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Administrative Regulation 5:1

University of Kentucky Administrative Regulation 5:1 Postdoctoral Scholars, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Visiting Scholars

AR 5:1

The definition of a postdoc

"A postdoctoral scholar ("postdoc") is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing." 

As defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). 

Eligibility criteria

Postdoctoral candidates are required to have completed all of their PhD requirements (final examination, dissertation submitted) ​

  • Note: for candidates who have completed requirements (i.e. defended and submitted dissertation) but await their diploma, a letter of completion from the registrar, graduate school, or other administrative unit from the institution where the degree will be conferred is acceptable

Postdoctoral candidates are not allowed to be recruited in the same department or research unit as the one where they received their PhD

  • Note: unless otherwise approved by the Provost

Postdoctoral candidates  are required to have less than 5 years of postdoctoral training in the U.S.

    Hiring and immigration

    Hiring is completed through standard departmental procedures (pre-employment screen, hiring packet, I-9, Payment Authorization Request, etc.) and immigration requests are submitted to International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).

    For international candidates, departments are encouraged to use the following template: 

    International Postdoc Offer letter template (MS Word document)

    Note: to initiate an immigration request with ISSS for an international candidate (J-1 visa), ISSS requires that an offer be endorsed by the Sponsoring Professor, Department Chair, College Dean, and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Immigration requests are automatically routed to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs via iCAT so only approvals from the Sponsoring Professor, Department Chair, and College Dean are needed when submitting to iCAT. 

    For domestic candidates, offer letters are not required to be endorsed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs although departments are encouraged to use the following template: 

    Domestic Postdoc Offer letter template (MS Word document)

    Scholar or Fellow? 

    Postdoctoral Scholar

    A postdoctoral scholar has an earned doctoral degree and is pursuing an individualized program of advanced training in research, teaching or other important aspects of academic work, for which the University has assumed a measure of responsibility. Although participation in the program provides advanced training, service is required as a condition of appointment with salary. A postdoctoral scholar has status both as a non-regular academic staff employee and as a postdoctoral student.

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    A postdoctoral fellow has an earned doctoral degree and is a recipient of a fellowship or training award. Through such an award, a postdoctoral fellow receives a stipend or living allowance (not considered as salary) from grant funds provided specifically for a particular field of study or training. No service to the University is required as a condition of receiving the stipend, although service may be rendered incidentally as part of the training or fellowship program. A postdoctoral fellow has status as a postdoctoral student but not as an employee.

    Notice of Appointment (NOA)

    The Notice of Appointment (NOA) is the official document that describes the terms of appointment for each postdoc. The NOA requires signatures by the appropriate Department Chair or Research Unit Director, the appropriate Dean, and the Provost. The Graduate School is authorized to sign NOAs on behalf of the Provost. 

    When preparing an NOA please download and use this template: 

    Notice of Appointment (PDF Document)

      Initial Appointment Form

      Documents needed

      • Prepared Notice of Appointment (signed by Appointee, Sponsoring Professor, and Unit Chair/Director​)
      • ZPAR
      • Copy of the signed offer letter​​​
      • Up-to-date Postdoc CV
      • Proof of Doctoral Degree (degree requirements have been fulfilled - i.e. defended and submitted dissertation)

      Initial Appointment Form

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      Initial Appointment Form