Job Terms and Definitions

Published on: Jan 22, 2021

Job terms and definitions
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For many recent graduates, a postdoctorate position is a logical next step in developing a scholarly career. Postdocs typically provide a stipend, applied research or teaching opportunities, an incubation period for scholarly writing, and mentorship or training components. According to the Association of American Universities, the postdoctorate is defined as a position in which:

  • the appointee was recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D.) in an appropriate field; andthe appointment is temporary; and
  • the appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship; and
  • the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career; and
  • the appointment is not part of a clinical training program; and
  • the appointee works under the supervision of a senior scholar or a department in a university or similar research institution (e.g., national laboratory, NIH, etc.); and
  • the appointee has the freedom, and is expected, to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of the appointment.

Postdoctorate applications need to be prepared and submitted well in advance of anticipated graduation. The majority of application deadlines in the US fall between October and January, though deadlines they can occur as early as September and as late as February, as well as during the summer months. Be advised that opportunities outside the US may operate according to a different schedule.

Depending on the type of position, applications typcially consist of a research proposal and/or statement of teaching philosophy. Applicants need to provide these materials to their referees with ample advance notice. It is advisable, if not essential, that applicants contact proposed mentors prior to application in order to establish a preliminary work plan. Explore the links below for more information on postdoctorate opportunties and guidance preparing an application.

Please be advised the AAA is not responsible for either these websites or the information they provide but merely supplies the information as a service to the anthropological community.

Postdoctorate opportunities