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Postdoctoral Associates

Researchers kneeling on the ground, collecting samples from a stream.

Postdoctoral associates are critical members of the Virginia Tech community who innovate, create, and help propel the university to achieve its mission. Virginia Tech’s postdocs contribute to every college and institute; advance the pursuit of knowledge in every discipline; and represent the next generation of experts in their fields.

Virginia Tech is committed to supporting postdocs through this critical time in their career development by fostering community, supporting professional development, and providing opportunities to advance their scholarship. There are currently 194 postdoctoral associates at Virginia Tech.

Postdoctoral Scholar or Associate

According to the National Postdoctoral Association, a postdoctoral scholar is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing.

At Virginia Tech, the term postdoc can refer to two different employment situations:

  • Employees in the official university rank of “postdoctoral associate.” Eligibility for this rank requires an earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree in an appropriate academic field awarded in the previous five years. Appointment to this rank is a traineeship under the supervision of a more senior faculty scholar in preparation for a career in academia or research. The appointment is temporary in nature and is limited to a minimum of one year and a maximum total of five years. 
  • Employees who have earned a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree in the previous five years who are in an official university rank other than “postdoctoral associate." These positions are not considered traineeships and may fall under a number of official ranks such as “research associate,” “research scientist,” or “research assistant professor,” among others.