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General Information Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars/Fellows

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Please see your departmental contact person to assist you in processing these forms.



Your department will set the guidelines regarding the issuance of keys.  You are solely responsible for your keys.  There is a fee for all replacement keys. Please remember to keep your office locked at all times when you are away. 

US Bank Account

If you are receiving funding from Penn State, your paycheck will be directly deposited into a bank account on the last working day of the month.  You must have a US checking or savings account for this to be done.  You will need to complete a salary deposit form (see your departmental contact person) and attach either a voided check (a blank, unsigned check, with checking account number on it, and "VOID" written on it) or a savings deposit slip to the salary deposit form.  Please return this paperwork to your departmental contact person.

The Penn State Federal Credit Union has an office located in suite 102 of the HUB-Robeson Center.  You may open a checking and/or savings account at this location. You must have a social security number to open an account.  There is a PNC  customer service center in suite 103 of the HUB-Robeson Center. Your Penn State ID+ card can be used at a PNC ATM card if you sign up for the service. There are several Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) on campus representing several different banks.  These ATMs are located on the lower level of the HUB-Robeson Center.  You can get an ATM card when opening a checking and/or saving account.

For a complete listing of banks in State College, please see the Yellow Pages in the local phone directory.

Computer Account

You may request an Access Account from the Information Technology Services account office (ITS).  The user ID and password assigned to you will enable you to connect to the ITS information server in order to use electronic mail and Internet services.  You will need to complete an Access Account Application form to obtain this computer account.  Please see your departmental contact person to obtain the Access Account Application form.

After your application has been approved by your department, you may forward the completed form to the Computer Accounts Office at 230 Computer Building.  To obtain your Access Account user ID and password, please allow three business days for processing.  You may then present your photo ID to ITS staff at the Computer Accounts office located at 230 Computer Building.

Your department may also require you to obtain a departmental computer account.  Please see your departmental contact person for more information regarding this.

Payroll Paperwork/Taxes

If you are receiving funding from Penn State, you will need to complete an Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate W-4 form (obtain from your departmental contact person).  This must be completed even if you qualify for certain tax exemptions.  You will also need to obtain a social security card.  The Social Security Office is located at 901 University Drive, Suite 2, telephone (238-5035).

Because of the complexity of US tax laws and because these laws vary from one individual to another, please see the following IRS web site.


You may also contact the Penn State Payroll Office at (865-7621) or see their web site at: http://guru.psu.edu/central/index.cfm.  Click on Payroll.  Feel free to contact the Payroll Office (865-7621) for further information regarding taxes.

If you qualify for certain tax exemptions, please stop by the Penn State Payroll Office located at 307 Rider Building, 120 South Burrowes Street. 


Penn State Identification Card (This is also your Library Card).

To obtain your Penn State ID Plus Card, your departmental contact person will give you an application form.  You need to take this form to the ID Plus Office located at 103 HUB-Robeson Center.  Please take a photo ID (passport, driver's license) with you.  Your photograph will be taken and placed on this card along with an ID number.

You may use this card to check books out of the University Libraries.  The main University Libraries are called Pattee and Paterno Library.  Please see your campus map for exact locations.  Individual departments may also have their own library.  Please see your departmental contact person for more information on departmental libraries.

This card can also be used for identification purposes at the University.  For example, you can present this card when using the University gym facilities.  You may also link your identification card with your bank account; see www.idcard.psu.edu for further information.


Health Insurance

If you are a postdoctoral scholar/fellow, you can enroll in the University's health insurance program regardless of whether or not you are receiving funding from Penn State.  The health insurance premiums will be automatically deducted from your paycheck.  The premiums offered through the University are at a much lower rate than what you would pay outside of Penn State.

Most postdoctoral scholars/fellows find that the insurance offered at Penn State is sufficient coverage for themselves and their eligible spouses/children.  It is also the least expensive.

Your departmental contact person will provide you with the information necessary to enroll in benefits. You will be eligible for benefits provided that you enroll within 31 days of your first day of employment. Enrollment for benefits is done through ESSIC at https://essic.ohr.psu.edu/essic/index.cfm . Several weeks after you have enrolled, you should receive an insurance card in the mail.  If you do not receive this card within four weeks of enrolling, please contact Employee Benefits (865-1473).

