Postdoctoral Appointments

This chapter examines the postdoctoral appointment[5] (postdoc) as a component of the career of doctoral scientists and engineers. Discussed here will be the total number of postdocs held, the postdoctoral status of the population in 1995, characteristics of those on postdocs in 1995, reasons for holding postdocs, and the relevance of the postdoc to the principal job held in 1995.

Number of Postdocs top

Figure 11.  Proportion of science and engineering Ph.D.s having at least one postdoctoral appointment, by field, 1995.

Reasons for Holding Postdocs top

1995 Postdocs top

The next several comments in this section pertain to those science and engineering doctorates who were on postdocs in April 1995 (see Table 28 [6]).

Relevance of Postdoc to 1995 Principal Job top

Those individuals who had held a postdoc but were not on a postdoc appointment in April 1995 were asked to rate the relevance of their most recent postdoc to the work on their 1995 principal job. Table 29 shows the proportion who said the aspects of their most recent postdoc were "a great deal" or "somewhat" relevant to their job.


[5] A postdoctoral appointment was defined on the survey as "a temporary position awarded in academe, industry, or government primarily for gaining additional education and training in research."

[6] Because the proportion or the number of doctorates taking postdocs was quite low for certain fields, data for these fields are not shown separately in Table 28 or Table 29, but are included in the total column. These fields are computer, mathematical, earth/atmospheric/marine, health, and social sciences.

Top of page Table of Contents Help SRS Homepage