Orientation for Postdocs

Welcome to MIT! This page is intended to help new postdoctoral associates and fellows find out about the MIT resources available to them to help advance their intellectual, professional, and personal well-being. The information and resources on this page are divided into three subjects:

  • Getting Started covers the nuts and bolts of beginning employment at MIT, including checklists of things to do before and soon after beginning employment, enrolling in benefits programs for you and your family, commuter information and programs, and getting to know the MIT community and the Boston area.
  • Training and Career Development contains advice on how to organize a training plan for your time here at MIT and links to training opportunities.  
  • Resources for Solving Problems links to emergency contacts and information and explains who to contact in case of problems or questions arise concerning your benefits, harassment,  research environment, academic integrity, and work/life issues.

Getting Started

MIT Orientation 

MIT New Employee Orientation A guide to getting started for all MIT employees, including checklists of things to do before and after employment begins and guides to MIT benefits, services, and community programs.
MIT Mobile The MIT Mobile Web offers up-to-date information, optimized for different types of mobile devices. Find people, places, events, course news, shuttle schedules, and more. 
MIT Atlas
Update personal information, enroll in benefits programs and training, access money-related information and resources, find community activities, events, and resources, and enter time sheets.
MIT Campus Map MIT's online searchable map.  
SOS Emergency Resources and contact information for emergencies and other incidents involving MIT employees, faculty, and students on- and off-campus.
MIT Alert MIT Alert is the Institute’s emergency notification program, designed to provide information and advisories via a number of communication channels including Institute voicemail, email and text message for the safety and security of the MIT community.
MIT Postdoctoral Association The Postdoctoral Association is a postdoc-led organization that aims to provide support for the ~1400 postdocs at MIT. The PDA organizes professional development seminars, travel grants, and social events, and has worked to obtain such MIT services for postdocs as Writing Center assistance, Infinite Connection access, athletic memberships, and career services.
MIT Postdoctoral Information The Office of the Vice President for Research works closely with the Postdoctoral Association to address policies and issues concerning professional development and the quality of life. The VPR maintains this website to provide useful information to prospective, new, and continuing postdocs.
MIT Postdoc Listserv An MIT postdoc listserv exists to keep you updated on postdoc issues, alert you to funding opportunities, and notify you of social events, seminars, and workshops. 

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Hubway A city-wide bike-share program that operates spring through fall.  MIT employees and students qualify for a discounted annual fee.  
Bicycle Commuter Benefit
MIT will reimburse bicycle commuters annually for purchase, maintenance, repair, and storage of their bikes up to $20 for each month in which commuters use a bicycle for a substantial portion of their commute.
MBTA Pass Program
Qualified employees can receive subsidized monthly T passes through MIT. Passes are obtained online and picked up at designated locations on campus.
MBTA Apps MBTA smart phone apps allow riders to find schedules and routes, get directions, track buses in real time, purchase paperless commuter rail tickets, and more.

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Employee Benefits

MIT Human Resources-Employee Benefits Postdoctoral associates with full-time appointments of 3 months or longer are eligible for staff benefits. Benefits for postdoctoral fellows are outlined here.
MIT Medical Make appointments and refill prescriptions at MIT Medical online, access forms and records, and get information on flu vaccines and other services.
MIT Recreation Postdoc fellows and associates can pay to use the exercise and recreation facilities on campus. Both fellows and associates qualify for the same rate as MIT Faculty/Staff. Postdoctoral fellows need to submit a letter of verification request form.

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Family Benefits

Child Care Information The Work/Life Center offers a comprehensive network of resources to assist MIT community members in finding or using child care services for children of all ages. 
MIT Technology Children's Centers MIT has three child care centers on campus, with a fourth coming soon, and one center at the Lincoln Lab in Lexington. All centers are run jointly through the Work/Life Center and Bright Horizons Family Solutions.  
Backup Child Care & Adult Care Referral Program All MIT benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows can receive care at home through Parents in a Pinch, Inc for child care, care for an aging parent, or another family member who needs assistance. The screened and trained caretakers are available day or evening, 7 days a week.
Advice on Choosing Schools
The Work/Life Center provides information and advice on such issues as choosing public and private schools, relocating to Boston with school-age children, understanding the American school system (for international families), advocating for children with special needs, finding resources for giftedness, and handling problems in school.
Lending Library at the Work/Life Center The Work/Life Center houses a lending library containing more than 1,000 books for adults and children on a wide variety of work-life topics. Books may be borrowed for up to three weeks.
MIT spouses&partners
The mission of MIT spouses&partners is to assist and encourage spouses and partners to develop a family support system and to build social and professional network with each other and at MIT and surrounding. Spouses&partners provides information and referrals to Boston resources and organizes weekly meetings, interest groups, trips, and annual events for its members.
Lactation Rooms Several lactation rooms are located around campus, generally equipped with locks, comfortable seating, sinks, microwaves, and refrigerators. Many rooms provide pumps as well.  

