Before You Get to USC

Below is a list of things to do before you get to USC.

Get to know the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 

The USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is the central resource on campus serving as a liaison between the Office of the Provost, Postdoctoral Scholars, Faculty, and Staff to disseminate university initiatives and policies. It works closely with academic units to help recruit a diverse cadre of the best junior scholars to the university and facilitate the training and preparation of postdoctoral scholars for careers as independent researchers, academics, and leaders of their chosen fields.

Explore the Employee Gateway
The Employee Gateway contains all the links located on one convenient site for access to almost all University Resources.

Sign your hiring contract

Congrats!  You’ve been offered a position to continue your postdoctoral training at USC!  Your hiring contract will be sent to you by your new department’s or school’s HR specialist.  Your contract will contain information about your Postdoc title code, your salary, start date, appointment period, and will contain links directing you to benefits enrollment.  Postdocs at USC are hired on one of four title codes below, which you should take note of.  Once you sign your contract, this will begin the hiring and onboarding process. 

Postdoctoral Title Codes:

  • Postdoctoral Scholars – Research Associates 
  • Postdoctoral Scholars – Teaching Fellows 
  • Postdoctoral Scholars – Fellowship Trainees
  • Postdoctoral Scholars – Visiting Fellows

Are postdocs students or staff at USC?  

Postdocs are both, well…kind of.  All postdocs at USC are granted limited student status, which confers a suite of various perks normally reserved for students (e.g. loan deferment, free gym access, etc.). To activate the student status, postdocs need to enroll in a 0-unit course called Postdoc Fellowship-999 (PDF-999). Because of this enrollment, postdocs may be listed as a “student” in some USC systems.  Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associates or Postdoctoral Scholar -Teaching Fellows have additional staff status.  Postdoc staff are W2 employees and will be able to access staff systems, such as Workday and Office 365, and receive payroll deductions.  When it comes to benefits, postdocs at USC have their own suite of health benefits and perks. Two important things to note: 

  1. All postdocs, regardless of title code, will receive the same (or very similar) benefits and perks at USC
  2. Postdoc benefits are through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, not through USC HR Benefits.  Please visit the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Benefits site for information relevant to postdocs. 

Which campus are you working at? 

University park campus (or “UPC”) is the campus located just west of the 110 fwy.  The Health Science Campus (or “HSC”) is located in downtown, at the intersection of the 5 fwy and 10 fwy.

Search for Housing

While USC does not offer housing for postdoctoral scholars, Los Angeles and its surrounding cities offer good options for living. The USC Postdoctoral Association (PDA) Handbook provides plenty of information and suggestions for places in and around Los Angeles.

Download the USC PDA handbook.

USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) patrol zones.

Neighborhood Security Ambassadors

Allied Universal Security (AUS)
AUS is a private security company contracted by the university to provide unarmed security officers, or “Yellow Jackets” as they are commonly called. The “Yellow Jackets” are an additional layer of security strategically deployed in the campus community and serve as the “eyes and ears” in our layered approach to safety. They have a direct connection to contact DPS should the need arise for DPS assistance.

Before getting started on the process below, you must know your 10-digit USC NetID.

Activate your USC NetID 
The university will assign you a 10-digit USC ID, which should be emailed to you by your department’s HR before your first day, along with the link to allow you to activate your USC NetID. This is a combination username/password that you will use for numerous log-in systems throughout the university, including Workday, which is the university’s comprehensive employee self-serve system that tracks payroll, benefits, time off, performance management, and more. Your USC NetID is sometimes referred to as the “shibboleth” (or “Shib“) password. If you have your 10-digit USC ID, activate your USC NetID at our IT website. If you have any questions about USC NetID activation, contact the HR Service Center.

Set up your USC Email

Sign in to your email using this link. Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associates and Teaching Fellows will use the Sign in to Office 365 link and access email through Outlook. Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellowship Trainees and Visiting Scholars will access email through Gmail.  Some schools and units administer their own email systems and provide additional email accounts for postdocs. These emails will be @[school] For more information, contact your local IT support.

While postdocs are free to use school emails as primary, please monitor your email for any correspondence with the USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Set up “Duo” – USC’s extra layer of protection
The Duo system provides additional security for your personal information in Workday and other USC systems. After you enter your USC NetID, Duo sends a notification to your cell phone requesting you confirm the log-in. It’s simple to install and use! If you don’t have a cell phone, you can set Duo up to ring a landline phone for confirmation. You also activate Duo at our IT website.  Use of Duo 2FA is required.

Log in to Workday
Postdoctoral – Research Associates and Postdoctoral – Teaching Fellows will have access to Workday.  Workday is completely in the “cloud” so you can sign in from anywhere that has an internet connection, using your USC NetID. To log in, just look for the Workday icon in the popular links on the Employee Gateway’s front page (you’re on the Gateway now!). Here’s a helpful guide – Getting started with Workday – to help you begin.

Check your personal information in Workday
Workday maintains personal information relative to your employment, and USC relies on you to ensure your information is correct and that you’ve provided all information required to meet our payroll and regulatory requirements. Follow these steps in our personal information guide to complete your review.

Get your USCard
Once you have your USC NetID, have set up Duo, and confirmed your Workday information, you’re ready to submit an online request for your USCard, which serves as your university ID – and quite a bit more! The online process will ask you to upload a photo and provide a mailing address for your card to be sent directly to you.

Familiarize yourself with USC Policy
All employees are required to adhere to all university policy. Visit the policy website.  Additionally, you may find Postdoctoral Scholar Policy here.

Determine how you will get to campus
If by car, before you arrive, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with parking here at USC.  These campus maps will help you identify your building and the nearest parking.  Please note that not all parking lots will have availability and may differ in price. The USC Transportation website includes information on parking, permits and USC Bus/Shuttle Service.  If by LA Public Transportation, visit Go Metro – Los Angeles public transportation system to plan your commute.

Know your department
Although it’s important to familiarize yourself with the university at large, you’ll want to learn more about the department where you’ll be working, too. Visit the USC home page and locate your department’s website through the search box in the top right corner of the page.

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