Postdoctoral Researchers at Purdue

Postdoctoral researchers are individuals hired primarily to engage in research at Purdue following the conferral of their doctoral degree. Purdue policy permits postdoctoral researchers to engage in only limited teaching - to a maximum of one course (3 credit hours) per semester. 

Offers for postdoctoral appointments often are issued (and accepted) during the individual's final months of their doctoral program, and appointment start dates are set before the doctoral degree is conferred. By Purdue policy, the PhD must be conferred on or before the appointment start date. If an international doctoral candidates does not timely receive their PhD prior to the appointment start date, the appointment must not proceed. The department may choose to convert the appointment to a visting scholar, staff or other appointment, or the department may withdraw the offer entirely. If the offer is to be converted, then this must be completed before they arrive in the USA (if entering the US from abroad) or before arriving on Purdue's campus (if already lawfully present in the USA).

The following are some of the Purdue policies that pertain to postdocs-

Work Visa

Postdocs may be sponsored by Purdue University for

  • H-1B specialty occupation worker
  • O-1 individual with extraordinary ability
  • J-1 exchange visitor status
  • F-1 student status with Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • E-3 specialty occupation worker (Australian citizens only)
  • TN professional (Canadian or Mexican citizens only)

The decision as to which work visa is pursued is made by International Scholar Services based on immigration law, Purdue policy and procedures, and the totality of circumstances relating to the employment. In making this decision we include considerations of the preferences of the department and postdoc. 

Permanent Residence

US immigration law limits permanent residence to individuals who have indefinite or permanent offers of employment. Employment where there is a fixed end date (regardless of whether renewals might be available temporarily) are not eligible for employer-sponsored permanent residence. Purdue policy also prohibits permanent residence sponsorship for postdocs. 

As a result, Postdocs are not eligible for Purdue-sponsored permanent residence, which includes EB-1B permanent residence as an outstanding researcher. 

Postdocs are, of course, able to self-sponsor their own permanent residence. By law, categories of permanent residence that are eligible for self-sponsorship are-

  • EB-1A permanent residence as an individual with Extraordinary Ability, or
  • EB-2 permanent residence on the basis of a National Interest Waiver (which is technically the waiver of the requirement for an indefinite or permanent offer of employment).