COLLEGE OF NATURAL SCIENCES (CNS) POLICY AND PROCEDURE FOR HIRING POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS

overview

A Postdoctoral Fellow position is a benefits-eligible, temporary training position for a recent PhD graduate, with salary paid through UT Payroll Services. This position allows for a maximum five-year assignment. Time spent as a University Research Affiliate-Postdoctoral counts toward the five year total. Rare exceptions to the five-year rule are handled on a case-by-case basis and require prior approval from the Dean's Office and the Provost Office.

Important to note: Postdocs who move between paid and unpaid (Research Affiliate Postdoc) titles will be limited to a total of five years. Assignments in the Research Affiliate Postdoctoral Fellow title count toward the five-year maximum.

Qualifications

QUALIFICATIONS

Incumbent must have received their PhD or completed all qualifications and degree requirements within three years of the effective date of the their initial assignment.

  • For example, if the initial assignment date is 09/01/2016, incumbent must have graduated or completed all degree requirements on or after 09/01/2013.
  • If more than three years have elapsed since the PhD was awarded, a different title should be used. Contact the Dean's Office for assistance.
  • If more than three years have elapsed since the PhD was awarded, but the department/PI believes overriding circumstances warrant placing an individual in the Postdoctoral Fellow title, a petition for exception can be sent to the Dean's Office explaining the need and reason for the request. If the Dean approves the petition, it must still be reviewed and approved by the Provost Office prior to an offer to the postdoc.

Assignment details must be benefits eligible. If the assigned hours or the full duration of the assignment are less than benefits eligibility requirements, the Research Fellow title should be used instead.

  • Exceptions to this policy will be handled on a case-by-case basis between the Dean's Office and the department.

Verification of Degree

VERIFICATION of degree

CNS Human Resources will review the credentials of the proposed Postdoctoral Fellow in order to approve the assignment to the title. Department contacts must send scanned copies of the following documents to personnel@cns.utexas.edu in order to have the HRMS assignment approved:

  • PDF copy of signed offer letter, stating start date, end date, salary, and other standard agreements and statements. Original offer letter should be placed in the departmental employee file. Use the offer letter template provided.
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV) of the individual, with the terminal degree noted on the CV.
  • Official notification from the administration of the granting institution that the individual has graduated or has completed all degree requirements. Original documentation should be placed in the departmental employee file. Examples of official documentation of the degree include:
    • Copy of diploma (preferred) or official English translation of diploma
    • Copy of a letter of completion on letterhead from the office of the registrar or graduate office confirming completion of degree requirements
    • Copy of official transcript in English with "degree awarded" information

HRMS Document Remarks

HRMS DOCUMENT REMARKS

Initial Assignment Document must state:

  • Initial PDF assignment MM/DD/YYYY
  • PhD in SUBJECT conferred MM/DD/YYYY from XYZ University, State, Country
  • Type of degree verification received
  • Full name of faculty member or designated PI with whom incumbent will work, and a brief description of the research topic
  • Length of the assignment indicated in the offer letter and potential 5-year maximum end date.
  • Examples:
    1. Initial PDF assignment 09/01/2016, PhD in Chemistry conferred by Peking University, China on 08/15/2016. Copy of diploma received. Working with Dr. John Smith on a project involving compounds and elements. One year assignment with possibility of annual renewal up to five years up to 8/31/2021. (if applicable).
    2. Initial PDF assignment 09/01/2016. Incumbent has completed all requirements for a PhD in Biology. Copy of official transcript from Moscow State University, Russia received. Working with Dr. Jane Adams on projects involving plants. One year assignment with possibility of annual renewal up to five years up to 8/31/2021 (if applicable).

Modify Documents

Any subsequent HRMS modify document must contain Document Remarks with the initial PDF assignment, and explain the reason for the modification.

  • Examples:
    1. Initial PDF 09/01/2015. This document updates funding only.
    2. Initial PDF 09/01/2015. This document extends the assignment to MM/DD/YYYY.
    3. Initial PDF 09/01/2015. This document extends the assignment to MM/DD/YYYY and updates funding.

NOTE: If funding does not extend the full length of the assignment or the entire fiscal year, whichever is applicable, provide an explanation of the UNFUNDED line in the Funding section of the HRMS document.

Postdoctoral Fellow Salary Policy

CNS POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW SALARY/merit POLICY

The College and the University have instituted minimum salary requirements for Postdoctoral Fellows. Contact the Dean's Office for information regarding minimum salary requirements.

Merit increases for postdoctoral fellows

At the time of the first assignment renewal, departments should decide whether to use the anniversary date or 9/1 as the date on which merit increases will be processed. This is a one-time decision and remains in place for the duration of the postdoctoral fellowship.

Assignment Renewals

Assignment renewals

Assignment renewals should be processed on a Modify document. Create the Modify and change the end date of the assignment based on the renewal letter. Explain the extension in Document Remarks, and include the initial PDF assignment date. Send the renewal letter to personnel@cns.utexas.edu and route the assignment forward.

If the renewal is processed after the incumbent's original end date has separated, change the View as of date on the position details page to the date of the separation and create a Correct Ended Incumbent document. Proceed with the extension as described in the previous paragraph.