Do postdoc positions (joining date) start only in the fall semester or in the spring semester also? I mean, can it start at any time during the year?

  • 10
    Why don’t you look into your contract or the job ad? How should we possibly answer this, in particular since you are providing no information regarding your location and similar?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 24, 2018 at 12:02

4 Answers 4


Postdocs are often so informal that they can start almost any time.

I had one starting in early August and one starting in February, both not at the start of either semester.

  • I had one where I could choose to start whenever I wanted between August 1 to December 1. Mar 25, 2018 at 8:40

The start of a postdoc is far more informal and fluid than the start of either graduate studies (which are governed by the academic calendar) or many faculty positions with teaching obligations etc. to them.

They essentially start when the PI says they start - or more accurately, a mutually agreeable date between the PI, the postdoc, HR, etc.

For example, my postdoc started in the summer. I am currently looking for postdocs whose starting date is "When can you get here?"

  • @RichardWilliams At least for project-based postdocs (as opposed to ones paid through some scholarship), Formite gives the typical starting date in his last sentence. It is almost universally "how quickly can you be here?".
    – xLeitix
    Sep 29, 2018 at 14:51
  • Even PhDs and faculty are not governed by the academic calendar everywhere :)
    – Flyto
    Sep 29, 2018 at 20:33

The start of a postdoc is generally dictated by two things:

  1. The time when its funding starts, and
  2. The time when people are available to fill it.

While the first can be any time, the second is often aligned with academic cycles, simply because that's when people are most likely to be graduating and wanting to join a new position. That, in turn, does tend to align postdocs to be often aligned with the academic year, but theoretically able to start and stop at any time.


One consideration is that in some cases, postdocs may be expected to teach. (This is typically the case in mathematics in the US, for instance.) If so then the start date would normally be aligned to the start of an academic year, or at the very least the start of a term.

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