Postdoc Appointments

Limited Terms

Postdoc appointments, both postdoctoral associates and scholars, have limited terms of up to five years at GW. If a postdoc has spent time in a postdoc role at another institution or in another field, the total time of training at GW will be limited to five years.

Postdocs whose initial appointment occurred prior to January 1, 2022 and are currently in their first through fourth years as a postdoc at GW are subject to the five-year term limit.

Postdocs whose initial appointment occurred prior to January 1, 2022 and are currently in their fifth year as a postdoc at GW or beyond will be granted one additional year.

Following the five-year training period at GW, a postdoctoral appointee must transition into a non-postdoc position at the university or another organization.

In extraordinary circumstances, extensions can be considered to the five-year term limit by seeking approval from the postdoc’s supervisor. Requests for extensions must be submitted to [email protected].

If you have questions about the five-year limit as it pertains to postdoc appointments, please reach out to [email protected].

Short-term and Temporary Appointments Prohibited

The initial appointment for a postdoc must be at least nine months (one academic year) to allow for benefits eligibility.

A temporary status is incompatible with the objectives of a postdoc position for which mentorship is a key component.

Full-time versus Part-time

Postdoctoral appointments are generally full-time exempt appointments with the expectation that they will work 40 hours per week. Part-time positions, no less than 75 percent effort, may be approved but will require managers to work with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) to ensure any exemptions are appropriate. Requests for part-time appointments must be submitted to [email protected].

Introductory Appointment Period

The Introductory Appointment Period (IAP) is the first 90 days following the date of appointment for postdocs.

Postdocs should schedule an informal discussion with their faculty mentor around day 45 (halfway through the IAP) to discuss their progress toward meeting performance expectations.

At the end of the 3-month (90 days) period, the faculty mentor will discuss performance with the postdoc. Prior to the discussion, the faculty mentor may ask the postdoc to complete a self-assessment as part of the review. After meeting with the postdoc, the faculty mentor will formally communicate whether or not the postdoc has successfully completed the Introductory Appointment Period.


Reappointment of postdoc associates and scholars will be considered based on:

  1. sufficient funding;
  2. the continuation of the project; and
  3. years in a postdoc role at GW (postdocs have a limited term of up to five years at the university)

Reappointment Letters

Postdocs will receive reappointment letters two months prior to the anniversary of the initial appointment. 

If a postdoc’s cumulative appointment is reaching the five-year maximum term, the postdoc will be notified that a reappointment may not be granted. We recommend a postdoc to start the consultation process with the faculty mentors several months prior to the end of the appointment if a postdoc is interested in finding a faculty/staff position within the George Washington University.