Office of Post-Doctoral Training



Post-Doctoral Training

School of Graduate Studies

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Questions to ask before accepting a
post-doctoral position

  • What are the advisor's expectations of the post-doc?
  • Will the advisor or the post-doc determine the research program?
  • How many post-docs has this advisor had? Where did they go afterwards?
  • Will the advisor have time for mentoring (both research and career mentoring)? Or should I seek out other mentors?
  • How many others (graduate students, staff, post-docs) currently work for this advisor?
  • Will I be involved in grant writing? Teaching/mentoring? Presenting at conferences or other scholarly meetings? Review of manuscripts?
  • How long is financial support guaranteed? Is there potential to renew and if so, under what circumstances?
  • Can I count on help in finding a career (e.g., faculty, government or industrial) after completing the post-doc?
  • Will the advisor have adequate research funds to support the proposed research?

(Adapted excerpt from "Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineering, A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies," National Academy Press, Washington, DC.)