Exploring Postdoctoral Opportunities

Career Services works with the following postdoctoral fellows:

  • Current Biomedical postdocs in Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs
  • Current postdocs in Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences
  • Current postdocs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Note: We are not able to see research associates or former postdocs, unless they are also Penn alumni/ae.

We have developed career-related resources and programs that are equally applicable to PhD students and postdocs, and you can find more information about these on the Grad/postdoc homepage. Whether you are thinking about doing a postdoc or are currently a postdoc at Penn, we have a range of resources on this page to help you with your career decisions making.

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Thinking about a postdoc?

Applying for Postdocs

Advice for applying for an NRSA
General advice from former postdoc
Postdoc position openings portal (STEM fields)
Postdoc opportunities in the social sciences and humanities (organized by upcoming deadlines)

Questions that can be asked when narrowing down possible postdoc opportunities:

To current lab members:
What is the best and worst thing about being in this lab?
If you could change one thing about the PI, what would it be?
If you could change one thing about the lab, what would it be?
What is the leadership/management style of the PI?
Do people in the lab get along?
To the PI:
How do you run the lab? Do you allow your postdocs independence? How often do you meet with postdocs?
In how many collaborations is the lab involved?
Are postdocs expected to write grants for themselves? When would you expect me to write my first grant (the first year)? If I do not get my own funding, do you have enough funding to cover me for x years?
What exactly is your funding situation (# grants, source, subject, etc.)?
Can I help write your grants?
Can I help TA/teach your classes? (if you want teaching experience)
Do you have contacts in both academia and industry?
Do people get along in your lab?
To former grad students/postdocs from the lab:

What was the lab environment like?
Did you get support from the PI?
Could you take your project with you? (if you are asking a former postdoc)
Were you happy there?
If you could join the lab again, would you?
**Remember to remind former lab members that you will keep their comments confidential!

Advice from former postdocs

Applying for a Postdoc


Already a postdoc?

During your time at Penn you can use our services whenever you need them.  We encourage you to:

  • Attend our events for new students to get information on how to make the most of our resources.
  • Join us for workshops on a wide range of topics, from resumes and interviewing to offer negotiation and networking.
  • Schedule a mock interview with career advisors to get feedback on your interview style and technique.
  • Drop by for walk-ins to get answers from a career advisor for your quick questions.
  • Set up an appointment to get your resume/CV and other job search materials reviewed and critiqued.
  • Visit the funding resources section of our website to see what opportunities exist for your academic program.
  • Participate in discussion panels on applying for academic jobs, and meet faculty who have been successful.
  • Attend panel discussions on non-academic career options and take the opportunity to network with the speakers.
  • Make use of our career planning resources as you consider your options during your degree program and after you are done.

Making the most of your postdoc

The Role of Postdocs, PIs and Institutions in Training Future Scientists - Advice from a Penn postdoc on having a successful postdoc experience

Additional Resources