A postdoctoral position is a short-term, training position which should lead to a research career in academics, private industry, or government. Appointments are established for an initial period of one year, with the possibility of being re-appointed annually for an additional three years, not to exceed a total of four years. A four year time period for postdoctoral training has become the recommended length for most universities. A time-limited appointment protects the postdoc from an indefinite length of stay in a training position and is an adequate period for transition into full time positions with appropriate salaries and benefits.
In some cases, a faculty member may wish to extend an individual's postdoctoral appointment beyond the fourth year. If so, a written request to the Associate Dean of the Office of Postdoctoral Education should be made before the end of the postdoc's fourth year. Requests for a fifth year must include a mutually agreed upon and detailed career development plan for the postdoc signed by both the mentor and the postdoc. In all cases, appointment as a postdoctoral scholar at UAB is limited to a period not to exceed five years.