Skip to main content
Panoramic photo of South Building on UNCʼs campus, Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

Getting Started as a Postdoc

Welcome to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs hosts an orientation quarterly to help familiarize new postdocs with the programs and services available to them. New postdocs are required to attend a mandatory orientation within the first ninety days of their start date (see below). Here are some helpful tips and resources to get you started in the right direction. To assist in your search for housing in the Chapel Hill area, please refer to this list of housing resources. For details regarding policies and health insurance, please visit the Policies & Benefits section of our website.

Upon Your Arrival

First, contact your department’s HR Facilitator (sometimes the department Office Manager) to complete the necessary paperwork including payroll and health insurance forms. If you are not sure who your HR Facilitator is, you can visit your department’s website, ask your PI, or contact

International fellows are required to check-in with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services here on campus. Every international student and scholar joining UNC-Chapel Hill is required to check-in before classes or employment begins. In order to complete a “check-in” a scholar should bring with them the following documents: passport, visa document (I-20 or DS-2019), and I-94 (Admission/Departure card). At this time, a scholar will be asked to fill out the PR-100 (Information Form), and copies of their documents will be made. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) staff can assist scholars with any questions or concerns that they might have at this time. For more information visit the ISSS website or call (919) 962-4282.

Check Benefits Enrollment

  • Confirm with your department that your hire action was fully completed in the HR system, ConnectCarolina.
  • Once your hire action is completed, on or after your start date, you should login to ConnectCarolina > Self Service > Personal Information > Addresses and ensure that you have a domestic (US) address on file for your home address. You can edit this address, if needed.
  • Within 5-10 days after your hire date you will be able to login to the BCBS portal, using your UNC email to get a one-time passcode. Here, you can ensure that your address and other contact information is correct, and update if needed. This BCBS portal is where you would confirm your enrollment status in the UNC Postdoc Health Plan. This is also where you would enroll any dependents within your first 30 days, if desired. Dependent coverage is also effective on the first of the month after the hire date. There is a Student Blue Dashboard Guide on the Medical Plan and Campus Health Plan page to help you navigate this process. Please note that postdocs cannot enroll or view enrollment in Medical/Dental/Vision coverage via the Benefits tile in ConnectCarolina (this is for permanent employees only).
  • Postdocs are automatically enrolled in the Postdoc Health Plan effective the first of the month after their hire date. You should receive an ID card mailed to that address within the first week of that month, but you can also get a digital card from Student Blue (BCBS) if needed urgently.
  • Postdocs (and spouses, if you are covering them) also get access to visit Campus Health on the first of the month after your hire date. Before your first visit to Campus Health, postdocs should complete the Campus Health Services packet and turn it in either in person or via mail (including campus mail).

New Postdoc Orientation

New Postdoc Orientation takes place virtually every two months. In the two-hour session, postdocs will be introduced to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Campus Resources, Postdoctoral Policies, Compensation & Benefits, Postdoc Medical Insurance Plan, Campus Health Services, and more.

Orientations will take place from 10AM-12PM on the following dates in 2024*:

*Registration links coming soon.

Join the UNC Postdoc listserv!

To receive campus-wide announcements about events, news, and information relevant to the postdoctoral community send a request to with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to join the UNC Postdoc listserv.

Finding Housing

The UNC Postdoctoral Association conducted a Housing Survey of UNC postdocs in Fall 2022. Based on 189 responses, 49% of respondents lived in Chapel Hill, 21% in Durham, and 19% in Carrboro. 66% of respondents are living in apartment complexes; a map showing each apartment complex listed in the survey can be found here, along with information about utilities and rent prices. The majority of respondents reported that they spent between $1000-1500 in monthly rent. More information can be found here.

Graphic: two pie charts. First pie chart: Chapel Hill 49%, Carrboro 19%, Durham 21%, Raleigh 2%, Other 9%. Second pie chart: Apartment 66%, House 34%, Condo 0.5%.