Becoming a Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral fellows play an important role in research and teaching community at Queen’s. A postdoctoral fellow is a trained researcher who joins the University under the guidance of an established supervisor to broaden their expertise, strengthen their publication record and CV, build their reputation, and enhance their ability to secure a career as faculty member or researcher. Joining the university as a postdoc means you are connecting to a group of approximately 200 colleagues whose discoveries and innovations make Queen’s one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities. This site provides information on eligibility, the appointment process, and funding your position.

Postdoctoral fellowships may be advertised on departmental websites, in scholarly publications, and on the Queen’s Human Resources page. Many fellows find their position by contacting Queen’s faculty directly. Exploring our Faculties & Schools will help you narrow your search. Additionally, you can browse funding opportunities that can support your research.

Please note that the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs does not process postdoctoral applications.

Have a question? Email the SGSPA's Postdoc Coordinator:


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Queen's is an organizational member of the National Postdoctoral Association

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The Appointment Process

Before proceeding, please ensure you are eligible for a postdoctoral fellowship at Queen’s. To be hired as a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s you must:

  • Have completed your doctoral degree within five years of the appointment. Exceptions to this window may be made for those individuals who have recognized career interruptions (e.g., parental leave) after receiving their doctorate.
  • Receive an appointment for a limited period (usually two to three years), sometimes with the possibility of renewal
  • Receive supervision by a Queen’s faculty member
  • Work full-time in a research setting, preparing for an academic or research career

To become a postdoc at Queen’s, you must identify a supervisor with whom you can collaborate. In other words, the recruitment and selection process is managed by this supervisor or their designate. Queen’s faculty can recruit fellows, and you can contact a prospective supervisor directly to begin a conversation.

Your faculty supervisor must ensure that the recruitment process adheres to all relevant legislation, including the Human Rights Code and the Employment Standards Act, and must consider Queen’s employment equity goals. They should also adhere to the recruiting and posting regulations found in the Collective Agreement for those positions falling within the scope of the Public Service Alliance of Canada 901 (PSAC-901) bargaining unit.

Once you and your supervisor have agreed on the details of your fellowship, several documents must be completed.

a) Complete the Postdoctoral Fellow Appointment Datasheet (HR-FRM-045), which will help determine your bargaining status unit.

b) Fill out the PDF Offer of Employment letter (42KB) using either the Queen’s Funded PDF Offer Template or the Externally Funded PDF Offer Template (coming soon). Questions about which template to use can be directed to the Faculty Relations Office. This letter must specify the terms of the appointment, the salary or stipend arrangements, the nature of research to be undertaken, and any special conditions. Some points to discuss with your supervisor include setting clear expectations for the fellowship in writing, identifying the individual(s) responsible for determining the research program, designating other mentors, clarifying any teaching opportunities, outlining duties for career support, defining contract extension prospects, and ensuring funding is secure for the fellowship duration. Many of these factors can be meaningfully explored through our Individual Development Plan (IDP) for postdocs, which you are strongly encouraged to complete.

c) The candidate must accept the Offer of Employment by signing and returning an original copy of the offer prior to the appointment start date.

d) Register with the SGSPA on our website and set up a meeting with the Coordinator of Postdoctoral Affairs.

e) Contact Human Resources to make an appointment for enrolling in the University Health Insurance Plan prior to your first day. Coverage is mandatory for all employees who are not already covered under a Provincial Health Plan in Canada (e.g., OHIP).

f) Set up payroll documentation and benefits enrollment through Human Resources, which must be done within 31 days of the hiring date to avoid the late application process. This document (HR-FRM-031 Payroll – Direct Deposit Authorization Form) should be submitted to Human Resources before the Payroll cut-off dates to ensure you receive your stipend payment on time.

International Postdoctoral Fellows

Many of our postdoctoral fellows join us from around the world. For questions regarding work permits or visa requirements, consult our Incoming International Postdocs page or visit the Faculty Recruitment and Support Office website.