Onboarding and Getting Started

Postdoctoral Scholars – Research Associates and Postdoctoral Scholars – Teaching Fellows

Welcome to USC! Before your first day, there are several “next steps” that contain information and actions to take before your first day. Here, you will find a list of things to do or review as part of your onboarding process. The following is for Postdoctoral – Research Associates and Postdoctoral – Teaching Fellows only.


Explore the Employee Gateway

This is your “one-stop site” for all employment-related information for postdoctoral scholars.


Activate your USC NetID

After receiving your 10-digit USC ID via e-mail, activate your USC NetID here. Your USC NetID, also known as your Shibboleth username/password, signs you in to USC online tools and resources, including the wireless network, Microsoft Office 365, Workday, MyUSC, and Google Apps.

Haven’t received your 10-digit USC ID? Contact your local department representative.

Need help activating your account? Contact USC IT Services.


Set up Duo Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Remote VPN

The Duo 2FA system is required for all USC faculty, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and student workers, and it provides an additional level of security for your personal information in Workday and other USC systems.

Need to access university resources off-campus or working remotely? Set up your remote VPN.


Get started with Workday

Workday is our comprehensive employee self-serve system that tracks payroll, time off, and more. Please note that as a postdoctoral scholar, your benefits are through the USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and not HR Service Center. This means that while your benefit elections are through our enrollment site, you will use Workday for everything else. You can sign in to Workday using your USC NetID.

When you log in for the first time, there will be several activities waiting for you. Please ensure that you complete these activities and that your personal information is correct.

In addition, to complete your Workday onboarding, please do the following:

  • Refer to our Onboarding page on the Workday Help site to help you get started.
  • If you have any questions regarding updating your personal information or answering the self-identification questionnaires, follow these steps in our personal information guide.
  • If you have questions regarding your payment or setting up your direct deposit, see this guide to make your payment elections.
  • To better understand your tax documents, please see the frequently asked tax questions.


Activate your USC email

You can activate your USC email account at: usc.edu/firstlogin. It is during this process that you will be given your USC username and you can select a password.

To access your USC email through a web browser:

  • Visit: usc.edu/office365
  • Enter Username: The part of your USC email address to the left to the @ symbol.
  • Enter Password: Set by you during account activation.

Need help getting set up? Contact USC ITS Services.


Obtain your USCard

Your USCard allows you access to campus facilities, athletic and cultural events, and serves as your on-campus wallet allowing you to conveniently purchase food, goods, and services.

Questions? Please contact USCard directly.


Login to MyUSC and the Web Registration System

From the employee gateway, login to MyUSC and navigate to the web registration system. As a postdoctoral scholar, you must enroll in PDF-999 each semester that you hold an active appointment as a postdoc. PDF-999 will grant you limited student status and make you eligible for internal funding and support from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. PDF-999 registration is open year-round and there are no fees or tuition of any kind associated with registration.

On or after your start date:

  • Enroll in the current semester based on your start date in your appointment letter.

Who to contact if you have a hold on your registration? Please contact Registrar One-Stop.


Enroll in the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (USC PSBP)

Our benefits website explains all your plan options. You can also find information for commonly asked questions in our Health Care 101 section. You will have 31 days from your start date to enroll or waive your benefits coverage. If you enroll, your coverage begins on your start date in your appointment letter. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with our plan offerings. When you’re ready, visit our health benefits site to find links to enroll.

Who should I contact if I have questions? Please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (postdocs@usc.edu).


Review USC Policies

As a postdoctoral scholar, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with our policies on our policy website and adhering to them. These policies provide broad-stroke statements intended to influence expected behaviors of staff, faculty, and students and ultimately support the overall culture of the university. The Provost’s and the Office’s of Postdoctoral Affairs Policy can be found here.

The following offices also work collaboratively to best serve the interest of our USC community and oversee the creation, enforcement, and administration of these policies:

  • USC’s Office for Professionalism and Ethics serves as a central clearinghouse for complaints and the subsequent tracking of those complaints at USC’s University Park and Health Sciences campuses and all university programs and affiliates.
  • USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX centralizes resources for civil rights education, reporting and resolution procedures, which includes responding to reports of discrimination and harassment based on a protected characteristic, including sexual misconduct, as well as related retaliation, involving faculty, staff and students.
  • USC’s Office of Culture, Ethics, and Compliance provides resources and expertise to the USC community to ask questions about applicable laws, regulations, and university policies that impact their job duties.


Arrive – Transportation and Parking Support

Our USC Transportation website includes information on parking, permits, parking reservations, public transportation, bus schedules, and more.

Don’t know where to park? Check out the interactive UPC map and interactive HSC map to find the best location for you and for navigating the campus.

For more transportation and parking assistance, contact USC Transportation at 213-740-3575.


Start your Individual Development Plan (IDP)

The IDP is an important aspect of your professionalization. It is designed to help you build a plan for a future career and achieve research independence. This document is intended to be collaborative with your faculty supervisor. It is also highly recommended that you find additional faculty mentors that can work collaboratively on this process with you. You should arrange to meet once per year with all faculty mentor(s) to discuss progress toward your career goals, changes to your desired career path, and to chart a course for the next appointment year.

You can find additional resources for your IDP on our OPA website. The IDP is strongly encouraged. You will need an IDP to be eligible for any internal funding and support through OPA. If you have any questions about the IDP, contact us (postdocs@usc.edu).

The IDP is a well thought out, informed career plan with objectives and training milestones. OPA recommends setting up a meeting with your faculty supervisor to discuss and find common areas of interest.


Congratulations! You have completed the first leg on your USC onboarding journey.

Go to the next section: Get to know your resources here