What is a postdoc?

A postdoctoral scholar ("postdoc") is someone who has earned a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, etc.) and is now undertaking research under the guidance of a mentor in order to gain further career skills and experience. This research is generally quite tightly focused and may be different than what their previous research was about.

Postdocs have a variety of careers options available to them, including:

  • staying within academia as a principal investigator, technician or researcher
  • working in industry
  • working in a field like healthcare, journalism, or education

But which one is the right choice? That all depends on your goals and the path you take throughout your education and working life.

As you will see from the videos and interviews on this website, there is no one way to become a postdoc. Whether you start off enthusiastic about science or torn between that and other subjects, research in the life sciences is a career open to all.