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Getting Settled at Mizzou

The “Getting Started at Mizzou: New Postdoc Checklist” from the Office of Postdoctoral Education provides a checklist of important things to do: Upon Arrival; for International Scholars; Within First Three Months; and Within the First Year of your appointment at the University of Missouri.

Upon arrival:

  • Find housing. Visit the City of Columbia website for helpful information. You can begin looking even before you arrive.
  • Meet with your unit’s or school’s human resources contact who can guide you through new employee paperwork and training.
  • Enroll in benefits through Human Resources. You must enroll within the first 31 days of employment.
  • Apply for a parking permit for campus parking.
  • Visit DoIT to set up email and explore MU technology offerings.
  • Familiarize yourself with MU postdoctoral policies.
  • Complete or update compliance/IRB training and any other required training for your position.
  • Visit the Columbia Welcome webpage to set up a visit with a greeter and receive a complementary Columbia Welcome Basket.

International scholars

  • View the Pre-Arrival and After Arrival Checklists for J-1 Scholars. Upon arrival in Columbia, you must check in at the MU International Center. If you have an alternative/equivalent Visa, use this site as a guide and contact the International Center pertaining to what documents you will need to (1) apply for a social security card and (2) apply for a driver’s license.
  • Apply for a social security card. International students and scholars must wait two full weeks from their date of entry into the United States before applying for a Social Security card. You will need a Social Security Number (SSN) for a various purposes including insurance, rental applications, utilities, driver’s license, bank accounts etc.
  • Set up a bank account. Check if your bank at home has an affiliation with any in Columbia.
  • If applicable, apply for a driver’s license. Take all your relevant Visa documents with you to one of the Driver License & Vehicle Registrations Offices. You will need to complete a written, visual and road test to obtain a Missouri license.
  • If you want to schedule an appointment to assess your tax scenario, email the nonresident alien taxation specialist at

First three months:

  • Explore MU Postdoctoral Association social, professional development, leadership, and travel funding opportunities.
  • Sign up for your free NPA affiliate membership.
  • Complete self-assessment and Individual Development Plan (IDP) based on your career goals.
  • Review IDP with your faculty mentor(s).
  • Establish a meeting schedule with your faculty mentor(s).
  • Explore professional development opportunities with the Graduate School.

Within first year:

  • Set an annual review appointment with your faculty mentor(s) to review your updated IDP and CV/resume. It is recommended that annual review appointments occur at least 60-90 days prior to the end of your initial contract. Discuss your career goals and the possibility for renewal of your postdoctoral contract.
  • File your taxes. There are three forms of tax to be aware of: (1) Property tax (2) State tax and (3) Federal tax. Mizzou provides free taxation services for domestic and international (Nonresident Alien) scholars that will help file Federal taxes on campus. The others can be completed online.

The Office of Postdoctoral Education offers an hour-long Postdoc Welcome & Resources Overview presentation every month. You will get an invitation to your MU email address within a month of joining MU as a postdoc. However, please feel free to contact Dr. Valli Sarveswaran at if you want to be invited sooner.

  • Every odd month (e.g., January and March): First Thursday of the month from 12 to 1 pm
  • Every even month (e.g., February and April): First Tuesday of the month from 3 to 4 pm

Postdoctoral fellows should also check with their department to see if there is an orientation session you should attend in your College/Division for your discipline. Various orientation events are held throughout the year in divisions/colleges across campus.

In addition, there are some campus events to help welcome new postdoctoral fellows to campus. Postdoctoral fellows can attend Postdoctoral Appreciation Week events in September, and MU Postdoctoral Association meet-n-greets throughout the year.

The University of Missouri Postdoctoral Handbook provides an overview of life as a postdoc on our campus. Information on where to find policies, procedures, and resources related to postdoctoral life is included.

MU Postdoc Handbook