Three postdoc students chatting outside on a stairwell at the Center for Planetary Health, Tempe campus

Postdoc Handbook


At Arizona State University, innovation runs on postdoc power.

Postdoctoral scholars are an essential part of the ASU academic and research community and the ASU Postdoctoral Affairs Office was created to support the personal growth and professional development of each postdoc. The Postdoctoral Affairs Office is housed within the Graduate College at ASU. We collaborate with university partners, faculty, postdocs and external partners like the National Postdoctoral Association to provide postdocs with a number of community-building and professional development programs to enrich your experience at ASU, as well as your academic or professional career.  

Join the Postdoc slack workspace.

ASU Resources

Postdoc Council

The Graduate College supports a committee of ASU postdocs who provide leadership in the design and implementation of events for the postdoc community, including National Postdoc Appreciation Week, Arizona Postdoc Research Conference, monthly social events and new postdoc Welcomes.  Appointments are made each July for the fiscal year.

Research Administration

Research Development enables faculty, staff and students to find funding and develop more competitive proposals via the resources and services we promote. See video resources for proposal development.


  • There are eight libraries across the four ASU campuses, open to ASU faculty, staff, and students, as well as the community.

  • Culture Pass is available to ASU faculty, staff, and students to provide free admission to area museums and cultural centers.  

  • Data Science

  • Map and Geospatial Hub

Counseling Services

The Employee Assistance Office helps faculty and staff identify and resolve personal and professional issues that may affect their performance at work or family and social relationships.

Print Lab

The Print and Imaging Lab is a full-service in-house print facility, powered by students at Arizona State University. Using state-of-the-art print and finishing technology, the Print Lab offers solutions for nearly any print project.

Campus Map

See ASU's interactive campus map.

Passport Office

The ASU Passport Office is open 8:30-4:00 Monday through Friday, by appointment.

Campus Activities


The Sun Devil Fitness Complex (SDFC) has locations at each of Arizona State University’s campuses, allowing you to make healthy choices around your busy schedule.  

Fine Arts

  • See live Broadway productions at the Gammage, right here at ASU. 

  • School of Music, Dance and Theatre - The School of Music, Dance and Theatre offers more than 650 concerts, recitals and dance and theatre productions each year.  

Clubs and activities

  • Many of the activities available to ASU employees are curated by the ASU Staff Council.

Postdoc Resources

    International Students and Scholars Center

    Metro Area

    Weather (Phoenix Metro)

    • Fall, Winter and Spring are generally mild. Summers are very hot and dry, and can result in dangerous situations. Always drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and sunglasses, and utilize umbrellas for shade if you plan to be out in the open.  

    • Late summer brings the Monsoon Season, which peaks in late July and August. Heavy rain, flooding, and dust storms are typical and can also provide dangerous situations, especially while driving. Never enter a flooded roadway, and if visibility is diminished due to dust storms, pull over until the storm passes through.   

    Child Care


    • Parking and costs
      • ASU Parking and Transportation manages all parking on campus. All parking lots and garages are paid parking, and require permits or hourly/daily payment.   

    • Light Rail
      • The Metro Light Rail connects north-central Phoenix to downtown Mesa, with stops at Tempe campus, and downtown Phoenix campus. Access to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is available from the Light Rail via the SkyTrain. Fares can be paid per ride, per day or per month.  

    • Bus
      • The greater Phoenix metropolitan area has an extensive network of bus service to the entire valley. Fares can be paid per ride, per day or per month.  

    • Rideshare
      • Uber and Lyft are primary rideshare services in the Phoenix area. Other options include Waymo and totalride.

    • Bikes
      • ASU is a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University. ASU requires students, faculty and staff to register their bicycle. Bicyclists should lock bikes or use the free Bike Valet option when not in use. ASU shuttles are equipped with bike racks for bicyclists who work or study on other campuses.  

    • Campus Shuttle
      • ASU offers free campus shuttle service between the four campuses. Shuttles are equipped with wifi and bike racks for commuting between campuses. Shuttles do not operate on university holidays.

    • Airports
      1. Sky Harbor International Airport is the primary airport in the Phoenix metro and is located near downtown Phoenix. This airport is about 15 minutes from ASU Tempe campus. Parking at Sky Harbor can be quite expensive. Primary carriers include American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines. 

      2. Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport is located on the far east side of the Phoenix metro, and is close to the ASU Polytechnic Campus. Gateway Airport’s primary carrier is Allegiant Airlines.

    • Drivers License/MVD
      • Arizona’s motor vehicle department - Most U.S. states have reciprocity with Arizona and will not require a written or road test. Canada, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan have driver’s license reciprocity with Arizona. All other countries may require a written and/or road test.

    Scholars handbook

    The J-1 Scholars handbook includes info about housing, banking, transportation, health & safety.

