Vice President for Research Statement on Salary and Benefits

The Vice President for Research periodically updates the community on standards related to postdocs. Below please find summary information related to salary/stipend thresholds, health benefits for postdoctoral fellows, mentoring requirements, and individual development plans. We have an outstanding population of over 1500 postdocs at MIT, and continue to strive to improve their compensation, benefits and career development opportunities.

Salary Levels for Postdocs

It is important that financial support provided for postdocs is at a level that enables them to have a productive and rewarding experience at the Institute. MIT’s minimum salary and stipend rates for postdocs are consistent with those set by NIH for the Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipends. The NIH salary scale shown below should be used to establish the correct minimum salary for all postdoctoral appointments based on years of experience since receiving the doctoral degree. At the re-appointment date, the minimum salary should be adjusted to reflect the additional year of experience. Postdoctoral scholar salary increases should continue to be implemented at re-appointment throughout 2020 and 2021. The rates below are effective February 10, 2021.

Note: NIH Individual NRSA fellowship recipients (F32 award), please see NOT-OD-20-070 - for additional information, and contact your department fiscal officer and key administrative contact for postdocs for guidance.


Years of Experience 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 or more
Stipend* $53,760 $54,144 $54,540 $56,712 $58,608 $60,780 $63,036 $65,292


* Note: MIT has a five-year limit on postdoctoral appointments.

Health Benefits for Postdoctoral Fellows

We are committed to equalizing the cost of health insurance between postdoc fellows and associates, so that the premiums paid by fellows are not greater than what they would be paying if they were postdoctoral associates. At the time of the initial appointment, MIT administrative contacts conduct an evaluation, factoring in any health insurance coverage included in the fellowship. When the remaining cost to the fellow would exceed that of a postdoctoral associate, they arrange in advance for the faculty host to provide the difference between the cost to the individual for fellows versus associates. For each category of coverage, the current annual premium cost difference is indicated below. (Annual rates below are effective January 2020.)


Coverage Tier Postdoc Associates MIT Traditional Health Plan Postdoc Fellows MIT Affiliate Plan and Extended Insurance Difference
Individual $2,712 $4,947 -$2,235
Individual and Spouse (or Spousal Equivalent) $6,528 $8,605 -$2,077
Individual and dependent $5,580 $6,067 -$487
Family $8,604 $9,725 -$1,121


Mentoring Plans

Regular communication between postdocs and supervisors is vital. Postdocs and their supervisors should plan for an introductory meeting to set overall goals and construct a mentoring plan, which must be provided with the initial appointment. The annual renewal of an appointment must include a progress report on the career development plan including future goals that is co-signed by both the postdoc and advisor and reflects an in person meeting. A basic outline for a mentoring plan, suggested template for an annual review, and other related resources are part of the Postdoctoral Mentoring and Advising Toolkit.

Individual Development Plans

FPAC has recommended Individual Development Plans for our postdocs, and we now have IDP guidance and a career planning strategy document as part of the Postdoctoral Mentoring and Advising Toolkit.. NIH guidelines require discussion of whether and how an IDP is used for any postdoc supported by the NIH. Independent of the NIH, an IDP can be useful to assist postdocs in identifying a career that fits their skills and interests.