Information for New Postdocs

Welcome to MIT! You will receive specific information and instructions from helpful people in your department, lab, center or institute headquarters. Follow their guidance. Typically, you will be asked to check in personally upon arrival. Many of these areas also have designated website content for postdocs.

Before You Arrive

MIT ID Number, Email, and Web Certificates

  • Your MIT ID number is automatically generated and sent to you when your academic appointment to MIT is processed by your department, laboratory, center or institute and by Human Resources.
  • Once you have your MIT ID number, use MIT’s online portal “Atlas” to get your “Kerberos ID” to set up email and MIT web certificates. You’ll need your email and web certificates to access some MIT sites, including MIT Housing and other sections of Atlas.

Living in Greater Boston

  • Living expenses: Budget for housing, childcare, and other living expenses. Be aware that your salary/stipend may be taxed (tax information for U.S. residents and foreign nationals), and develop your budget based on your ‘take-home’ pay, not your gross pay. You may have additional expenses that you didn’t have in grad school, such as health care expenses and student loans.
  • Housing: Identify and secure housing before you arrive. This may involve a trip to the area a month or more before your arrival if possible, or connecting with others here who can help (see housing resources). 
  • Childcare and schools: If you have children, review information on schools, camps, and childcare. Some on-campus childcare is available, but many MIT staff, faculty and postdocs use off-campus childcare. Get to know your options well before you arrive.

Upon Arrival

MIT Forms and Profile

  • Complete new hire activities using Atlas: Complete Form I-9 (if applicable) and the MIT Intellectual Property Agreement form, and get a digital MIT ID card.
  • Update your online MIT information. In Atlas, click on About Me, then My Profile. Enter your email address (under work address) and complete the education history section. Providing optional demographic information helps us to understand MIT’s postdoctoral population.

Direct Deposit and Benefits

  • Sign up for direct deposit of MIT paychecks and reimbursements into your bank account. In Atlas, under Money Matters, complete any applicable tax withholding forms and your direct deposit preferences. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the Time and Vacation Entry forms in Atlas if you are eligible for vacation benefits.
  • Sign up for Health Insurance/Benefits: Postdoc benefits (including health, dental and vision plans) are available through MIT based on whether you are a postdoctoral fellow or postdoctoral associate. Follow the instructions provided by Human Resources and your department, laboratory, center or institute. Be attentive to all enrollment deadlines.

Orientation and Campus Resources

  • Sign up for a Postdoc Orientation, hosted by the MIT Postdoctoral Association in collaboration with Human Resources and Postdoctoral Services. MIT also offers a general new hire orientation. 
  • Read emails from the postdoc listserv (you will be added to the list upon arrival at MIT), join the MIT Postdocs Slackget involved in MIT Postdoctoral Association activities, and browse Campus Services, Resources and Tips.
  • Let your spouse/partner (if applicable) know about MIT Spouses & Partners Connect, which supports spouses and partners of MIT community members who have relocated to the Boston area. They have resources, activities, and a weekly drop-in hour for newcomers.

For International Scholars