Applying for Postdoc Fellowships
In science and engineering, postdocs are growing in emphasis. They are often a prerequisite for faculty positions at Research I or top-tier liberal arts institutions. Social sciences and humanities postdocs exist as well, although they are somewhat less common.
The Purpose of a Postdoc
A postdoctoral fellowship is a research appointment that offers you the opportunity to pursue, expand or deepen your scholarly research. It can also broaden your teaching experience, often with a lighter teaching load.
- Length of engagement: Postdoctoral fellowships typically involve a fixed, 1–3 year commitment.
- Setting: Postdocs are usually at a university or setting outside of your graduate institution, perhaps in government labs or departments.
Factors to Consider
A postdoc is not for everyone, but it can be a strong beginning to your post-graduate career. Here are some things to think about:
- Your career goals: Is a postdoc required or something you want to pursue to prepare for an academic or industry position?
- Your interests: What kind of postdoc best serves your interests and goals?
- Focus of research: Will you choose a postdoc in your current area of expertise, or one that expands your research into another field?
- Location: Do you prefer a large research university or a smaller school?
- Research facilities: What facilities and resources suit your research goals?
- Principal Investigator (PI): What qualities in a PI/mentor are important? How will you assess and compare?