Post Doctoral Scholars

UC Santa Cruz Postdoctoral Scholar Symposium, photo c/o Tri Tran-Viet

Postdoctoral scholars at UCSC participate in cutting edge research backed by the resources and benefits of the University of California statewide system while enjoying a collegial atmosphere and scenic location unique to UC Santa Cruz.

What is a postdoctoral scholar? 

A "postdoc" or postdoctoral scholar is a scientist pursuing additional training after their PhD under the guidance of a faculty mentor. "Postdoc" in this context refers to specific training position and does NOT mean "anyone with a PhD.”

Postdoc positions are temporary and intended to provide experience and training for careers in academia, industry, government, or the nonprofit sector.

Postdocs may not have had more than five years of postdoctoral experience, including at other institutions.

What do postdocs do?

Postdocs carry out research in the laboratory of a faculty advisor in a manner similar to graduate students. Postdocs are expected to be more independent and experienced than a graduate student. Postdocs often train and mentor graduate and undergraduate students while receiving mentorship from faculty members, making them an important part of the training environment.

Graph of number of postdoctoral researchers by division, 2019

Mentoring and Training of Postdoctoral Researchers

At the University of California, postdoctoral experience emphasizes scholarship and continued research training under the oversight of a faculty mentor. “Faculty mentors are responsible for guiding and monitoring the advance training of Postdoctoral Scholars. In that role, faculty mentors should make clear the goals, objectives, and expectations of the training program and the responsibilities of Postdoctoral Scholars. They should regularly and frequently communicate with Postdoctoral Scholars, provide regular and timely assessments of the Postdoctoral Scholar’s performance, and provide career advice and job placement assistance.” (Academic Personnel Manual 390-6 – Responsibility).
2019 Postdoctoral Research Symposium, c/o Tri Tran-Viet


Edited with Catharina Casper-Lindley, PhD at the Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells (IBSC), 2019; and the UCSC STEM Postdocs Association (USPA), January 2018.