photo of Killian Court Postdoc Information

Information Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars



Follow all guidance from your Department, Lab, Center, or Institute (“DLCI”) Headquarters for specific information and instructions. Many of these areas also have designated website content for postdocs. Typically, you will be asked to check in personally upon arrival.

Very first steps -a general summary:

Your MIT ID number is automatically generated when your academic appointment to MIT is processed by your department, laboratory or center and by Human Resources.

Once you have your MIT ID number, get your “Kerberos ID” (to set up email and MIT web certificates) by contacting your department coordinator or directly via Getting Started with IT.

Get a personalized web certificate on the computer you are using, which will ensure secure accessibility to otherwise protected sites, including MIT Housing and Atlas.

Go through MIT’s “new hire” activities, accessed through MIT’s online portal “Atlas.” These steps will include completion of Form I-9, if applicable, as well as the MIT Intellectual Property Agreement form.

Review and follow information in Atlas to obtain your MIT ID card (note the details regarding what identification you must present, such as a passport or U.S. driver’s license); explore transportation options, enroll in benefits, and sign up for orientation. See for more information.

View and update your online MIT Information (including directory information) using the My Profile tab on the Atlas Self Service site. Be sure to enter your email address (under work address, Personal Information), gender, and education history (this helps us to know the postdoctoral population).

Sign up for direct deposit of MIT paychecks and reimbursements into your bank account and complete the tax withholding forms, if applicable, through the My Money tab in Atlas. Explore how to track your vacation benefits (if eligible) through the My Time tab.

Foreign Nationals: Anyone on an academic appointment (salaried or unsalaried) who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident must register with the International Scholars Office (ISchO) upon arrival at MIT and sign up for an orientation session. The ISchO has comprehensive information for international postdocs. Also helpful is the National Postdoctoral Association International Postdoc Survival Guide.

Social Security Number: International postdocs often have questions regarding obtaining a Social Security card, and should refer to the International Scholars Office website.

Benefits and Enrollment: Benefits (including health, dental and vision plans) are available through MIT based on your appointment status, Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow. More information is available in the Funding and Benefits section of our website, your unit’s headquarters, and from MIT Human Resources’ online information. In brief:

  • Postdoctoral Associates are paid an MIT salary and are considered employees. They are eligible for MIT's benefits plans (if their MIT appointments will last three months or longer, and they work 50% or more of the normal full-time work schedule). To enroll in employee benefits, you must enroll within 31 days of your appointment start date. You will be able to enroll for benefits on the third business day after you request your Kerberos ID.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows receive funding in the form of a scholarship or stipend from an outside agency, either directly or distributed through MIT on behalf of the sponsor. They are not considered “benefits eligible” or “employees” of MIT. However, the MIT Affiliate Health Plan, the MIT Dental and Vision plans, and other programs are available to Postdoctoral Fellows who will have fellowship appointments of three consecutive months or longer (or nine months or longer for dental plans). Enrollment in several cases is required within 31 days of the start of your fellowship. See Human Resources’ Chart to confirm eligibility and enrollment requirements for specific plans.

Housing: The MIT Housing Office (located in W59-200) has comprehensive information, particularly the Off-Campus Housing section of the website. Short and long term housing options are listed, along with the MIT Survival Guide to Renting Off Campus. Many postdocs recommend finding housing near public transportation. Additional suggestions are available from the International Scholars Office and the Newcomers’ Guide.

MIT Postdocs sometimes succeed in getting MIT on-campus housing through MIT Graduate and Family Housing. Please see all the details on that site, in particular regarding applying to the Graduate Student Waiting list and regarding subletting an apartment during the summer and the January Independent Activities Period (IAP).

Postdoctoral Mentoring and Advising Toolkit: The information and forms contained in this Toolkit were designed at MIT to assist the training of postdoctoral researchers, and are helpful to mentors/advisors, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Postdoctoral Associates.

Safety Training: Your supervisor or unit headquarters will inform you of any required training.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training: We encourage all researchers to take an online course available through MIT. All MIT undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are supported on NSF research awards are required to do so. This online training is available through the MIT Office of Sponsored Programs using the CITI course. For more information and to register, see the Office of Sponsored Programs’(OSP) Compliance, RCR page.