Postdoctoral Scholar Defined

Postdoctoral scholars at UC Santa Cruz 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 UCSC.

What is a postdoctoral scholar? 

Postdoctoral scholars, or postdocs, are researchers pursuing additional training under the guidance of faculty mentors after receiving their Ph.D. “Postdoc” in this context refers to a specific training position and does not mean “anyone with a Ph.D.”

Postdoc positions are temporary and intended to provide experience and training for careers in academia, industry, government, or the nonprofit sector. UC Santa Cruz postdocs may not accrue more than five years of postdoctoral experience, including at other institutions prior to appointment at UCSC.

What do postdocs do?

Postdocs carry out research under the direction of faculty advisers in a manner similar to graduate student researchers. 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