Postdoctoral scholars at the University of Washington are engaged in full-time, mentored, advanced training to enhance professional skills and research independence, and perform primarily research and scholarship under the direction and supervision of University faculty mentors.

Experience in teaching may accompany and support the professional training and skills postdoctoral scholars typically develop through their focus on research and scholarship. This experience is usually obtained in the context of their duties and responsibilities as postdoctoral scholars (e.g., giving an occasional guest lecture in a class; participation in the Science Teaching Experience for Postdocs (STEP) program in the UW School of Medicine).

In limited circumstances, postdoctoral scholars may, with the support of their faculty mentor(s), seek to advance their professional skills by serving as the official instructor of record in a class. To accommodate these cases, UW may allow postdoctoral scholars to teach one class for academic credit one time per academic year (June 16 – June 15), while remaining full-time (100% FTE) in their postdoctoral scholar positions.

To do so, a postdoctoral scholar must have a temporary faculty appointment, usually as a part-time teaching associate.

Note: Teaching a class for academic credit may not be a condition of employment for a postdoctoral scholar and should not be indicated in their appointment or reappointment letter.

Conditions to be Met for Postdoctoral Scholar to Become Instructor of Record

  • The appropriate dean/chancellor must approve requests from the academic unit hiring a postdoctoral scholar as an instructor of record in advance of the academic quarter in which the class is offered and before the postdoctoral scholar performs any teaching duties related to their temporary, faculty appointment.
  • Requests for teaching and supplemental compensation related to teaching for postdoctoral scholars may only be considered when:
    • the teaching is clearly in addition to, and does not supplant, regular, full-time University duties in research and scholarship as a postdoctoral scholar;
    • the provisions of the postdoctoral scholar’s appointment or funding source do not preclude them from engaging in additional activities or receiving remuneration that is restricted to only the pay received by the grant; and
    • the postdoctoral scholar is not subject to any exclusions (see exclusions below).
  • Supplemental compensation to postdoctoral scholars for work not represented by regular salary may be paid only under the exceptional circumstances outlined in this policy, and must be approved in advance by the dean/chancellor.
  • Engagement in teaching under this policy will not be considered as a basis upon which to consider any exception to the 5 year maximum eligibility criteria for appointment as postdoctoral scholars.


  • This policy is solely limited to postdoctoral scholars who are in full-time active status as postdoctoral scholars at UW.*
  • This policy does not apply to postdoctoral scholars appointed in the Department of Mathematics, who in addition to their postdoctoral scholar titles, are appointed to a dual, instructional faculty appointment as a teaching associate for the portion of their job responsibilities related to teaching. This policy excludes these individuals at all times during their appointments.
  • This policy does not apply to postdoctoral scholars for whom teaching is expressly included as part of their research protocol or required by specific grant provisions.
  • This policy does not apply to postdoctoral scholars on UW-sponsored visas whose visa does not allow for additional duties or where teaching was not a specified activity outlined in the visa application/documentation.

*Note: Postdoctoral scholar-fellows, interim postdoctoral scholars, postdoctoral scholars paid direct (PDR), and affiliate postdoctoral scholars who are employed by non-University entities (e.g., individuals paid directly by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Veterans Administration, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, or the U.S. Military) are excluded and are ineligible for engaging in teaching as the official instructor of record or for receiving compensation for performing any teaching of for-credit classes at the University.

Where can I learn more?

When requesting a temporary faculty appointment for teaching under this policy, unit administrators for the postdoctoral scholar must complete a Postdoctoral Scholar Teaching Request Form and submit it to their dean/chancellor’s office for approval.