Associate vs. Fellow

There are several job codes for postdoctoral scholars at the University of Minnesota. The two largest groups are postdoctoral associates and postdoctoral fellows. There are several differences between these titles, and often a postdoctoral scholar will switch back and forth between these titles based on the source of their funding. It is important to understand these differences, especially as they relate to health insurance and paying taxes.

All postdocs, regardless of job code, have the option of purchasing a UPass (unlimited public transit pass) at the student rate and can sign up for campus parking as an employee.

Below is a summary of the major differences between Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows. This is a side-by-side comparison that may not display correctly on mobile devices.



Salary generally covered by supervisor's grants (e.g. NIH R01 grant)

Stipend generally covered by grant awarded to the individual (e.g. NIH F32 or T32)

Considered an employee of the University

Considered a "trainee" of the university - not perfectly equivalent to a student, but in many ways treated the same as students

Federal and State income taxes can be withheld from each paycheck, W2 issued annually

Federal and state estimated taxes must be filed quarterly (taxes cannot be withheld by the University), no tax documents issued (see this page)

Parking costs, gym membership, etc. can be automatically paid out of paychecks

No automatic payments can be made - parking costs, gym membership, etc must be paid out of pocket

Several health insurance options - talk to Human Resources to find options

Health insurance usually through the Graduate Assistant Health Program

Conflict resolution handled by the Office of Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution handled by the Student Conflict Resolution Center