Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs
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Chapter 4

Appointment Process and Procedures for Postdoctoral Appointees

  • Identify open position(s).
  • Determine if advertising is necessary. Advertise. NOTE: BPP Faculty with open postdoctoral positions are welcome to post their positions AT NO COST on the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs posting site:
  • Identify candidates. NOTE: Principal Investigators contemplating appointing a foreign scholar to the University should speak with their Senior Business Administrator and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (215-898-4661). Immigration and Naturalization Service Regulations require that non-citizens apply for, and obtain, the appropriate visa and required endorsement before they can be lawfully employed.
  • Interview candidates. (see Affirmative Action Policy Statement
  • and check references.
  • Select final candidate.
  • Process necessary visa paperwork (if applicable).
  • Complete and forward standardized offer letter to candidate (see Appendix: Letters) after negotiating a start date and initial stipend amount.
  • When candidate has accepted offer, as indicated by countersigning the offer letter, he/she and the Faculty member should discuss any additional arrangements that are needed before the official start date.
  • When the postdoc arrives, the departmental Business Administrator will complete/collect initial appointment paperwork with the new postdoc (see Appendix: Forms for links for all forms listed below):
    1. W-4 Form (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate)
    2. I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) with copies of documents. Signed by postdoc and Business Administrator.
    3. Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Appointment Information Form
    4. Initial Offer Letter (countersigned by postdoc and mentor)
    5. CV/Resume
    6. Diploma/Proof of Degree
    7. Copy of J-1 Department Form (or H1-B Department Form) ***Foreign nationals ONLY
    8. Postdoctoral Personal Data Form (
    9. Direct Deposit Form
    10. PennCard Request Form (For more information see Chapter 6)
    11. E-mail Address Application (
    12. Employee Emergency Contact Information Form
    13. Patent Policy/Participation Agreement Form (Section 2.1.1) (
    14. Black Key Application (
    15. School of Medicine Access Key Application OR HUP Identification Card (if applicable) Contact HUP Security at 349-5593

NOTE: Foreign Nationals MUST complete additional forms. See below.

  • BAs should give a postdoc Garnett-Powers & Associates contact information and website so they can read about the postdoc benefits package. The insurance enrollment process is done online and once the postdoc has been added to payroll he or she must go through the enrollment process on the Garnett-Powers website. The postdoc has a maximum of 30 days in which he or she can select insurance coverage. If a plan is not selected within 30 days since the initial start date in payroll, the postdoc will automatically be defaulted to the University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Insurance Plan. The postdoc will be able to enroll in the insurance plan after their record is entered into payroll and minimum record okayed by the tax office. A new file of benefits eligible postdocs is sent to Garnett-Powers every Wednesday and uploaded to their system on Thursday. For more information on current health insurance rates please visit the Garnett-Powers & Associates website and look under Enrollment-Monthly Premium Rates.

In order to confirm that a selection has been made, we ask that the Business Administrator complete the Dependent Contribution Worksheet and keep it on file along with the other necessary documents for initial appointment. This worksheet can be found on the Garnett-Powers & Associates website under Enrollment-Dependent Contribution Worksheet.

  • Enter the new postdoc using Initial Entry transaction in the Personnel/Payroll system. Refer to Payroll deadlines to ensure that information is entered and processed in a timely manner. Postdocs should be told where to pick up their check and who in the department can answer any payroll related questions.
  • Attach all initial appointment paperwork (Initial Offer Letter, CV/Resume, Diploma/Proof of Degree, Postdoctoral Personal Data Form, Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Appointment Information Form, W-4, I-9, Direct Deposit Form, and any other applicable documents for Foreign Nationals) to “Green” Transaction Sheet. Forward all paperwork to the School of Medicine Department of Finance, 356 Anatomy-Chemistry/6061 within 24 hours of entering “initial appointment” action in Personnel/Payroll system.


Upon arrival, Foreign Nationals must check in with the Office of International Programs to review their visa and entry paperwork, and they must obtain a social security number from the Social Security Office using Application Form SS-5. Business Administrators should then process the postdoc’s payroll. AFTER they are entered on the Payroll System, the following forms must be sent to the Tax Office:

  • Copies of the postdoc’s passport, VISA and INS form 1-94, Form I-20 or IAP-66
  • Social Security card (or receipt of application for SSN)
  • Original I-9 (with documents)
  • Original W-4
  • Original Graduate Student and Postdoc Appointment Information Form
  • Original Direct Deposit form
  • Original Foreign National Information Form (FNIF)
  • Original Form 8233

Copies of all forms go to SOM Department of Finance with personnel transaction "Green sheet" and a note that originals have been brought to the Tax Office. Postdocs with questions or concerns should bring their paperwork to the tax office in person or contact the office via e-mail or telephone.

  • Process Late Pay if necessary.

Payroll Titles

Postdocs should be entered into the University’s Personnel/Payroll System with one of three possible job titles:

  • POSTDOC FELLOW (217603)

Most postdoctoral appointees in the School of Medicine are funded through Principal Investigator initiated research awards and are classified as Postdoctoral Researchers.

NRSA Postdoc Fellows are funded from individual or institutional NIH Training Grants (called National Research Service Awards OR “F32”s and “T32”s) and are the second largest group of postdocs.

Postdoc Fellows make up less than ten percent of all biomedical postdocs. This title is reserved for a limited number of postdoc initiated fellowships. BAs should exercise care when considering the Postdoc Fellow title.

An ongoing challenge regarding postdoctoral job classification results from the fact that postdocs may have multiple sources of funding. Many funding sources have strict guidelines about the allowability of supplementation or additional compensation being paid to postdocs on those funds. (For example: The National Research Service Award Guidelines for Individual and Institutional Grants states “Federal funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derive... Under no circumstances may Public Health Service funds be used for supplementation”). Due the uniqueness of each situation, Business Administrators are encouraged to ask for assistance with classifying postdocs whenever necessary.