If you would like additional information regarding your health insurance options, please refer to the Post Doctoral website at http://www.postdoctoral.psu.edu.  The monthly cost of your benefits will be automatically deducted from your paychecks unless you have an adjunct appointment.  If you have an adjunct appointment, you will need to pay for your insurance in full at the time your adjunct appointment is processed.

For more complete information about postdoc benefits please visit: https://elements.science.psu.edu/faculty-staff/postdoctoral-information/postdoc-benefit-information

Please note that as a postdoctoral scholar you do not

qualify for the benefits provided by the Family Medical Leave Act, but Penn State has expressed guidelines for New Parent Accommodation for Post Doctoral Trainees. More information is available at: http://forms.gradsch.psu.edu/current/newparentaccomodationguideline.pdf


Eating on Campus

 Web Address

The HUB-Robeson Center


The Creamery at 119 Food Science Building


Blue Chip Bistro in the business building


au bon pain at Otto's in Kern Graduate Building


au bon pain at Reese’s Café in the IST building


au bon pain at Zoller Gallery in the Visual Arts Building


Cafe Laura at 101 Mateer Building


The Nittany Lion Inn on Park Avenue


For a complete guide to State College restaurants please see: https://www.statecollege.com/dining/


Vehicle:  For information on obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver's License, please contact the PA Department of Transportation in Pleasant Gap, PA, telephone (814) 355-6033.  Licensing/Notary services are available at Tri-County Tag Service located at 1376 East College Avenue, telephone (814) 237-2957.

If you own a vehicle, you will need to obtain a parking permit to park it on campus.  If you are a postdoctoral scholar or a visiting faculty member, you will need to go to the Parking Office in the Eisenhower Parking Deck.  Visiting faculty members may go to the Facilities Office in 510 Thomas Building to obtain a parking pass.  You will need to have your driver's license, license plate number and make and model of vehicle(s) you plan to drive on campus.

Bikes:  All bikes must be registered.  This can be done at any Kiosk center located around campus.  The closest one is located at the Eisenhower Auditorium.

Bus:  Please see the Centre Area Transit Authority (CATA) bus schedule included in your Welcome Packet or check out the Centre Area Transit Authority's web site: http://catabus.com/.  For further information on mass transit passes or to obtain a mass transit pass, please contact the Parking Office at the Eisenhower Deck, 865-1436 or 865-1437.

Walking:  Maps that show distance and time for walking around campus have been included in your Welcome Packet.  For a complete listing of campus maps, please see the following URL:  http://www.geog.psu.edu/gouldcenter/campus_maps.html.


ALL travel arrangements which will be paid for by University funds MUST be made through your department.  There are several travel agencies in town that are Penn State Contract Travel Agents.  These agents are authorized by the University to direct-bill travel expenses.  You MUST use one of these certified agents if you are seeking reimbursement from University funds.  For a complete listing of certified University travel agents, please see your departmental contact person or see PSU's Travel Services web site at http://www.travel.psu.edu/.  The airport destination code for the airport in State College is SCE.

After making the travel reservation, you must request that the travel agent fax to your departmental contact person a copy of the itinerary.  The departmental contact person will then prepare the direct bill form.  The tickets will be delivered to your office address unless they are electronic tickets.  While traveling, please keep all ORIGINAL receipts for those expenses for which you will seek reimbursement.  You must give the ORIGINAL air passenger receipt to your departmental contact person, even though it is being directly billed.  They will then processs a travel expense form for your reimbursement.

Please remember when making reservations that there is sometimes a charge for changing a reservation.  If you are unsure about making travel arrangements, please feel free to let your departmental contact person know well in advance of your scheduled departure date, and they will be happy to assist you.

If you are a nonresident of the United States, it is essential that you contact International Scholars and Faculty Visa Services (ISFVS) at Penn State (865-0423) before traveling outside the US.



There is a post office on campus located beside the HUB-Robeson Center, which is the student union.  You can purchase stamps and mail large parcels there.  The main branch of the State College Post Office is located at 237 South Fraser Street.  Tax forms for preparing annual tax returns can also be obtained at this location.

If you have a letter or parcel which needs to be express mailed, please check with your departmental contact person for the fastest, most cost-efficient method of mailing.



Individuals are encouraged to obtain calling cards for use in making personal toll calls from University locations.  However, if it is an emergency and you must make a personal toll phone call, you are expected to reimburse the University for the charge incurred.

