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Appointment and Promotion

UC Davis employs approximately 900 postdoctoral scholars who contribute to the academic community by enhancing the research and education programs of the university. The postdoctoral experience emphasizes scholarship and continued research training. UC's postdoctoral scholars bring expertise and creativity that enrich the research environment for all members of the university community, including graduate and undergraduate students.

In November 2008, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) was recognized as the exclusive representative of UC postdoctoral scholars. Individuals in the following titles are in the postdoctoral Scholar bargaining unit (coded as the PX unit):

  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Employee (Title Code 3252)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Fellow (Title Code 3253)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Paid Direct (Title Code 3254)

View the contract.

Appointment Guidelines

Here is a short list of steps to follow in order to ensure proper appointment, reappointment and separation of postdoctoral scholars.

Criteria of Appointment

Postdoctoral scholar appointments are intended to provide a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training. Appointment as a postdoctoral scholar requires a doctoral degree (Ph.D., M.D.) or foreign equivalent. Individuals pursuing clinical fellowships and residencies in the health sciences are excluded from appointment to these titles.

Term of Appointment

Postdoctoral scholar appointments are temporary and have fixed end dates. Appointments are normally one year's duration. Initial appointment of a postdoctoral scholar shall be for a minimum of one year. Subsequent appointments may be shorter than a year, under limited circumstances. Total duration of an individual's postdoctoral service may not exceed five years including postdoctoral service at other institutions.


Beginning June 1, 2011, the postdoctoral scholar experience-based salary/stipend minimum was implemented. Below is the salary scale in affect for new appointments and renewals on or after February 1, 2012.

Appointment Step for
Experience Level

Minimum Salary/Stipend Rates

0 (0-11 months)


1 (12-23 months)


2 (24-35 months)


3 (36-47 months)


4 (48-60 months)


5 (61-72 months)
by exception



The following are the eligibility requirements for Postdoctoral Scholars to enroll initially and maintain enrollment in UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan programs. These eligibility requirements have been derived from and are consistent with the eligibility requirements for the UC faculty-staff employee benefits plans.

  1. Initial Eligibility: Postdoctoral Scholars – Employee, Fellow, and Paid Direct. All three types of Postdoctoral Scholar are required to have an initial appointment at 100% time for at least three months or 50%-99% time for at least 12 months.
  2. Eligibility Retention: Postdoctoral Scholars – Employee. Postdoctoral Scholars – Employee are required to maintain an average regular paid time of at least 17.5 hours per week (43.75%). [Note: the paid percent time may differ from the appointment percent time.]
  3. Eligibility Retention: Postdoctoral Scholars – Fellow and Paid Direct. Postdoctoral Fellows and Paid Directs are required to maintain an appointment at a minimum of 43.75% time.


Information about the Postdoctoral Scholars Benefits Plan (PSBP). Includes contact and broker information (Garnett-Powers & Associates).

Less than 100% Time Appointments

Postdocs may request appointments for less than 100% time (total of all appointments) for one of three reasons: health, family responsibilities or external employment. The postdoc and the PI must complete a memorandum of understanding regarding the responsibilities and duties to be expected. See the Petition for Exception.

Five-year Limit of Appointment

By exception, a sixth year of appointment may be granted to postdoctoral scholars. See the Five-Year Limit Guidelines.
Also, see the Petition for Exception.

Last Updated: February 26, 2014