The Postdoctoral Fellow title is used for those who join the MIT community soon after receiving their doctorate. Working under the supervision of MIT faculty members, postdoctoral fellows come to MIT to develop their scholarly competence.

Postdoctoral Fellows receive financial support in the form of a fellowship or stipend, usually from an outside agency, either directly or distributed through MIT on behalf of the sponsor. Typically, fellows are responsible for applying for a fellowship award. Funds for postdoctoral fellowships are provided from a variety of sources, including private donors, foundations, corporations, and government agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Length of stay varies depending on area of interest and individual circumstances. Since the postdoctoral position is not intended to be long-term, MIT limits the postdoctoral period to four years, with promotion to the rank of senior postdoctoral associate possible after three years. Extension for a fifth year or promotion to research scientist requires a dean’s or VPR approval.

Funding Requirements for Postdoctoral Fellows

MIT’s minimum salary and stipend rates for postdocs are consistent with those set by NIH for the Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipends. The 2016 NIH salary scale shown below is the minimum salary required for postdoctoral appointments and is based on years of experience. Years of experience begins after graduation. The fellowship must cover the entire amount, personal funds cannot be used. These amounts are subject to change.

Years of Experience01234567 or more

Health Insurance

International fellows must meet the J1 health insurance requirements.

We are committed to equalizing the cost of health insurance between postdoc fellows and postdoc associates (those paid by MIT), so that the premiums paid by fellows are not greater than what they would be paying if they were postdoctoral associates. At the time of the initial appointment, we will conduct an evaluation, factoring in any health insurance coverage provided by your fellowship. When the remaining cost to the fellow would exceed that of a postdoctoral associate, our department will provide the difference between the cost to the individual for fellows versus associates. For each category of coverage, the current annual premium cost difference is indicated below. (Annual rates below are effective January 2017.)

Information about MIT’s Affiliate Health Plan can be found here.

Coverage TierPostdoc Associates: MIT Traditional Health PlanPostdoc Fellows: MIT Affiliate Plan and Extended InsuranceDifference
Individual and Spouse (or Spousal Equivalent)$5,748$7,272-$1,524
Individual and dependent$4,920$5,256-$336


Normally, before applying, a prospective visitor should make contact with a faculty member who agrees to sponsor the visitor.

Applications include the following:

  1. Statement of Purpose indicating the research goals of your stay, the beginning and ending dates of your visit, and the faculty member you would like to consult with during your stay
  2. CV
  3. Writing sample (one or two recent papers)
  4. Two letters of recommendation

Submit your application electronically or in hard copy to:

Irene Heim
MIT Linguistics and Philosophy
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Bldg. 32-D808
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

You will be informed of your application status shortly after the application deadlines. If your application is accepted, the Department will contact you with further details regarding your visit.


Applications are due on March 15 for the following Fall semester and September 1 for the following Spring semester.