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Postdoctoral Scholars Regulation

The Postdoctoral Scholars Regulation (REG 10.10.8) outlines the qualifications, procedures, titles, definitions, appointments, salary requirements, expectations, benefits, and other provisions that oversee postdoctoral scholars and their relationship to the university. Postdoctoral scholars are encouraged to read over this regulation and direct any questions about it to Dr. Nisha Cavanaugh ( or 919.515.0326), Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Following are some of the major points from the Postdoctoral Scholars Regulation. In addition, a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) has been compiled regarding the Postdoctoral Scholars Regulation and the information it contains.

Definition of a Postdoctoral Scholar
Adapted from the Association of American Universities Committee on Postdoctoral Education Report and Recommendations (

  1. The appointee was recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D., DVM) in an appropriate field; and
  2. the appointment is temporary; and
  3. the appointment involves substantial research or scholarship; and
  4. the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career; and
  5. the appointment is not part of a clinical training program; and
  6. the appointee works under the supervisor of a scholar or a department in a university or similar research institution (e.g., national laboratory, NIH, etc.); and
  7. the appointee is expected to submit for publication the results of his/her research or scholarship conducted during the period of appointment, in consultation with his/her mentor..

Length of Appointment
The maximum length of a postdoctoral appointment is five (5) years.  All postdoctoral employees are subject to annual reviews and renewals.

Minimum Salary
Postdoctoral scholars must be, at a minimum, compensated at a rate that is at least 60% of the minimum starting academic year's salary for an assistant professor in the appropriate discipline as published in the University's approved faculty salary ranges established by Human Resources.

Employment Status
Postdoctoral scholars are classified as temporary appointees..  As temporary appointees, postdocs are not required to participate in any retirement system.  Postdoctoral scholars do have the option of participating in a 403b annuity program.  Information about this option is available at:

The postdoctoral appointment and salary should reflect the FTE of the appointment, which could be full-time or part-time.  The conditions of their apppointment should be clearly stated in their appointment letter.

Postdocs Who Are Not Paid by the University
“No-pay” appointments can be made in the Human Resources system for postdoctoral fellows who are not paid directly through the NC State University payroll system but get a fellowship directly from the sponsoring agency.  The no-pay appointment will give postdocs access to the gym, the library, and other campus facilities.

Exit Survey
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is interested in obtaining feedback from postdoctoral scholars before they leave the university.  OPA uses this information to improve services offered to postdocs as well as track the employment trends postdocs encounter once they leave their postdoctoral assignment.  The exit survey ( should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.  All responses to this survey will be kept confidential.  Thank you for your participation and for helping OPA enhance its offering to current and future postdocs!