Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
General Information, Regulations and Research Guidelines

9 Postdoctoral Research

9.1 Postdocs

Postdocs are recent graduates with a Ph.D. or equivalent
(i.e. Medical Specilaist Diploma)engaged by a member of the
University's academic staff, including Adjunct Professors, to assist him/her in research.

Postdocs must be appointed by their department and registered with the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office in order to have access to University facilities including libraries, computer facilities, etc.

9.2 Guidelines and Policy for Academic Units on Postdoctoral Education

The general guidelines listed below are meant to encourage units to examine their policies, procedures, and privileges for postdoctoral education. Every unit receiving Postdocs should have explicitly stated policies and procedures for the provision of postdoctoral education as well as established means for informing Postdocs of policies, procedures, and privileges (e.g., orientation sessions, handbooks, etc.), as well as mechanisms for addressing complaints. Academic units should ensure that their policies, procedures and privileges are consistent with these guidelines and the Charter of Students' Rights. For their part, Postdocs are responsible for informing themselves of policies, procedures and privileges.

1. Definition and Status
i. Postdoctoral status will be recognized by the University
in accordance with Quebec provincial regulations. Persons may only be registered with postdoctoral status for a period of up to five years from the date they were awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Time allocated to familial or health leave
(as defined in the GPSO Calendar, General Information, section  "Health and Parental/Familial Leave of Absence Policy") is added to this period of time. Leaves for other reasons, including vacation leave, do not extend the term. Postdocs must do research under the supervision of one or more McGill professors, including Adjunct Professors. They are expected to be engaged primarily in research with minimal teaching or other responsibilities.
2. Registration
i. Postdocs must be registered annually with the University through the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. Initial registration will require an original or notarized copy of the Ph.D. diploma. Registration will be limited to persons who fulfil the definition above and for whom there is an assurance of appropriate funding and where the unit can provide assurance of the necessary resources to permit postdoctoral education.
ii. Upon registration, the Postdoc will be provided with a
University identity card issued by the Registrar's Office.
3. Appointment, Pay, Agreement of Conditions
i. Upon registration, all Postdocs must be appointed regardless of whether their funding comes from a McGill account. Their appointments may not exceed their registration status.
ii. In order to be registered as a Postdoc, an individual must be assured of financial support, other than from personal means, during his/her stay in the University equivalent, at the time of appointment, to the minimal stipend requirement as set by the University in accordance with guidelines set by federal and provincial research granting agencies. There are no provisions for paid family leave unless this is stipulated in the regulations of a funding agency outside the University.
iii. At the outset of a postdoctoral appointment, a written
Letter of Agreement for Postdoctoral Education should be drawn up and signed by the Postdoc, the supervisor, and the department head or delegate (see template Letter of Agreement on the Web at This should stipulate, for example, the purpose of the postdoctoral appointment (research and the advancement of knowledge), the duration of the fellowship/stipend, the modality of pay, the work space, travel funds, and expectations and compensation for teaching and student research supervision. Leaves from postdoctoral education must comply with the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Policies for Vacation, Parental/Familial, and Health Leave (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies General Information section  "Vacation Policy for Graduate Students and Postdocs"). Any breach of these conditions may result in grievance procedures or the termination of the postdoctoral appointment.
iv. Postdocs with full responsibility for teaching a course should be compensated over and above their fellowship at the standard rate paid to lecturers by their department.
v. The amount of research, teaching, or other tasks that Postdocs engage in over and above postdoctoral activities should conform to the regulations for Postdocs specified by the Canadian research council of their discipline. This applies to all Postdocs, including those whose funding does not come from the Canadian research councils.
4. Privileges
i. Postdocs have the same pertinent rights as the ones granted to McGill students in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities (green book), available on the Web at
ii. Postdocs have full graduate student borrowing privileges in McGill libraries through their identify card.
iii. As a rule, Postdocs who are Canadian citizens or who have Permanent Resident status may take courses for credit. Admission to such courses should be sought by submitting application documents directly to the appropriate program by the Postdoc. They must be admitted by their department offering the courses as Special Students. These Postdocs may also be enrolled as part-time students in non-degree granting programs (i.e., graduate diplomas and graduate certificates). They will be charged a fee for these courses.
iv. Postdocs may be listed in the McGill directory. The Computing Centre will grant Postdocs e-mail privileges on the same basis as graduate students upon presentation of an identity card.