Your departmental/laboratory supervisor will set the guidelines for the use of phones in your area.  Phones may be restricted in their use to local calls only in some departments.  Some departments may prohibit long-distance calls within the US or international calls.

To place a phone call on campus, you need to dial only the last five digits of the number.  Example:  If the phone number is 863-0000, you need to dial 3-0000.

To place a local phone call off campus, dial 8 to get an outside line and then the seven digit number.  Example:  If the phone number is (814) 867-0000, you need to dial 8-867-0000.  The area code for the State College area is 814.  You do not need to dial the area code before the seven digit number if the area code is 814.

To place a long distance phone call off campus to anywhere in Canada or the US, you need to dial 8, 1, the area code and the number.  Example:  If the phone number is (123) 456-7890, you need to dial 8-1-123-456-7890.

To place international phone calls, you need to dial 8, and then 011 (the international access code) and the number.  Example:  If the phone number is 12 12345678, you need to dial 8-011-12-12345678.

Please remember that you dial the "8" only when you are on campus.  You do not need to use it when making calls from your home.

EMERGENCY number for Police, Ambulance and Fire is 911 for on-campus and off-campus locations.  When dialing 911 on campus, you do not need to dial the "8" before the three-digit number


Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Sometimes the hardest part of facing life's challenges is knowing where to turn for help.  This is what the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Penn State is for.  Please feel free to contact EAP when a life situation regarding work or your personal life affects your well-being.  EAP can be reached by contacting 1-800-749-1735.  All EAP inquiries are treated with the strictest of confidence. More information is available at http://ohr.psu.edu/health-matters/employee-assistance-program/

Public Library

Schlow Memorial Library is the public library in State College located at 100 East Beaver Avenue, telephone (237-6236).  You need to apply for a library card at Schlow Memorial Library in order to check books out.  You cannot use your Penn State ID card.  Tax forms for preparing annual tax returns can be obtained at this location.

Penn State Recycles

Penn State has a comprehensive recycling and composting program called möbius. There are areas on campus to recycle paper, plastic, glass, metal, and polystyrene. There are also several areas on campus to compost, with plans for more in the future. For more information please visit: http://sustainability.psu.edu/mobius/recycle

If you have any questions, please contact the Penn State Recycling Hotline at (865-8000).  Thanks for your cooperation!



Whether you're trying to get a Pennsylvania driver's license, a long-distance phone calling card, or having problems with a landlord, these numbers are sure to make life a little easier for you.  Help is only a phone call away.  If you're looking for a number that is not listed below, please contact your departmental contact person.

Phone Utilities

Phone Number

AT&T Long Distance

(800) 222-0300

MCI Long Distance

(800) 950-5555

North American Communications

(814) 237-4480

Sprint Long Distance

(800) 877-4646

Driving & Transportation

Transportation Provider
 Phone Number

Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA Buses)

(814) 238-2282

PA Driver Exam Center

(814) 355-6033

PA Photo License Center

(814) 355-4731

PA Motor Vehicle Information


Penn State Parking Office

(814) 865-1436

Eberly College of Science Facilities Office 

(814) 863-4502

State College Borough Parking

(814) 234-7131


Helpful Penn State Resources

Campus Phone Information

(814) 865-4700

Department of Town Affairs

(814) 865-6851

HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk

(814) 865-2000

International Hospitality Council

(814) 863-3927

Office of International Programs

(814) 865-2385

Eberly College of Science Office of Human Resources

(814) 863-6216

Payroll/Tax Office

(814) 865-7621

Foreign National Office

(814) 865-0423

Legal and Emergency Numbers

All Emergencies (police, fire, ambulance)


Keystone Legal Services

(814) 238-4958

Penn State Escort Services

(814) 865-9255

Penn State Police Services

(814) 863-1111

State College Police (non-emergency)

(814) 234-7150

University Health Services

(814) 865-6556

Women's Resource Center 24-Hour Hotline

(814) 234-5050


You are part of a very diverse population at Penn State.

Approximately 80,787 students are enrolled (41,050 enrolled at University Park); the balance are enrolled at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State Harrisburg , or one of the 24 other Penn State campus locations.

Over 2,800 international students from 118 countries are enrolled at Penn State.

Penn State University Park Campus is located in the town of State College.  It is in a predominantly rural, agricultural setting.  The community of State College itself has a non-University population of 29,000.

Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, is a 4-5 hour drive to the southeast.  New York City is about a 5-6 hour drive to the northeast.  The two largest cities in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia to the east and Pittsburgh to the west, are each about a 3-4 hour drive from University Park.


State College Weather

The Pennsylvania climate is typical of a temperate zone, with marked seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation.  Within each season, the weather may be quite changeable.

Fall:  (mid-September through mid-November) days are often warm and sunny; nights are cool; temperatures are from 60F (15 celcius) in the daytime, down to 32F (0 celcius) at night.

Winter:  (December through March) continuous cold weather with an occasional warmer day; temperatures of about 32F to below 0F (0 to -20 celcius); snow, sometimes deep, is possible anytime.

Spring:  (April through May) increasing warm, sunny days.  Temperatures can reach 60F (15 celcius).

Summer:  (June to mid-September) temperatures average from 70-90F (25-35 celcius)


Setting Up House

Check the local newspaper (Centre Daily Times - "CDT", http://www.centredaily.com/) and the University newspaper (The Collegian-http://www.collegian.psu.edu/) and also be sure to see the State College realty web site which lists rental properties at http://www.statecollege.com/realestate/

Collect all the information that you can; you will then be on your own to find housing that suits your individual needs.

Make sure that you make the necessary arrangements to have your utilities connected.  Also remember that you may need to make arrangements to have the utilities disconnected when you move out.  Please check the guidelines stipulated on the lease and with the property manager in this regard.


(All Emergencies)
Bellefonte/State College and nearby communities
Ambulance                            Fire                                        Police
Or Dial "0" (Operator) - Voice Only

Stay on the line.  Give the Operator the street and community where help is needed.


Public Utilities for the State College Area


West Penn Power Company

(800) 255-3443


Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania

(800) 250-9182


Verizon (Residential)

(800) 660-7111


State College Water Authority

(814) 238-6766

TV Cable


(814) 238-3096


Below are a few places to start looking for furniture.  


Phone Number / Web Address


373 Benner Pike



1665 North Atherton Place



315 Colonnade Blvd.


Furniture Exchange

522 East College Avenue


Room Doctor

Wolf Furniture

1199 East College Avenue

138 Valley Vista Dr.



Goodwill Industries

Westerly Parkway Plaza


PSU Salvage/Surplus

Bigler Road Extension


Centre Daily Times

State College Newspaper
Look in Classified Section under





Food Markets/Grocery Stores

Giant Food Stores, Inc. (Two Locations)

255 Northland Center (North Atherton Street)

Nittany Commons Shopping Center (College Avenue)

Weis Market (Three Locations)

Westerly Parkway

1471 Martin Street

110 Rolling Ridge Drive (beside Hills Plaza)

The International Market

328 South Allen Street

Nature’s Pantry

2331 Commercial Blvd

Trader Joe’s

243 Patriot Lane

Wegman's Market

Lowe's Boulevard (off North Atherton Street)

Far Corners Oriental Grocery Store

1101 N Atherton St

McLanahans Market

116 S. Allen St.

Krishnan Indian Grocery Store

230A West College Avenue

Cheese Shoppe

234 Calder Way

The Granary

2766 West College Avenue

North Atherton Farmer’s Market (May through November

Home Depot Parking Lot, N. Atherton St.

(Saturdays 10am-2pm)

Boalsburg Farmer’s Market (year round Tuesdays 2pm-6pm)

Winter (Nov-April) St. John’s United Church of Christ, 218 N Church St. Boalsburg, PA

Summer (May-November) PA Military Museum Parking Lot, Rte 322 Boalsburg, PA

Outdoor Farmer's Market (May through November

Locust Lane (Fridays 11:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Community Supported Agriculture

There are several local farms that offer the opportunity to purchase farm shares. This allows an individual or family to pay for a share of what is produced by the farm, and normally receive that share on a weekly basis. It is a great way to have continuous access to healthy locally grown fruits and vegetables. For an updated list of available CSAs please visit: http://localbounty.org/c/statecollege/csa

Department Store

Nittany Mall (Sears, Macys, JCPenney)

East College Avenue

Wal-Mart (Two Locations)

373 Benner Pike (across from Nittany Mall)

1665 North Atherton Place (Super Center)

Big Lots (Discount Department Store)

