Hi I am a Phd student (Phd thesis submitted). Recently, I have received a postdoc offer from a reputed university and accordingly accepted the offer by emailing them. Now this is just a offer letter, no salary is written there (the PI has told me unofficially the salary amount). In order to join the job, I have to defend my Phd thesis, then they will send a formal joining letter (where salary will be written). In other words, I have not signed any contract till now. Now, my Phd thesis reviews have not come yet (in my country thesis is sent to two reviewers: one within and one outside the country). Till I defend my Phd thesis what should I do if I get postdoc offer from other places.

Any help/suggestions will be useful. Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


Your honor is at stake here. The email should constitute an agreement, even if not legally binding yet. You can, of course, by mutual agreement with the PI, still change your acceptance, indicating that it is tentative because of the restriction. This should be easy and natural, if the condition was raised after your "acceptance."

Just don't get yourself in the position of the PI thinking he has "caught" you and you later "get away." The consequences will be on you.

  • Thanks. I have asked them. They told that any kind of formal letter requires that the Phd is completed which means that thesis is defended. Jul 31, 2018 at 13:27
  • @applied_math, it might be good, then, to "clarify" with them that your acceptance is also tentative and that, while you are happy with the offer you remain free of obligations at this time. Use words of thanks and praise. Don't imply withdrawal. But put down a marker that neither party is yet bound. If the original "acceptance" was email, then email is likely fine for this, but retain copies of everything.
    – Buffy
    Jul 31, 2018 at 13:31

If (and only if) you get another postdoc offer, you should inform the PI of this and ask if they can get you a contract, even if a conditional one.

No position is secure before a contract has been signed.

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