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Search Engine Terms: postdoc salary March 19, 2007

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Particle Physics, Physics.

I noticed that my blog has been hit many times with the following search request: postdoc salary (in physics or particle physics or at some particular university/lab). I take that, besides general curiosity, someone gets an offer from somewhere and wants to know if the place is kinda cheap, i.e. tries to pay as little as possible. So I wanted to address this issue here.

While the possibility of a place trying to pay as little as possible is certainly a possibility – I’ve heard stories about Ivy League schools trying to hire Nobel-Prize-grade people for cheap (well, at the time those people haven’t won their Nobel Prizes yet), most of postdoc salaries are written in the grant applications of faculty who are trying to hire those postdocs. So there is almost no wiggle room there. Of course, salaries of less experienced postdocs would generally be smaller than those of more experienced postdocs, but at the end all those numbers are still in the same ballpark (I already talked about that here). The only exception would be national labs (FNAL/ANL/BNL/SLAC/…) where salaries are generally higher. And of course universities located in places like New York City pay more and maybe even offer University-assisted housing. So, excluding those things and things like prize postdocs such as this, this, or this, the general bracket for a postdoc salary in particle theory is $38K-$42K this year. When I was a postdoc, those numbers started in the low 30’s…


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