Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and Benefits


Memorial Sloan Kettering provides postdoctoral researchers with a highly competitive salary and benefits package with yearly increases. Minimum salary is guided by the postdoc’s corresponding title.

MSK has three postdoc titles: two for the early phase, Research Fellow, Research Scholar, and Research Associate for senior postdocs. Title is determined according to the funding source and seniority. Postdocs can hold a Fellow/Scholar/Associate title at MSK for up to 5 years, with an additional partial 6th year.

TitleEmployee ClassPostgraduate YearFunding SourcesMinimum Salary (3% yearly increases)*
Research FellowTrainee          (Max: 3 years)0-2Laboratory head or some external sources (extramural fellowships, training grants, and/or philanthropic funds)$61,150 (year 0)**
Research ScholarEmployee      (Max: 3 years)0-2Federal sources (salary could be supplemented with institutional and/or philanthropic funds)$70,000 (year 0)
Research AssociateEmployee       (Max: 4 years)3-6Laboratory head, some external sources (extramural agencies, institutional training grants, and/or philanthropic funds in full or part)$77,976 (year 3)

These salaries are effective on January 1st, 2024.

*This table is not intended to provide a complete description of benefits. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the above information is accurate, the legal documents that describe the postdoctoral classes will govern in the case of any discrepancy. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs hosts an orientation for incoming postdocs to fully explain compensation and benefits.

**Research Fellows’ and Research Scholars’ net pay is equivalent after taxes;  Research Scholars pay FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare); therefore their base salary is adjusted to account for the taxes.


All incoming postdocs PGY 0 through PGY4 have access to low-cost housing options for a period of four years. All postdoc housing is located in Roosevelt Island. At the end of MSK housing eligibility, we offer assistance in securing independent housing for postdocs.

To begin the housing assignment process, the administrator of the lab that is hosting you must submit a written request to the Housing Office at least three months in advance of your arrival. Assignments are made based on the following criteria: application date, apartment type, affordability, family size, overall apartment availability, and institutional priorities.

If you have questions about the housing services we offer postdoctoral researchers, please call Residential Services at 212-639-7696 or 212-639-7697.

Medical Benefits

All MSK postdocs receive full medical, dental, and vision coverage for themselves and any eligible dependents. For Research Fellows and Research Scholars, three medical plans are available; all insurance expenses are covered by MSK. For Research Associates, additional medical plan options exist; Research Associates contribute a fractional amount toward their coverage. 

Daycare Benefits

Postdocs with children under 4 may find a spot in an MSK-sponsored Bright Horizons Center on either Roosevelt Island or in Manhattan; selection process is based on a lottery system.

Additional Benefits for Research Scholars and Research Associates

Additional benefits available to Research Scholars include:

  • 403(b) plans
  • pre-tax commuter benefits

Research Associates receive the full MSK employee benefits package, including:

  • 403(b) plans
  • employer matching program
  • pre-tax commuter benefits
  • life insurance
  • long-term disability

Trainees also have access to the MSK Emergency Hardship Fund. This fund offers financial support to enrolled scientific trainees who are facing sudden and temporary financial challenges resulting from personal or family emergencies but cannot resolve these difficulties through alternative measures (fellowships, loans, or personal resources). We understand that such financial emergencies can add stress that negatively impacts academic progress. The MSK Emergency Hardship Fund aims to help scientific trainees experiencing such emergencies, alleviating the sudden burden and allowing them to return on track with their academic and scientific progress. 

Vacation and Sick Time

  • Research Fellows and Research Scholars are generally allowed two to four weeks of paid leave per year.
  • Research Associates are eligible for 20 vacation days and 12 federal holidays per year and may bank a combined total of 26 vacation days. Research Associates also accrue one sick day per month, for up to a maximum of 72 sick days.

Parental Leave

All postdocs can take up to twelve weeks of fully paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Research Scholars and Research Associates may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period due to certain medical and family circumstances. The NY State family leave policy overlaps with the MSK parental leave policy. 

Mental Health 

MSK postdocs have access to the following resources:

Magellan MSK’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP):  Magellan EAP offers free, confidential short-term counseling and supportive services 24/7/365 to postdocs or the members of their household. All MSK staff can utilize Magellan EAP services, you do not have to be enrolled in an MSK medical plan. Licensed counselors are available in person, by phone, or via a wide array of virtual therapy options to support you with:

  • Addressing mental health concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety, or grief
  • Coping with harmful thoughts, mood swings or trauma
  • Seeking treatment and support for alcohol or drug misuse
  • Developing better parenting and caregiving skills for children and elders
  • Handling everyday demands and major life transitions
  • Improving relationships and resolving conflicts
  • Managing stress at work and school

Magellan EAP also offers a wide array of on-demand resources including webinars, podcasts, and other self-help resources for topics such as cultivating resiliency, practicing self-care, managing work/life stressors, and more.

Onsite Counselor for MSK Trainees

Maintaining mental health is critical to optimal wellbeing, not to mention crucial for being able to focus in the lab and clinic. However, this aspect of health is often neglected. No doubt the trainee period is a high stress time in life, and MSK is committed to ensuring that postdocs have rapid access to high-quality services that support their mental and emotional wellbeing. To that end, postdocs have access to participate in 6 sessions with an onsite and/or virtual therapist who will provide free, confidential counseling services exclusively to MSK graduate students, postdocs, and GME fellows.

In addition, MSK postdocs are welcome to participate in other wellness activities lead by different groups including the Employee Health & Wellness Services, the Work Life Initiatives team and Employee Resources Networks.