v. The Department of Athletics will grant Postdocs access to sports facilities upon presentation of their identity card. A fee will be charged on an annual or term basis.
vi. Postdocs are members of the Post-Graduate Students' Society and an annual association fee is automatically charged. Postdocs are permitted membership in the Faculty Club; an annual fee will be charged for this membership.
vii. Postdocs are encouraged to participate in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning staff development seminars. They will be accommodated free of charge for courses which are open to faculty members.
viii. Postdocs have access to the services provided by the Ombudsperson.
ix. Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents, and International Postdocs may enrol in the second language written and spoken English courses provided by Continuing Education, the English and French Language Centre, or the Centre for the Study and Teaching of Writing. They must be admitted by their department as Special Students. They will be charged a fee for these courses. If the period of studies is longer than six months, International Postdocs must have a CAQ and a Study Permit.
x. Postdocs have access to the Student Services. Fees are applicable. Information is available at
5. Responsibilities
i. Postdocs are subject to the responsibilities outlined in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities (green book), available on the Web at
ii. Each academic unit receiving Postdocs should clearly identify Postdocs' needs and the means by which they will be met by the unit.
iii. Each academic unit should consider the availability of research supervision facilities, office space, and research funding before determining the Postdocs that they will accept.
iv. Some examples of responsibilities of the department are:
- to verify the Postdoc's eligibility period for registration;
- to provide Postdocs with departmental policy and procedures that pertain to them;
- to oversee registration and appointment of Postdocs;
- to assign departmental personnel (e.g., graduate program
director) the responsibility for Postdocs;
- to oversee and sign off on the Letter of Agreement for Postdoctoral Education;
- to assure that each Postdoc has a supervisor, lab and/or
office space, access to research operating costs and necessary equipment;
- to include Postdocs in departmental career and placement opportunities;
- to refer Postdocs to the appropriate University policies and personnel for the resolution of conflict that may arise between a Postdoc and a supervisor.
v. Some examples of responsibilities of the supervisor are:
- to uphold and transmit to his/her Postdocs the highest professional standards of research and/or scholarship;
- to provide research guidance;
- to meet regularly with his/her Postdocs;
- to provide feedback on research submitted by the Postdocs;
- to clarify expectations regarding intellectual property rights in accordance with the University's policy;
- to provide mentorship for career development;
- to prepare, sign, and adhere to a Letter of Agreement for Postdoctoral Education.
vi. Some examples of responsibilities of Postdocs are:
- to inform themselves of and adhere to the University's policies and/or regulations for Postdocs for leaves, for research, and for student conduct as outlined in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the General Information, Regulations and Research Guidelines booklet of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office;
- to present themselves for registration to the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies Office with a complete submission;
- to sign and adhere to their Letter of Agreement for Postdoctoral Education;
- to communicate regularly with their supervisor;
- to inform their supervisor of their absences.
vii. Some examples of the responsibilities of the University are:
- to register Postdocs;
- to provide an appeal mechanism in cases of conflict;
- to help eligible Postdocs who have non-resident status in virtue of the Quebec Taxation Act to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to the Quebec Tax Exemption for Postdoctoral Researchers;
- to provide documented policies and procedures to Postdocs;
- to provide Postdocs with the necessary contacts for language courses, housing, immigration, daycare, schooling, and health care information.
Approved by Senate April 2000.
9.3 Vacation Policy for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Graduate students and Postdocs should normally be entitled to vacation leave equivalent to University holidays and an additional total of (15) working days in the year. Funded students and Postdocs with fellowships and research grant stipends taking additional vacation leave may have their funding reduced accordingly.

Council of FGSR April 23, 1999.
9.4 Leave of Absence for Health and Parental/Familial Reasons

A leave of absence may be granted by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office for maternity or parenting reasons or for health reasons (see section  "Health and Parental/Familial Leave of Absence Policy").

Such a leave must be requested on a term by term basis and may be granted for a period of up to 52 weeks. Students and Postdocs must make a request for such a leave in writing to their department and submit a medical certificate. The department shall forward the request to the GPSO.

Students who have been granted such a leave will have to register for the term(s) in question and their registration will show as "leave of absence" on their record. No tuition fees will be charged for the duration of the authorized leave. Research supervisors are not obligated to remunerate students and Postdocs on leave.

9.5 Student Services - Downtown Campus

See section  "Student Services - Downtown Campus".

9.6 Student Services - MacDonald Campus

See section  "Student Services - Macdonald Campus".

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