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Postdoctoral researchers

Postdoctoral research offers recent Doctoral degree recipients the chance to further their professional development, build on their research, and effectively transition from life as a student to that of an independent scholar. At McGill, postdoctoral researchers have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s foremost professors and researchers, and work in an environment that supports and celebrates excellence.

In this section, you'll find everything from registration instructions, to rights & responsibilities, to how to get a work permit if you're joining us from abroad.

Want to conduct postdoctoral research at McGill but not sure whether you qualify as a fellow, a trainee, or as academic personnel? Refer to the table below to find out what category you fit into, and where to go from there!


Postdoctoral Fellow

In Quebec, ‘Postdoctoral Fellow’ is a regulated category of trainee requiring full time registration at the University in compliance with provincial regulations set out by the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport (Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisirs et du Sport - MELS) for the purpose of governing postdoctoral education. Quickly defined, postdoctoral fellows must be within five years of graduating with a Ph.D. or equivalent (including a recognized health professional degree plus a medical specialty) who are engaged in research at the invitation of and under the supervision of a member of McGill’s academic staff. More information on the definition, status, and policies and procedures governing registration of postdoctoral fellows at McGill.

Postdoctoral Research Trainee

If your situation does not conform to the MELS’ definition of postdoctoral fellow, you may be eligible to attend McGill as a postdoctoral research trainee. While at McGill, a postdoctoral research trainee can perform research only (may not register for courses or engage in clinical practice). Please see the Research Trainee section for more information.

The following categories of employment are administered by the Academic Personnel Office. Prospective Research Associates and Visiting Scholars should apply through the McGill Department of their proposed supervisor and through the Academic Personnel Office, not through GPS.

Research Associates

An individual with a Doctoral degree who is more than five years post-graduation can be employed as a Research Associate if he/she is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This is an employment category and cannot be filled by a foreign applicant without prior posting of the position and preference to Canadian applicants.

Visiting Scholar

A Visiting Scholar is:

  • An individual who has been practicing a profession and is taking leave from that practice to obtain practical training/experience in research under the supervision of a McGill professor(s), which is not leading to a degree or fulfilling a requirement for a program leading to a medical specialization. 
  • An individual employed at another institution who has prior research training and experience and who is coming to McGill to collaborate with a McGill professor on a research project.

The conditions above do not meet the requirements for registration as a postdoctoral fellow as the individuals lack medical specialty or are more than five years post-degree/specialty certification. 


Faculty and staff who work with postdoctoral researchers should visit Working with Postdocs for a description of their responsibilities and instructions on how to fulfill them. Supervisors should also ensure that they're aware of the guiding principles and best practices pertinent to advising postdocs.

Just looking for a list of postdoctoral contacts? Check out our detailed contact page, where we break it down by Faculty and Unit.

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