Postdoctoral researchers

Postdoctoral researchers

Postdoctoral fellows and associates are an important part of the BCS community, contributing to the depth and breadth of our work.  The Department appoints postdoctoral researchers on the recommendation of a faculty sponsor. We typically have over 100 postdocs with active appointments within BCS and affiliated research centers. 

Working alongside faculty who are experts in their fields, postdoctoral researchers hone their skills as scientists and teachers. The interdisciplinary nature of our program exposes them to multiple areas of research, and prepares them to advance to tenure-track positions at major universities or significant research positions in industry. 

Candidates interested in postdoctoral study at BCS should contact the appropriate faculty member directly or search for available positions via the MIT employment site.

Immigration and Visas

Human Resources handles imigration and visas.

Salary and Stipend Information


Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates are appointed to conduct research projects in fulfillment of their postdoctoral training. Members of the postdoctoral staff may be appointed as fellows (whose support comes from an outside funding source) or associates (whose support comes from a grant or other source of MIT funds). To maintain its excellence in science, the BCS Community, which consists of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and its community affiliates, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, has implemented a highly competitive standard annual stipend rate for postdocs, regardless of years of experience.  BCS Community Standard Postdoc Annual Stipend Rate was fully implemented as of July, 1, 2016. This rate is indexed at the NIH NRSA 4-years of experience rate. That is, as the NIH raises this rate for cost of living, the BCS Community Rate will track that.  

Current BCS Community Standard Postdoc Annual Stipend Rate

Years of Research Experience

Minimum Annual Stipend
(as of December 1, 2016)
NIH Minimum Funding
(as of December 1, 2016)
0 (<1) 1st $52,140 $47,484
1 2nd $52,140 $47,844
2 3rd $52,140 $48,216
3 4th $52,140 $50,316
4 5th* $52,140 $52,140







Although stipends for postdoctoral fellows are governed by the funding agency providing the fellowship, the fellowship stipend will be supplemented up to the current BCS Community Rate if allowable under the terms of the fellowship.

*Postdoctoral Associate and Fellow appointments are normally not renewed beyond a total of four years. Extension for a fifth year requires approval of the faculty supervisor and cognizant dean.

General Tax Information for Postdoctoral Scholars

Due to legal restrictions on our capacity to advise you about tax liabilities, Human Resources is not able to answer individual questions regarding your tax situation.

All taxpayers must file a tax “return” (form) each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States government agency which handles federal taxes, and may also be required to file with the state tax agencies. The United States tax system is based on a system of self-assessment. Therefore, it is the individual’s responsibility to understand the tax requirements.

Reappointments and Reviews

Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows are reviewed annually on the anniversary of their date of hire as a postdoc.

Cost of living adjustments, which are provided to bring fellowship support up to the current BCS Community Rate, will be reviewed on the postdocs anniversary date to ensure that the stipend combination matches the current BCS Community Rate.


Opportunities within the BCS Community available to postdocs (associates and fellows) who have an interest in gaining teaching experience.

The following are options for teaching:

  • design and teach your own course to be taught during IAP (January)
  • participate in teaching undergraduate or graduate level subjects by giving 1 or 2 lectures in Course 9 (BCS offered)
  • participate in teaching undergraduate or graduate level subjects by leading a recitation section in Course 9 (BCS offered)

If you would like to participate in any of these teaching opportunities, please send your request to Meredith Canode. You’re your request should include the following information:

  • graduate or undergraduate subjects(s) you are interested in
  • type of teaching (IAP course, 1-2 lectures, or leading a recitation section)

IMPORTANT: The decision about a postdoc’s eligibility to teach will be made on a case-by-case basis, and will consider a number of factors including permission from the PI, the postdoc’s visa status, the type of assistance needed by the course instructor, and individual fellowship requirements. Please keep in mind that postdocs will not receive any additional compensation for teaching as this is primarily a teaching opportunity, however we will coordinate with your advisor to make sure that your effort is distributed appropriately.