Getting started at USC

Your first week getting situated on campus.

Find your work location, parking (car or bike) if applicable, set up your workstation whether that’s an office, laboratory, or classroom, and meet with your faculty supervisor, PI, or department. Take a USC Tour (Optional, but fun! Guaranteed 10,000 steps-exercise!) with this link: (take a free guided tour) or pick up a self-tour guide!

Where to eat
There are plenty of choices for lunch (and breakfast and dinner, for that matter), both on and around our campuses. To start, explore the USC Hospitality site for a full listing of USC restaurant locations. For postdocs working at UPC, also visit the USC Village.

Activate your student status by enrolling in PDF-999 (required by all postdocs).

Postdoctoral Research Associates and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows: Enroll in PDF-999 to activate student status. All Postdoc Research Associates and Teaching Fellows will need to self-enroll using MyUSC Web Registration System within the first three months of your start date. You will be cleared automatically (D-Clearance) as part of your hiring process. The PDF-999 enrollment window is open year-round.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Trainees and Visiting Fellows: Enroll in PDF-999 to activate student status and to receive your monthly stipends. New Postdoc Fellowship Trainees – Please do not email the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to request enrollment in PDF-999. We will enroll you automatically during your hiring process but you will need to self-enroll for all following semesters, including Summer Sessions.

How to Enroll in PDF-999: The web registration system can be accessed by logging into your MyUSC portal. Download a quick guide for PDF-999 enrollment. For additional information about registration, please visit the Registrar’s website.

Enroll in the USC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Program

Postdocs who wish to receive health benefits must enroll in the benefits program within 30 days of the contract start date. Postdocs are NOT automatically enrolled in health benefits.

NOTE: The USC HR Benefits site does not apply to postdocs. The postdoctoral scholar benefits package is designed to closely match the benefits offered to faculty and staff and includes health, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment, short-term and long-term disability insurance plans, and maternity/paternity leave. Additional information about the USC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan can be accessed on the Benefits & Privileges page.

Campus Emergencies – Know who to call

For emergencies on campus, please call USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) 213-740-4321. DPS is the university police and security force and operate alongside local law enforcement. Emergency phones on campus are marked by blue lights and directly connect to DPS.

Get Trained – University mandated training

Researchers at USC may be conducting research in laboratories, conducting ethnographic research, using hazardous substances, conducing human-subjects or animal research, etc. Use the Research Training Finder tool to determine which University mandated training is required for your research. Some training may be through EH&S. There are additional training modules on Trojan Learn.

Get to know your resources

USC Office of Research: The mission of the Office of Research at the University of Southern California is to nurture and promote ethical and rigorous research, scholarship, creativity, and innovation to benefit society. Here, postdocs will find resources for research/scholarship, training, funding and events.

Center for Excellence in Teaching: CET supports your teaching and course design. CET institutes engage postdocs with all levels of experience in advancing their knowledge of scholarly approaches to teaching excellence and offers free resources for course design, evaluation and instruction.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Programs: The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs offers travel support, research grants, tuition remission for work-related coursework, and signature programs that enhance postdoc career development.

Other Resources available to postdocs:

National Postdoc Association (NPA) membership: As the national voice of the postdoctoral community, the NPA is the one national entity representing both postdocs and their institutions. Promoting a culture of inclusion through advocacy, professional development, and a tireless dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. USC is an institutional member of the NPA.

Office of International Services has drop in advising sessions to answer visa related questions. Schedules can be found on the OIS website. For international postdocs, all visa related questions should be directed to OIS.

USC Career Center: All USC postdocs are encouraged to take advantage of the full range of career services. From resume review and career advising services to online networking and targeted job search resources, the Career Center offers robust tools to help you make valuable connections and identify potential employers and industry trends. The website enables you to search for jobs, research organizations, attend webinars, and network with fellow Trojans via the Trojan Network. In addition to our office, USC has school-based career centers or advisors who can assist you. For free yearly membership, email the Career Center. Lyon Center (UPC) and the HSC Fitness Center access: To activate your access, please register online prior to visiting the gym. Current enrollment in PDF-999 is required.

Lyon Center (UPC) and the HSC Fitness Center access: To activate your access, please register online prior to visiting the gym. Current enrollment in PDF-999 is required.

LinkedIn Learning: All postdocs get free access to this platform through USC libraries. LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that helps you discover and develop business, technology-related, and creative skills through expert-led course videos. With more than 5,000 courses and personalized recommendations, you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your field and interests. You can also choose to add these courses and related skills to your LinkedIn profile once you’ve completed them.