    Additional resources


    ASU is an organizational member of the National Postdoctoral Association which provides toolkits and resources for postdocs.
     Create an account here.

    ASU subscribes to the PhD Career Training Platform which provides video resources on the job search for PhDs. Login to the platform with your ASU single sign on (SSO).

    ASU is a member of the Center for the Integration of Research Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) network. Access their Events & Courses page to view resources to expand your teaching development.

    Policies and benefits

    University Guidelines

    Postdoctoral scholars are expected to carry out the research plan and fulfill the goals established with the supervising faculty member; to assist the faculty member in fulfilling the requirements of the grant, contract or project in a timely manner; to communicate regularly with the faculty member; and to notify the faculty member of any change in research plans. Postdoctoral scholars funded through institutional training grants or fellowships may have additional responsibilities identified by the funding source. Visit ASU Academic Personnel > Guidelines for Postdoctoral Scholars for more information.



    • Vacation Leave 
      • Full-time postdoctoral scholars on a fiscal appointment accrue 10 vacation days in the first year of appointment and 15 vacation days in subsequent years. Vacation days do not carry over into the following year and are not paid out after the postdoctoral appointment. Full-time postdoctoral scholars on an academic appointment do not accrue vacation. Visit ASU HR >  Postdoctoral Scholar Hires, ABOR Conditions of Postdoctoral Service.

    • Sick Leave
    • Parental Leave
      • Postdoctoral scholars… who have completed at least one academic year's service are eligible for up to twelve weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child and will continue to receive their stipend and associated benefits (health insurance and tuition remission) during this twelve‐week period. If both parents are postdoctoral scholars…who have completed at least one academic year’s service, they may choose to split the leave between them. The department is responsible for funding these costs. Visit ASU Academic Personnel > Parental Leave to learn more.

    Hiring and Termination

    • ABOR Conditions of Postdoctoral Service

    • 5-year limit 
      • Postdoctoral scholar appointments may be renewed annually on a fiscal year basis for up to four years, so long as the postdoctoral scholar is within five years from receipt of the doctoral degree. Any further extensions must be approved by the Office of the University Provost. Appointments may be terminated prior to the end of the contract year based on unsatisfactory performance or when funding is no longer available. Visit the Guidelines for Postdoctoral Scholars for more information.

    • Reappointment


    • New Employee Orientation

    • Health
      • Within 30 days of your hire or eligibility date, complete your benefits enrollment for medical, life insurance, short-term disability, flexible spending or health savings accounts. 
      • You can compare your benefit plan options on our employee healthcare webpage and review the Health Insurance Marketplace Notice.
      • Failure to complete your benefits enrollment during your 30-day enrollment period waives your right to enroll in health or welfare plans until the next benefits annual open enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event. 
    • Retirement
      • Although postdoctoral scholars are not eligible to participate in a mandatory retirement plan, you are eligible to participate in one of our voluntary retirement plans at any time during your employment.
        • - Arizona University System Voluntary 403(b) 
        • - Deferred Compensation Plan 457(b)

    Roles on grants

    • Postdocs are considered non-ASU employees and therefore are not permitted to serve as Principal Investigator on grants, unless the sponsor encourages postdocs to serve as PI.  In such a case, the application form shall list a PI-eligible university employee as an investigator.  This is written in the Research and Sponsored Projects Manual 
    • The ASU Office of Research Administration also lists postdoctoral fellows/appointees as NOT eligible to serve as the sole, primary PI on an externally sponsored project.  Postdocs my serve as Co-PI or key personnel with a lead PI who meets all eligibility requirements.  This is written in the Research Personnel PI Eligibility guidelines.  

    Postdoc checklist


    1. Check-in with your department administrator or HR representative. They will talk to you about any new hire paperwork that must be completed before you begin work.
      • If an international scholar - Check-in with the Office of International Student & Scholar Services. 
    2.  Check-in with your Principal Investigator (P.I. or supervisor). They can introduce you to people you’ll be working with and help you become familiar with your work area. Checklist for Mentees.
    3. Register for HR New Employee Orientation.
    4. Find the transit option that fits l Register for parking permit or transit pass.
    5. Review the Postdoc Handbook on the Postdoctoral Affairs website.
    6. Check with local HR and your mentor to help you identify needed mandatory training. These training requirements depend on grant funding sources and the type of research and work environment. Postdocs can have one or more areas of mandatory training, such as lab safety, animal welfare, human subjects, HIPAA, and the responsible conduct of research.
    7. Work on an individual development/training plan within the first month of employment. They can be used for self-management, but ideally consider working with trusted mentor(s) to obtain feedback on the plan and to help ensure that the primary mentor helps to support your needs and to help you plan your time for these activities to occur. Two individual development planning and career exploration websites include MyIDP for postdocs in the sciences and Imagine PhD for postdocs in the humanities and social sciences.