After receiving a Ph.D., many students decide to continue their research, gaining expertise in a specialized subject and professional skills, before entering the challenging job market. Applying for and completing a postdoctoral appointment may be a beneficial next step for these students. According to the National Postdoctoral Association, such opportunities are becoming a more common career step before applying for a permanent position.

Characteristics of Postdoctoral Studies

A postdoctoral appointment is a temporary position that lasts generally between one and five years. In order to complete an appointment, postdoctoral students primarily must pursue research; however, they may take part in clinical experiences and other projects as well. Postdoctoral students, or postdocs, also may have an opportunity to specialize further in a chosen field. These positions are available in a variety of subjects, from the sciences to the humanities, but are more often science-oriented. It is essential and expected that research and scholarship resulting from the postdoctoral appointment will be published.

About the Author

Gale Marie Thompson's work has been published in "Denver Quarterly," "Los Angeles Review" and "Best New Poets 2012." Thompson holds a BA in English and creative writing from the College of Charleston, a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is working on a PhD at the University of Georgia.