The Office of Postdoctoral Programs


Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows can expect a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training under the guidance of a faculty mentor, with significant attention to their personal professional development as defined by an Individual Development Plan. Your position as Postdoctoral Scholar or Fellow is not so much a job as it is a stepping stone to your future. Where the path leads is ultimately up to you, but we’re here to help!

Download the Postdoc Handbook


Types of Postdocs

At OSU there are several appointment types that are commonly referred to as “postdocs”, with a major distinction between postdocs who are employees and those who are trainees. This site addresses the trainees: Postdoctoral Scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows.

Postdocs who are employees should consult with the Office of Human Resources for employee-related questions, although they are welcome to participate in programs sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Programs.

What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

A Postdoctoral Scholar is a mentored position restricted to individuals who have received Ph.D.s (or comparable advanced degrees) within five years and with a three-year maximum term at OSU.

Postdoctoral Scholars are mentored by professorial faculty members and they train within faculty research programs. As trainees their work is primarily for their own professional development. At least 15% of their time must be devoted to professional development activities outside of their research training activities. An Individual Development Plan, co-developed by the mentor and the Postdoctoral Scholar, defines the scope, goals and anticipated products from research training and professional development activities.

The best measure of success for a postdoctoral trainee position is subsequent employment as a fully independent researcher.

What is a Postdoctoral Fellow?

Fellows are typically awarded a fellowship independently by a federal or private agency. This generally means that the fellow has applied to (on their own), and secured funding from, an external funding agency.

These are short-term research appointments (typically two to three years maximum) under supervision of an OSU faculty member.

Health insurance is required and provided by OSU but paid by the Fellow or funding agency. The Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration manages the financial aspects of these positions and the Office of Postdoctoral Programs provides professional guidance and training opportunities.