Vanderbilt offers a thriving, but more intimate academic community which includes more than 430 postdocs across Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. If you are considering Vanderbilt as the place for your postdoctoral experience, you can utilize this page to explore available positions within VU and VUMC, and familiarize yourself with benefits available to postdoctoral fellows, as well as the Nashville area.
Postdoctoral Life at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association
At Vanderbilt, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is proud to have an entirely postdoc-operated organization that helps new and current postdocs network with one another and participate in postdoc-focused events throughout the year. Formed in 1998, the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association (VPA) serves as a platform to bring together and support the Vanderbilt postdoctoral community. All Vanderbilt-affiliated postdoctoral fellows and trainees (VU and VUMC) are welcome to participate in the VPA.
Life in Nashville
Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, and has transformed into a booming hub for many major industries. Proudly nicknamed “The Friendliest City”, Nashville was named National Geographic’s #1 travel destination in the world in June 2022. Below, you will find a link where you can review some resource letters specific to postdocs that compile various recommendations for life in Nashville, including events, food and drink spots, indoor/outdoor activities, and resources for parents and potential parents regarding leave and childcare within the Vanderbilt community.
Cost of Living
- Cost of Living Calculator: How Far Will Your Salary Go?
- Cost of Living Between Cities Comparison Tool
Appointment and Verifications
The appointment process begins at the department level. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will send an appointment letter for the postdoc candidate to sign. This will begin the verifications process.
All postdocs must complete the background clearance (which includes criminal clearance and educational verification) and any work authorization before new hire paperwork can be completed.
Any questions or concerns about the verification processes should be directed to OPA@vanderbilt.edu.
Vanderbilt policy requires postdocs to complete a background check, which includes degree verification (if the degree has already been conferred), prior to employment. OPA (VU) or the department (VUMC) works to initiate a background check with HR. Background checks must be completed before the postdoc can begin their position, and under no circumstances can a postdoc start before they have been cleared.
Part of our verifications process at Vanderbilt is to ensure that the appointee has completed their terminal degree. These processes look different between VU- and VUMC-appointed postdocs.
Both VU-and VUMC-appointed postdocs:
- If the terminal degree has not been conferred, the incoming postdoc will need to provide a letter stating that they have met all requirements to receive their degree. For a template of this letter, work with your department administrator or email OPA@vanderbilt.edu.
For VUMC-appointed postdocs that have an international terminal degree:
- VUMC HR cannot verify international degrees, so verification must be obtained by an outside company. OPA recommends:
- TrustForte – TrustForte has a 3-5 day turnaround once documents are received. This is the preferred vendor for quick verification as long as the needed documents are ready for submission. The academic equivalency evaluation is the recommended evaluation through TrustForte.
- World Education Services – If choosing WES, select Vanderbilt Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) as the recipient. We will be able to access your report online and automatically receive a completed electronic report when available. The document-by-document evaluation is the recommended evaluation through WES.
- If the degree has not been conferred, a degree verification letter will be needed to clear education verifications. Once the international degree has been conferred, a degree verification report can be ordered.
Work Authorization (if applicable)
If work authorization is needed, please refer to your prospective department for questions regarding visas and costs associated with work authorization.
Orientation for VU Postdocs
- OPA holds VU postdoc orientation on the second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. All Vanderbilt University Postdocs (9145, 9146, 9136) should attend the OPA orientation. This is a 90-minute orientation to give new postdocs information on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, resources on campus, and trainee benefits information. Postdocs will be registered by their departmental administrator once cleared to begin.
- Postdocs classified as 9145 (VU-employed) are also expected to review VU Human Resources benefits website. New hires can access all benefit information along with vendor presentations at their own pace.
Orientation for VUMC Postdocs
- All Vanderbilt University Medical Center Postdocs (9132, 9134, 9136) should attend the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs orientation.
- This is a 75-minute orientation to give new postdocs information on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, resources on campus, and trainee benefits information. Orientations take place once a month, on the third Wednesday, at 9:00 a.m. Postdocs will be registered by their departmental administrator once cleared to begin.
- OPA Orientation does not take the place of VUMC New Staff Orientation for Research Fellows (job code: 9132). For VUMC New Staff Orientation, please contact Aaron Howard in the School of Medicine.
New Postdoc Coffee
Postdocs are invited to new postdoc coffee on the fourth Thursday of each month*. This is open to all postdocs on campus, and gives new postdocs a chance to meet administrators, members of the Vanderbilt Postdoc Association, and other postdocs.
*unless otherwise stated
- Postdocs must enroll for health insurance within 30 days of their hire date.
- Detailed onboarding information can be found on the following pages: