via online, self-paced learning in Compass. You will need to help your new hire access their required training.

New Employee Orientation (NEO) is automatically assigned to all new hires on their start date. If your new hire does not see the appropriate NEO modules on their Compass home screen, they can find the General and Healthcare NEO courses using the search function in Compass or via the links on the onboarding homepage.  If access to Compass is not available on the new hire's start date, managers or new hires may contact for access assistance. 

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will reach out to new postdoc hires within one month of employment to provide access to postdoc-specific onboarding resources. 

In addition, the New Employee Education List reviews required Compass modules based on a new hire role, responsibilities, and work area. 

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 tracked at the departmental level. Postdoctoral scholars receive 8 hours of sick leave monthly tracked at the departmental level. Vacation and sick leave can be carried over from year to year. 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 from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For any of your postdocs with tenures at or exceeding five years, it is highly recommended 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.