FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Should there be a hyphen between “frequently” and “asked”?
A:  Excellent question. No. That’s because “frequently” is an adverb. See Merriam-Webster. (Btw, hyphenated is not, whereas non-hyphenated is. Ironic, innit?)

Q: Should I get business cards, and where can I order them?
A: The use of business cards is far more prevalent in industry than academia. If you’re looking to make some with your Harvard info, you have 2 options:

  1. https://www.flagshippress.com/.
  2. FAQGnomon copies. Located right next to JP Licks on Mass Av. They’re not expensive and may be the easiest option. They’ll ask for some confirmation email from the Postdoc Office, which we’ll be happy to provide.

    Please know that your use of the cards is subject to the policy articulated by the Trademark Office here: https://trademark.harvard.edu/business-card-authorization-guidelines-harvard-affiliates

Q: Are the Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development taxable?
A:  No. That’s because PAPD awards are processed as a reimbursement of incurred expenses.

Q: Can a Postdoc attend Harvard and Harvard extension school courses? What is the cost?
Harvard benefits-eligible postdocs and Research Associates: Use the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
      Non Harvard benefits-eligible postdocs are eligible to audit a course, though only with instructor’s permission.

Q. Once my Harvard postdoc appointment ends, am I eligible to join the Alumni association, and will I be able to keep my Harvard email?
A. Negatory on both counts. Alumni only include folks who receive a degree from Harvard, and are then promptly asked for financial contributions from the alumni association. Once your postdoc appointment ends, so will your Harvard email.

Q. Should I use two spaces after a period?
A. If you're using a typewriter, yes. Otherwise, no, never! See http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invade... and https://www.legalwatercoolerblog.com/tag/strunk-and-white/

Q. Can I sign up for the PDO and PDA listserv lists? Alternatively, how can I be taken off the lists?
A. You can't. In order to avoid wasting time approving requests to join or leave the list for dozens of postdocs across the FAS every week, the list automatically adds postdocs when their appointment becomes active, and unsubscribes them when their appointment ends. There’s no subscribe or unsubscribe mechanism. If you don't want to receive these emails, just spam or delete them.

Q. Can postdocs defer their student loans during their postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard?
A. No. In general, lending agencies do not recognize postdoctoral scholar status for deferral of student loans because postdoctoral trainees are not considered the equivalent of registered, full-time students. Indeed, at Harvard, postdocs are not students, but research scholars. Ultimately, however, the decision of determining whether the appointment meets deferral criteria rests with the guaranteeing agency. G
iven that lending agencies differ in their deferral requirements and are the final arbiters of eligibility, it might be worth inquiring with them directly. For more information on the policy surrounding this question, see the explanations on Federal Student Federal Loan Deferment Options. In the case of hardship, please consider contacting your student loan officer to discuss other possible options to delay or offset your payments.

Q. Can I get a copy of my personnel file?
A. No. Only staff and faculty have personnel files. The appointment offices just keeps administrative paperwork of your hiring (offer letter), your reappointment, and your visa.

Q. What is Harvard's OPT Identification number?
A. 257-169

Q. Does the time spent as a postdoc count towards vesting, when Research Associates become eligible for pension benefits?
A. Yes.