Postdoctoral Scholar vs. Specialist

 Postdoctoral ScholarSpecialist
Policy ReferencePostdoctoral Scholar Labor ContractAPM 330
Degree Requirement (e.g. Ph.D., J.D., or M.D.)Doctoral Degree is required.Guidelines: Junior Specialist rank should possess a BA; Assistant, Associate,
and Full rank should possess an advanced degree
Mentorship/TrainingTraining is required. Individual is engaged in program of advanced academic preparation and research training under the guidance of a faculty mentor/s, for a career typically outside the institution.Training is not required. Individual is engaged in a specialized research, professional activity, and University and/or public service.
Appointment PercentageFull-time at 100%*: Individual may hold concurrent part-time
appointments for teaching or other activities, as long as sum of effort in all titles equals 100%.
Varied based on the research program’s need, subject to annual renewal.
Length of Appointment1 year minimum, 5 years maximum.No minimum or maximum length restrictions. Specialist can be employed at UC Irvine indefinitely.
Early TerminationtLayoff and reduction in time are permitted due to lack of
funds. If there are performance issues that continue following a letter of warning and time for improvement, dismissal process may be initiated prior to original appointment end
Layoff and reduction in time may be implemented based on budgetary
reasons, lack of work, or programmatic needs. Dismissal for unsatisfactory work performance may be initiated prior to the original end date of the appointee, typically after progressive discipline (timely performance management including written warning, written censure, suspension) has been followed.
Annual EvaluationRequired; brief one page form.Normal advancement will occur after one year at step at the Junior level, two years at step at the Assistant and Associate level, and after three years at the full Specialist level following formal school review.
Salary AdjustmentsGoverned by labor negotiation, based on NIH/NRSA stipend
adjustment upon reappointment, except for Postdoctoral Scholars appointed to the Kirschstein Fellowships, who may be eligible for an increase with an effective date of the date
established in the NIH notice
Individuals are compensated on salary scales established for the Specialist series on a fiscal year basis. Salaries subject to range adjustments.
BenefitsHealth, Dental, and Vision (contribution from employee and
employer), which typically cost less than staff benefits.
Health, vision, dental (contributions from employee and employer).
RetirementNo, not part of UC retirement program. Will not normally require employer contribution (currently at 14%) to UCRP, except if individual was already a UCRP member (i.e., had prior UCRP-eligible UC appointment) before being hired as a postdoc. In some cases postdocs may contribute to a UC defined contribution retirement plan.Yes, part of the UC retirement program. Will require employer contribution, currently at 14%, to UCRP from funding source and employee contributions.

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