Post-doctoral Studies

Given the emphasis on research in the U.S. higher education system, post-doctoral scholars (or post-docs, as they are commonly known on U.S. campuses) play an important role on U.S. campuses. In return for contributing to ongoing research in the department, post-docs have the opportunity to pursue their own research and work on articles and manuscripts, Postdocs are usually given either full or restricted access to university resources – from computing hardware to lab equipment to archives on campus.

Indian scholars have ample opportunities to study PhD in the U.S. or conduct research by applying for the large number of post-doctoral opportunities that await them in the U.S. Post-docs pay reasonably well, offer unparalleled networking opportunities, and are a huge value-addition to a scholarly resume or CV

There are two primary ways to complete short-term study or research in the U.S. at the postgraduate and postdoctoral levels:

  • Apply directly to U.S. universities as a non-degree seeking or visiting student
  • Coordinate an arrangement with a U.S. university as a visiting scholar or fellow on your own or through an established exchange program


Non-Degree or Visiting Student
It is possible to apply directly to U.S. universities as a non-degree seeking or visiting student status. Under these arrangements, students may be able to complete postgraduate coursework (including research-based classes for credit) and/or have access to university and department facilities for research. As a non-degree seeking or visiting student, a post-doc will likely pay similar tuition fees to that of a degree-seeking students.

Funding from a U.S. university for short-term study is very limited. External funding bodies, such as the Fulbright India fellowships and loans may be your best options for funding. To begin researching universities and choosing a degree program, you may wish to read the short listing a university section of this website. Alternatively, you may wish to network through colleagues or contact U.S.-based researchers who have published or recently presented at a conference in your field.

Once you have selected universities, you should contact their admissions office to determine whether it is possible to apply to study or research on a short-term basis and to deternine the admissions criteria and application procedures. Keep in mind that some universities may not have an option for visiting students. You may be asked to submit a transcript, essay, recommendation letter(s) and/or plan of study to apply for these programs.

Visiting Scholar or Fellow

If you already possess a PhD, it is also possible to coordinate an arrangement to lecture, consult or conduct further research at a U.S. university as a visiting scholar or post-doctoral fellow. Visiting scholars and fellows are given access to university and department facilities for research, similar to regular faculty members. These positions can be coordinated with a university department directly or may be part of an established exchange program. For a list of U.S. government sponsored exchange programs, visit the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchange website (

Research universities by reading the section of this website focusing on short listing universities. You may wish to network through colleagues or contact U.S.-based researchers who have published or recently presented at a conference in your field. Most visiting scholars/fellows are expected to be self-financed, either through an external funding body or a salary from the scholar's home institution paid while the scholar is on sabbatical. USIEF offers a number of Fulbright awards for postgraduate study and research, as well as distinguished scholars and fellows programs. Many top-tier universities in the U.S. have their own post-doctoral programs with their own individualized applications and interview processes as well.

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For any query on U.S. higher education, call us on our EdUSA toll-free hotline 1800-103-1231 between 2pm and 5pm (Monday-Friday)