Postdoctoral Researchers come to MIT to develop their scholarly competence, working under the supervision of MIT faculty members. Appointments are of limited term (max 5 years) and are designed for those who have recently received their PhD.

The Department of Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) is home to approximately 50 Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates. 

MIT Postdoctoral Resources 

The following information and organizations are intended to serve and assist our postdoctoral community. 

  • Information for Postdocs from the Office of the V.P. for Research
  • Career Services and Resources
    MIT postdocs benefit from career guidance and strategies for industry, academic, and other tracks, thanks to a collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Research and Career Services, Career Advising & Professional Development (CAPD).
  • Postdoctoral Funding and Benefits
    Summary information related to salary/stipend thresholds, health benefits for postdoctoral fellows, mentoring requirements, and individual development plans.
  • The MIT Postdoctoral Association (PDA)
    A postdoc-led organization with the goal of providing support for over 1500 postdoctoral trainees appointed in 50 departments at MIT. The PDA is structured according to the guidelines provided by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) for forming and maintaining a PDA and supported by the MIT Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR).

Postdoctoral FAQs

What is the difference between a postdoctoral associate and a postdoctoral fellow?

A Postdoctoral Associate is an employee paid by a sponsored research grant administered through MIT.  Postdoctoral Fellows typically receive a stipend from an outside agency, whose funds sometimes are administered through MIT.  Postdoctoral Fellows are not employees of the Institute. For more information, please see

As a Postdoctoral Associate, what health insurance options do I qualify for?

Postdoctoral Associates holding appointments of at least 3 months or greater qualify for the MIT Traditional and MIT Choice health plans, in addition to other employee benefits.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow, what health insurance options do I qualify for?

Postdoctoral Fellows holding appointments of at least 3 months or greater qualify for the MIT Affiliate health plan.  In cases where the Fellow is on the Affiliate single or spouse plan, the Vice President for Research asks that faculty cover the difference in cost between the MIT Traditional and Affiliate health plans.

MIT Medical: Of Special Interest to Internationals 

Click here to read information on the MIT Medical site. 

What happens if I change status from a Postdoctoral Associate to a Fellow, or vice versa?

Changing from one postdoctoral status to another can have a number of implications, including eligibility for benefits, eligibility for certain visa types, tax implications, insurance rates, and more.  Please see the Office for the Vice President for Finance’s notice detailing some of these changes.  If you will be changing status, it is important to be sure to speak with Michele Harris, Human Resources Administrator to discuss your particular change in benefits and tax status.

What are the salary levels for Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows at MIT?

Postdoctoral salary levels are set by the Vice President for Research based on years of experience in accordance with the NIH stipend rates.  Please consult the Vice President for Research’s webpage for more information on the current minimum salary levels.

What are the policies regarding paid time off?

Postdoctoral Associates with at least one year appointments accrue 15 days of vacation time during their first year, and 20 days each year thereafter.  All vacation time must be reported in the SRS Vacation Tracker within 30 days of the trip.  Postdoctoral Associates should consult with their supervisors prior to taking time off from the laboratory.  Postdoctoral Fellows do not formally accrue vacation time.  However, MIT expects that fellows receive the same vacation time as associates.  Postdoctoral Fellows should consult with their supervisors prior to taking time off from the laboratory.

When do I get paid?

Postdocs who receive payment through MIT are paid twice per month, on the 15th and on the last business day of each month.

How long do postdoctoral appointments at MIT last?

Postdoctoral Researchers are typically appointed on one-year terms renewable by mutual agreement and funding availability.  The maximum length of a postdoctoral appointment at MIT is 5 years.

I will be leaving prior to my appointment end date.  Whom do I notify?

Please notify your supervisor and group administrative assistant as soon as possible in advance of your departure date.  Please also be sure to email to notify them of your ending appointment. Visit this webpage for a departure checklist.

I am an international postdoc and will be traveling.  What do I need to do?

At least 30 days prior to traveling, it is important to discuss your travel plans with the International Scholars Office, so that they may advise you on any additional steps to prepare for your trip.

Mentoring Plan

Information coming soon

Annual Development Reviews

Postdoctoral Scholars complete development reviews on a yearly basis as part of their continued growth and mentorship as a scholar at MIT.  These reviews are opportunities for you and your faculty mentor to discuss your progress, career plans, publications, professional goals, and experience working in the laboratory.

DMSE Human Resources will contact you prior to your appointment extension.  However, for reference, you may review the Annual Development Form at any time.


DMSE Postdoctoral Scholars are encouraged to contact the DMSE Human Resources Team with questions regarding appointments, visas, benefits, health insurance, and more.

Building 6, Room 101

Casey Johnson - DMSE HR Administrator
André Obin - DMSE HR Coordinator
Priyanka Chaudhuri - DMSE Senior HR Representative
Sarah Ciriello - DMSE Administrative Assistant