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Hiring Staff, Postdocs, and Students

Contact Human Resources for information on hiring administrative staff, lab staff, postdoctoral scholars, and undergraduate students. Please note, you cannot have employees work or be paid until the hiring process has been completed.

Everyone in Cognitive Science labs should have an official affiliation with UCSD whether an employee, registered student, visitor or volunteer. This protects the lab and employee under University workers compensation benefits.

Hiring Timelines

If you are planning on hiring a new lab staff member, postdoc, or student worker please let Human Resources know prior to the intended appointment start date, as paperwork needs to be completed and approved by campus offices before the person can start work. Please refer to the below time frames:

  • Lab Staff: 2 month minimum advance notice.
  • Student Employees: 3 weeks minimum advance notice.
  • Postdocs: 1 month minimum advance notice.
  • Visas: If the new hire needs a visa, please provide 4 months minimum advance notice instead of what is listed above.

What options do I have for hiring staff employees?

Open Recruitment- Career staff positions should be used if you want to hire someone full time for 6 months or more. Most of our employees are hired this way. Career employees can work a fixed or variable amount but they must work 50% or more time. They are eligible for benefits. As a career employee, they are eligible for layoff benefits if their employment can no longer be funded.


  • You want to hire an employee for two years at 80% time.
  • You want to hire an employee indefinitely at 50% time.

Open Recruitment- Limited staff positions can be offered if employment will be for a limited duration or a limited number of hours. Limited employees may work any percentage of time but they are restricted to working less than 1000 hours in a 12-month period which is equivalent to approximately 45% time. The 12-month period is a rolling period, and as long as the employee does not exceed 1,000 hours, the employee may continue on a limited status indefinitely. If the appointment is over 43.75% time they are eligible for benefits.


  • You want to hire an employee indefinitely for 45% time.
  • You want to hire an hourly paid employee for 20 to 40 hours per month for an undetermined length of time.

Short-Term Exception can be used to hire an identified candidate for a very limited amount of time without an open recruitment. STE’s cannot be extended! Although this may initially appear to be the most attractive option, it is also the most problematic. If you later want the employee to work longer than anticipated, it will not be approved. For this reason, we strongly discourage hiring on short-term exception unless you are committed to the appointment being for a limited timeframe. Note: Any appointment below 50% has to be approved by Student Career Services, to ensure that the job that cannot be filed by a student employee.

Example: You have an identified candidate you want to hire for only 3 months.