Professional Development

What is a postdoc?

Postdoctoral scholars are highly skilled individuals that contribute to the success of the research enterprise at Texas A&M. The definition of the postdoc position highlights the importance of mentored training in this stepping stone experience toward future careers.

National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation (2007) “An individual who has received a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and is engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training to enhance the professional skills and research independence needed to pursue his or her chosen career path.”

National Postdoctoral Association (2007) “A postdoctoral scholar  (‘postdoc’) is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing.”

Association of American Medical Colleges (2006) “Postdoctoral appointees typically join an institution to advance their training in a chosen discipline after recently obtaining their terminal degree (e.g., PhD, MD, DVM). This training, which should be for a defined period of time, is conducted under the supervision of one or more investigators who are qualified to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor. In addition to the primary responsibility of conducting research, the postdoctoral appointee may also undertake leadership, service, and teaching activities that together provide a training experience essential for professional development and career advancement.”

Why is it beneficial to have professional development activities for postdocs?

  • Recruiting tool for new faculty and postdocs
  • Enhancing success – support training grants and individual postdoc fellowships
  • Enhance postdoc professional competencies to support their career goals

New Postdoctoral Orientation

New Postdoctoral Orientation takes place twice a year, once each in the fall and spring semesters. This Orientation is designed to help you jump-start your career at Texas A&M by providing an overview of the university resources available to postdoctoral scholars. The Orientation dates will be announced on the postdoctoral calendar and through the listserv.

Postdoctoral Handbook

The new Postdoctoral Handbook was created specifically for postdoctoral scholars and represents an excellent resource on a variety of topics, from your first day at Texas A&M to living in Bryan-College Station area. In addition, to facilitate your rapid accommodation to Texas A&M University campus and the Bryan/College Station surrounding area, we produced the Postdoctoral Frequently Asked Questions Booklet* that complements the Texas A&M Postdoctoral Handbook. This Booklet contains a comprehensive collection of practical information useful to all members of the postdoctoral community, US citizens and international postdocs. You have to use your TAMU Net ID to access the booklet.

*Login will take you to the front page of the DOR site, you will need to return to the Professional Development page and click on the Postdoctoral Frequently Asked Question Booklet link to view.


These workshops feature strategic topics for the professional development of postdoctoral scholars. Most of the workshops will be organized as hybrid events, face-to-face with zoom participation, pending on Covid-19 updates.

Career Development Series

These workshops are focused on topics relevant to building a career in an academic or non-academic environment.

Teaching Workshop Series

These workshops are focused on topics relevant to building a career in teaching.

Mentoring Workshop Series

Evidence-based workshops to help postdoctoral scholars learn the skills necessary to be productive mentees and also mentors to undergraduate and graduate students in their labs.

Postdoc Affairs Series

These workshops are focused on other topics of interest for the postdoctoral fellows (wellness, visas, etc).

Individual Development Plan

An Individual Development Plan provides a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. This workshop is offered every summer as a series of three sessions. The specific dates will be announced on the postdoctoral calendar and through the listserv.


  • Identify long-term career options and set goals
  • Identify the necessary tools to reach the career goals
  • Identify short-term needs for improving current performance to reach the career goals

Benefits for the postdoctoral scholar as a mentee

  • Assists in developing long-term goals
  • Defines expectations and sets milestones along the way to achieve specific goals
  • Provides a communication tool between the postdoc and research advisor

Benefits for the research advisor as a mentor

  • Focuses postdoc interests on personal development by enhancing individual professional growth and productivity in the lab through milestones setting.
  • Enlists an active IDP program for the postdocs in the annual grant report as applicable
  • Improves the professional growth at the department and college level.