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After Work

MIT Activities Committee
The MITAC Committee meets during the academic year to research and plan special events. Everything from hayrides to sleigh rides, shopping sprees to ski getaways, white water rafting to whale watching, as well as various sporting events, exhibitions, circuses, theater, music and other popular events are offered year round and are listed in a monthly distribution to the MIT Community.
MIT employees can attend some Boston museums for free or at reduced rates.

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Training and Career Development

Developing a Training Plan

What is a Postdoc?
  • MIT Policy states that “postdoctoral associates come to MIT to develop their scholarly competence, working under the supervision of MIT faculty members.” 
  • Postdoc appointments are not intended to be long-term or indefinite appointments. It is MIT policy that appointments last at least one term and are not renewed for more than a total of four years.
  • Therefore, a postdoctoral scholar is not at MIT simply to perform a specific research project. Postdoctoral students should take part in a training program that prepares them to take the next steps in their careers by the end of their appointments.
How to Develop a Training Plan
In developing a plan for training, postdocs should:
  • Define their projects and roles
  • Understand the research group mechanism
  • Be proactive in asking questions
  • Discuss career and training goals with advisor
  • Find more than one mentor
  • Take advantage of MIT resources and opportunities
Resources for Developing a Training Plan

Postdocs should meet with their advisors and other mentors on a regular basis. However, they should also plan for an introductory meeting to set overall goals, a meeting to construct a mentoring plan, and an annual review to evaluate overall progress toward meeting goals.  A toolkit for the process is available at MIT Postdoctoral Information, including:

  • MIT Mentoring Plan Outline (for faculty advisors/mentors)–topics that could be incorporated into a mentoring plan proposal
  • Initial Meeting Form for MIT Postdoctoral Researchers and Advisors–an outline of topics to cover during an orientation meeting when the postdoc begins an appointment
  • Annual Development Review for MIT Postdoctoral Researchers–a suggested template for the postdoctoral researcher (Part I) and advisor (Part II) to complete during the annual review process
  • MIT Postdoctoral Training Checklist (for postdocs)–a list of possible skills to build; the postdoc can refer to it periodically to monitor progress

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Training Opportunities

The GECD works with current MIT Postdoctoral Scholars (Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates) to provide initial guidance and encourage self-management of career exploration, including job search strategies for both industry and academic tracks. 
The Writing Center offers several services to all members of the MIT community, including postdocs. The Center provides free individual consultation about any writing difficulty, including specialized help in English language instruction. Postdocs may visit the Center during any stage of the writing process: prewriting, writing a first draft, revising, or editing.
MIT Alumni Association Postdocs who have had an MIT postdoctoral appointment of nine months or longer may register for an Infinite Connection account for access to networking opportunities, job listings, career advice, and other services.

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Resources for Solving Problems

Campus Police/Medical/Fire Dial 100 from campus phones or 617-253-1212
School of Science Emergency Information A quick guide to what do in event of an emergency or other serious incident on- and off-campus.

If you have questions or issues with MIT benefits, please contact:


MIT is committed to creating and providing a learning, living, and working environment free from discrimination, including harassment. There are several resources to choose from if you have questions about harassment or have experienced it in your workplace:  

  • Read about MIT policies on harasment.  
  • Find out about formal and informal approaches to addressing harassment issues.
  • Start a discussion with your advisor or supervisor, your department head, or the School of Science Dean's Office.  
  • Contact the REFS (Resources for Easing Stress and Friction) group in your home department. REFS advisors are graduate students trained by Conflict Management @ MIT and all services are confidential.
  • Contact the Ombud's Office. The Ombud's Office provides confidential, informal mediation services, as well as referrals and guidance for MIT resources. Issues can be discussed completely anonymously.  
  • Contact Stopit. Stopit is a confidential, on-the-record venue for reporting harassment and other inappropriate behavior that occurs electronically.
Research Environment

MIT is committed to a healthy, safe, and environmentally responsible work and research environment. If you have questions or concerns about your research environment, you can:

  • Review MIT policy on environmental health and safety.  
  • Learn about best practices recommended by the Environmental Health & Safety Office.
  • Contact another faculty member in your department.
  • Contact your department head.
  • Contact the REFS (Resources for Easing Stress and Friction) group in your home department.  REFS advisors are graduate students trained by Conflict Management @ MIT and all services are confidential.
Academic Integrity

If you have questions about what constitutes unethical behavior in research and scholarship or believe academic misconduct has occurred, several options are available to you:


MIT has many resources to help community members cope with stress and mental health, interpersonal issues, and work/life balance. You can:

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Additional Resources For: