Postdoctoral Fellows

Terms of Postdoctoral Appointment

  • Appointments are for a limited period of time, from a minimum of three months to a maximum of three years, with the possibility of renewal to a maximum total time as a PDF of five years (including previous PDF appointments). For those not holding permanent resident status, extension of the appointment will be subject to immigration approval.
  • PDFs train under the general supervision of a faculty member(s), as a member of a research group or as an individual researcher, and may assist with the supervision of graduate students.
  • All PDFs, both on and off campus, must be registered and administered through the Postdoctoral Fellows Office, regardless of whether the funding comes directly from the funding agency or through the university.
  • PDFs may receive a Certificate of Postdoctoral Study recognizing completion of their appointment. The certificate is not an academic credential.

The Department of Pediatrics is responsible for completing or obtaining all documents related to appointing post-doctoral fellows prior to being submitted to the Postdoctoral Fellows Office.

At the University of Alberta, postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) are considered trainees rather than employees by the University.


  • Initial appointments must occur within five years from the completion of a doctoral degree or ten years from the completion of a MD, DDS or equivalent. These time limits may only be extended by the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, due to circumstances requiring an interruption in the PDFs research career (for example, medical necessity or parental responsibilities).