Chapter 5 – Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows

(President 3/79; amended 10/94; 10/04; 8/09; 5/15; 5/17; 11/5/21)

5.1 Employment Eligibility

  1. All newly appointed University employees must have their identity and their eligibility to work in the United States verified. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 is used to verify the employee's identify and eligibility to work.
  2. The I-9 form must be completed by the third day of employment. Failure to complete the I-9 form in a timely manner or at all may subject the hiring department to penalties and fines from the federal government for failing to provide proof of work authorization. If a person is appointed who is not eligible to work, their employment must be terminated immediately upon learning they are not authorized to work. It is the hiring department's responsibility to ensure that a completed I-9 form is submitted to the Payroll Office.

5.2 Definitions and Classification

(Amended 11/5/21)
  1. Postdoctoral scholars at The University of Iowa are recognized as persons engaged primarily in research, as part of a continuum of post-Baccalaureate education and training, unique from either students or faculty members. The individual's classification, responsibilities, and benefits have been tailored to this unique status. As a postdoctoral scholar or fellow at The University of Iowa, they have access to some of the opportunities and services available to students and some of the benefits provided to faculty.

    "Postdoctoral scholar" and "postdoctoral fellow" are terms used at The University of Iowa to designate temporary, doctoral-level researchers engaged in advanced education and training designed to prepare for an academic and/or research career. The University recognizes two classifications of postdoctoral appointees, depending on the sources of their stipend and research funding, and the nature of their research activities.
    1. Postdoctoral scholars are engaged in research supported by external grants or contracts or by University of Iowa General Education funds that may be made available to faculty members. This type of appointment is used for those not on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) grant. Individuals  appointed under this classification (appointment code FP01) have specific responsibilities and research expectations directly related to the grant, contract, or University-funded program.
    2. Postdoctoral fellows are supported by NIH NRSA grants. The primary obligation to accomplish the aims of the fellowship rests with the Fellow (appointed under code FP02).
  2. Length of appointment. Postdoctoral scholars and postdoctoral fellows are temporary appointments at The University of Iowa. The postdoctoral experience at The University of Iowa will not extend past five years, unless there are unusual circumstances. The department would need to send justification of extending this appointment for approval to the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Education.

5.3 Registration and Certification

  1. University registration and records. Whatever the classification of the appointment, the individual has a special status of postdoctoral scholar within the Graduate College, which has the responsibility for administering postdoctoral education. A transcript will be created by the Office of the Registrar to record postdoctoral appointment status. Following the postdoctoral appointment, some employers, including the federal government, may require or request such documentation as a condition of employment.

    The transcript record also includes any courses that the individual takes while at The University of Iowa. They may enroll in the following courses without tuition or fee assessment: 650:604 Principles of Scholarly Integrity, 650:605 Writing for Learned Journals, and 650:606 Research Skills. If the individual wishes to register for any other course work, they must be admitted to the University as a non-degree, graduate special student (G9). Enrollment under this classification will generate tuition and fees, for which the individual will be responsible.
  2. Certification of postdoctoral work. The University Registrar will, upon request, issue a certificate recognizing postdoctoral education, provided the appointment was for one semester or longer. The University transcript also will reflect the beginning and ending dates of the postdoctoral appointment.

5.4 Administration of Appointment

(Amended 11/5/21)

The Graduate College is responsible for administrative matters relating to postdoctoral education at The University of Iowa and is the primary contact regarding the postdoctoral educational experience. The Graduate College also provides or can arrange for counseling, mediation, or other services for postdoctoral scholars and fellows. Questions regarding the policies, benefits, and services applicable or available to postdoctoral scholars and fellows should be directed to the Graduate College. Questions particular to the appointment, its terms, requirements, or limitations should be directed to the faculty advisor or the appointing department.