What is a Postdoc?

The University defines a Postdoctoral Fellow as an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • an individual who has normally been awarded a PhD or equivalent within five (5) years immediately preceding the appointment*
  • the appointment is normally one-to-two years and may be renewable to a maximum of five years from the year of PhD conferral.
  • the individual will work under the supervision of a faculty supervisor
  • the individual is encouraged and expected to pursue professional development opportunities to assist in the transition to their chosen career path

* Allowable extensions to the period of eligibility

Extensions to an individual’s period of eligibility will be considered if the postdoctoral candidate has had their career interrupted by extenuating circumstances (e.g., parental leave, illness, health-related family responsibilities, mandatory military service, disruptions due to war, civil conflicts and/or natural disasters in the country of residence, socio-economic reasons/lack of research opportunities, pandemic-related reasons, etc.).  Extensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis for career interruptions that occurred within 5-years of PhD completion. To inquire about extending a period of eligibility, please email postdoctoral.studies@usask.ca.

Appointment types


An in-scope postdoc receives full or partial funding from university sources (i.e. from a research grant or contract obtained by their supervisor, from a research unit of the University, etc.), and is considered an employee of the University of Saskatchewan.  The terms and conditions of their working relationship with the faculty supervisor will be governed by the Collective Agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).


An external postdoc receives 100% of their own transferrable funding from an external source (awarded directly to the individual, not to the supervisor). External postdocs are not considered employees of the University of Saskatchewan and are not in the scope of the PSAC bargaining unit.  Funding may be administered through university payroll, while others may be paid directly to the postdoc by the granting agency.

Finding a supervisor

Postdoctoral candidates are encouraged to identify and connect with faculty members with similar research interests to discuss the possibility of becoming a postdoctoral scholar at USask.  Here are some resources to begin your search:

Faculty members may recruit postdoctoral scholars directly by whatever method they deem appropriate, e.g. personal contacts, response to inquiries, job postings.

Appointment process

Before seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Scholar, faculty members must refer to the Postdoctoral Fellows Policy to determine:

  • If the candidate is eligible to hold a postdoctoral appointment at USask
  • Assess the source of funding, which will determine whether the prospective postdoc is considered in-scope of the PSAC bargaining unit or external (out-of-scope)
  • Ensure the funding amount meets or exceeds the minimum stipend/salary requirement of $42,500 per annum

Using the appropriate template below, the faculty member or a designated administrative staff member will draft a Letter of Offer and send it to the candidate to review and sign.

The postdoctoral candidate will submit the following documents to the faculty member (or designate):

  • Letter of offer (signed by candidate) see templates below
  • Registration form (completed and signed by candidate)
  • Intellectual Property Agreement (completed and signed by candidate)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Proof of doctoral degree completion (e.g. scan of official diploma)
  • A colour scan of the biographical page of passport

If applicable:

  • Copy of External Award Letter (for external fellowships)
  • Copy of Permanent Resident Card
  • Additional immigration-related documentation

The faculty supervisor (or designate) will obtain the remainder of the departmental/unit signatures on the registration form.


  1. The department/unit will ensure that all required documents have been received and signed and will forward the completed appointment package to postdoctoral.studies@usask.ca.
  2. The appointment package will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Studies Coordinator and recommended for approval as appropriate
  3. Once approved, a copy of the approved package will be provided to the department/unit and the postdoctoral candidate

Postdoctoral appointments are not complete until they are approved by CGPS.

  1. Upon approval by CGPS, the appointment package will be forwarded to the Director of Academic Recruitment and Immigration
  2. The Director will submit an Offer of Employment form to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on behalf of the postdoctoral candidate
  3. Once completed, a copy of the information package will be provided to the candidate, via email, with instructions regarding obtaining a work permit. The candidate may not apply for a work permit until the email from Academic Recruitment and Immigration has been received, confirming eligibility to apply for and obtain a work permit
  4. Upon receipt of the work permit, the postdoc will submit a scanned colour copy to the department/unit and to CGPS at postdoctoral.studies@usask.ca.

International Mobility Program: Get to know your rights while working in Canada

In preparation for the postdoctoral scholar’s start date, the department/unit will be required to process the following as necessary:

  1. Electronic Job Submission (EJS) - attach a copy of the appointment package to the submission and any additional required payroll forms
    • International postdocs must also provide a copy of the work permit and SIN letter (payroll cannot be submitted prior to receiving these documents)
    • If the start date of the appointment is postponed due to immigration delays, the unit may be required to complete a postdoc amendment form to officially amend the appointment start and end dates. Inquires about his form can be directed to postdoctoral.studies@usask.ca.
  2. NSID Request Form: It is recommended that units complete an NSID request form for international postdocs and postdocs who are not paid through university payroll.

Postdoc forms & templates