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VU New Postdoc Onboarding

Welcome to Vanderbilt!

This orientation site is designed to help you navigate your arrival and first few weeks at Vanderbilt.  If you need additional information not covered here, please contact OPA.

For additional activities and to get involved in the Vanderbilt postdoc community, consider joining the Vanderbilt Postdoc Association (VPA).

Please note: the information below is for Vanderbilt University (VU) postdocs appointed by the OPA. If you are a Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) postdoc, please visit the VUMC Onboarding page. 

Prior to Your Arrival at Vanderbilt

Check All Initial Appointment Requirements Have Been Completed

Check with your department to make sure that the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) has verified that all appointment requirements have been completed, including your background check. Please note: the background check includes both the criminal portion and graduate degree verification. Under no circumstances can a postdoc begin employment until all OPA requirements have been met.

If work authorization is needed, please refer to your prospective department for questions regarding visas and costs associated with work authorization.

Look for Housing

Vanderbilt does not provide housing for postdocs. Here are some helpful resources:

Get to Know Nashville

An Introduction to Nashville



Please note:  the information below is for VU postdocs appointed by the OPA. VUMC postdocs will receive orientation information from either the School of Medicine or their department.


For VU postdocs – Complete Both Parts of the I-9

Both parts of the I-9 MUST be completed before your first day of work. You will not be entered into the VU Human Resources systems until the I-9 is completed. If you have questions regarding your I-9, please submit an email for assistance. Note: Postdoctoral Associate, Visiting (9136) should refer to their department for guidance regarding I-9 completion.


On or Before Your First Day

Establish Your Vanderbilt User Account (VUnetID)

Your VUnetID is required to access VU services, including email.  Please note that access to VU systems is dependent on your completion of the I-9 form.

Complete your W-4

Once you receive your VUnetID, you can complete your W-4 in Oracle under the Pay tab > Tax Withholding.

Get Your Vanderbilt ID Card

It is recommended that you call or email the University Card Services Office to make sure they can recognize you in the system before proceeding to their office for your badge. Make sure you bring a photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) when you go to obtain your ID badge.

VU Card Services Office
Phone: 615-322-2273
Email:  commodore card
Address:  Sarratt Student Center, Room 184, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240-7813

Set up Direct Deposit

Instructions and a paper enrollment form are available on the Human Resources website.

Parking Information

The University requires that all vehicles operated on campus by members of the University community be registered with the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD).  More information on the parking policy and how to register your vehicle for parking on campus is available on the Parking Services website.

International Postdocs

If you have a J1 visa, contact:
International Student & Scholar Services
Phone:  (615) 322-2753
Email:  ISSS

If you have an H1B visa, contact:
Global Support Services
GSS contact information

Please visit the ISSS and GSS Offices for additional resources.

Employment Visas

For more information regarding employment visas, refer to the GSS website  or email the Office of Immigration Services.


Your First Week

If you are a Postdoctoral Scholar, Research (job code: 9145), it is your responsibility to review the Human Resources benefits information and enroll within 30 days of your hire date. You can access all benefit information along with vendor presentations at your own pace.

The benefits team is always available to answer questions regarding benefits, please contact us via email at

Postdoctoral Scholar, Research (job code: 9145) HR Benefits Information
(Please note: you will need your VUnetID and password to access the document.)

Note: If you are unsure of your postdoc job title, please refer to your appointment letter.

Your First Month

Enroll in Health Insurance

Postdocs must enroll for health insurance within 30 days of your hire date (both Postdoctoral Scholars, Research and Postdoctoral Scholars, Trainees). For enrollment and plan information, visit the postdoc HR insurance page.

Attend OPA Orientation

OPA holds VU postdoc orientation on the second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. Your department staff administrator will register you for this session.  If you do not receive registration confirmation from OPA, contact the staff administrator in your department to make sure they have submitted your registration.

OPA orientation is open to all VU Postdocs, which includes:

  • 9145:  Postdoctoral Scholars, Research
  • 9146:  Postdoctoral Scholars, Trainee
  • 9136:  Postdoctoral Associate, Visiting

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 noted


Complete Vanderbilt’s Initial Compliance Curriculum