Northwestern Office for Research


Visiting Predoctoral Students from Other US Institutions of Higher Education and Northwestern Sponsored Programs

Northwestern's hiring plans include the hiring of senior faculty from other institutions on occasion. These faculty often have graduate students associated with them at the time of their transfer; in some cases, these students are also working on the sponsored program(s) that are to be transferred to Northwestern. This policy is meant to outline the process whereby visiting predoctoral students may continue to work on, and be paid by, their faculty mentor's sponsored program(s).

Students who have passed their qualifying exams may come to Northwestern as visiting predoctoral students to complete their research with their faculty mentor. Some in this category may stay for a significant period of time, although they are subject to annual review and renewal of their appointment. Such students continue to be registered at their home institution, and will receive their degree from that school. Feinberg, in particular, does not typically allow them to transfer to Northwestern. (Students who have not completed their coursework and have not passed their qualifying exams are not included in this policy.)

Faculty may wish to have these visiting predoctoral students continue on their sponsored program(s), both programs that have been transferred to Northwestern and/or those that are new. Visiting predoctoral students are not considered Northwestern employees. They may, however, continue to work on, and be paid by, a sponsored program at Northwestern through the use of a formal subcontract with the student's home institution. A subcontract would be set up with the home institution, with the dean or department chair at the home institution as PI. Thus, the home institution would continue to be the student's employer, pay their salary and manage any associated benefits. The Office for Sponsored Research can assist in the subcontract process and should be contacted as early as possible to facilitate this with the home institution. Northwestern will waive any Facilities and Administration costs that might otherwise be applicable in this instance.

The subcontract mechanism will also ensure visa status compliance for international students, who are typically on F-1 or J-1 visas that allow them to accept employment only at the institution where they are a registered student. In the case of international students, Northwestern's International Office (IO) should be contacted early in the process to help determine employment eligibility and compliance necessary with the visiting predoctoral student's specific non-immigrant visa situation.

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