Starting postdoc before finishing PhD. Is that possible?


I have already submitted the thesis for examination. I am wondering whether it is possible to start e-mail potential postdoc supervisor and start the postdoc while waiting for PhD viva.


I started applying for postdoc posts way before submission of my thesis. The earlier you do that, the better.


I have heard that a year before you expect to finish is a good time to start thinking about it (supervisors have said "you need to start thinking about it now"). Why is this? Does the application process take much longer than a normal job?

Sorry for hijacking this thread - but it is on topic at least.


For the post-docs in my field (politics), they advertise a year in advance. So, the criteria usually states that you must have your PhD by the starting day (autumn 2018), and they do the interviews in winter 2017, and probably choose in early spring.

I think even if one states that you already must have your PhD, having a strong CV that includes some teaching and publishing may put you in line for consideration.


Hi, yes you can start a postdoc without having had your viva. I did this and so did several other people I know.

Tudor, I don't know why they say this, because in reality once you get a post doc they want you to start asap and if you are nowhere near finishing your thesis they will probably give the post to someone who is. For most positions you just need a CV and a cover letter, and it's a standard month until deadline and then month wait to hear back for interview date within a month. This is for biology though - it's obviously different in other fields.

I think when you start applying depends on your financial situation. Ideally, I would have started in between submission and viva and be writing up my papers at the same time. It wasn't fun having to start a postdoc because I needed the cash when I had just finished (not even submitted) my thesis. It then took me a year to write 3 papers in evenings and weekends after work (which to be fair, is still quicker that most).


I did my first application about 10 months before submission as it seemed suitable for me although I wasn't close to submission. I'm not sure what I'd have done had I got it, probably struggle to get my Phd finished!. I ended up applying for about 10 post docs before I was finally successful. I started about 3 weeks before my viva.
One thing that did happen was hr wouldn't pay me postdoc rates until I had my award letter. I did get the pay backdated to my viva date but it was a but annoying!


Quote From catalinbond:

One thing that did happen was hr wouldn't pay me postdoc rates until I had my award letter. I did get the pay backdated to my viva date but it was a but annoying!

Same, except they refused to upgrade me after I had been awarded the PhD. I was told this was at the whim of the supervisor and she was known to be tight. One of the many reasons I left the contract early. Loyalty and respect needs to go both ways. If they didn't value me as an employee, then why should I value them as an employer?


Hi, sorry for hijacking your post. I'm just trying to figure out at which point you are eligible for a postdoc grade salary if you start your postdoc before officially finishing your PhD. Is it after the Viva? Does it make a difference if corrections are needed?