503 Benner Pike (across from Nittany Mall)


315 Lowe's Boulevard (off N. Atherton Street)


275a Lowes Blvd

Specialty Stores
Mattress World 1356 East College Avenue


Barnes & Noble 365 Benner Pike (across from Nittany Mall)
Penn State Bookstore On Campus (beside HUB-Robeson Center)
Student Book Store 330 East College Avenue
Webster's Bookstore Cafe 128 South Allen Street




Barnes & Noble

365 Benner Pike (across from Nittany Mall)

Saint's Cafe

123 West Beaver Avenue

Cheese Shoppe

234 Calder Way

Starbuck's Cafe

232 West College Ave.

2030 N Atherton St

141 S. Garner St

Callao Café and Market

434 W Aaron Dr #201

Webster's Bookstore Cafe

133 E. Beaver Ave



Life in the University Community

Penn State is located in one of the friendliest towns in the Northeast.  The University and the adjacent community of State College are situated in Happy Valley, 1,200 feet above sea level, nestled among the scenic forest ridges of the Appalachians.  The campus, known as University Park, and State College provide an exceptional combination of cultural offerings and research facilities; the area is noted throughout the East for its excellent outdoor recreational opportunities.

State College is a modern community with a population of seventy thousand.  The University and the State College community offer cultural advantages ordinarily found in large metropolitan centers.  The University sponsors an excellent performing arts series, which presents distinguished musicians, nationally known symphony and chamber orchestras, ballet performances, plays and movies.  Various groups sponsor noted entertainers on campus; University orchestras, choirs, and other groups give regular performances; and many art exhibits are held throughout the year.  The week-long Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, which attracts craftspeople and performers from around the country, is held in State College each July.  The cities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., are within reasonable driving distance (approximately four hours), and are served by nonstop flights from the modern University Park airport.

Moviegoers can choose from among films shown in several town or on-campus theatres.  For live theatre, the University Resident Theatre Company is active during the academic year, while Pennsylvania Centre Stage features professional actors during the summer.  A theatre (housed in a remodeled barn) in nearby Boalsburg presents amateur performances for two months each summer.

Penn State, which is one of the Big Ten Universities, is well known for its outstanding athletic program.  Sports events ranging from football, wrestling, gymnastics, and basketball to lacrosse, field hockey and fencing provide year-round entertainment.

The opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities in the area are plentiful.  Facilities for active sports enthusiasts include many miles of scenic trails for jogging, biking and cross-country skiing.  The famous Appalachian Trail is only an hour-and-a-half's drive from University Park Campus.

Numerous indoor and outdoor tennis courts, as well as handball and squash courts, are available on campus.  Several exercise clubs and health facilities are located on campus and in State College.  Adjacent to the campuses are the University's two eighteen-hole public golf courses, and three other private courses are located nearby.  Swimming facilites on campus include a natatorium for indoor swimming and an outdoor olympic-sized pool.  State College has two outdoor pools, and many of the larger apartment complexes have pools.

The area surrounding the University is also rich with opportunities for outdoor recreation.  A University-administered park and eight state parks are situated in the forested ridges and valleys within an hour's drive of the University.  These offer excellent swimming, hiking, climbing, cave exploration, camping, picnicking, sailing, canoeing, and fishing.  A ski area is located on the edge of town, and several major ski areas are within a two- or three-hour drive from campus.


Would you like to explore State College?

The Short Hiker is a guide book that takes the reader on a tour of short hikes and nature walks in the middle of Penn's Woods.  The 1-5 mile trails are all within 50 miles of State College (less than a one-hour drive, no more than three hours walking time).  You can purchase this book at most of the local bookstores.  The Short Hiker by Jean Aron.

For more information on exploring Central Pennsylvania, especially local food, you can reference Going Local by Ken Hull.

Smoking is prohibited in all University facilities.

It is the intent of the Smoking Policy to promote a more healthful environment for all members of the Penn State University community at all locations and to protect the health of nonsmokers.  Thank you for your cooperation.


Mission Statement

Provide outstanding service to faculty, staff, and students in the Eberly College of Science to assist them in their drive toward excellence in research, education, and service.


  • Outstanding customer service
  • Outstanding job performance
  • Continuous improvement in all activities
  • Teamwork
  • Individual professional development
  • Individual creativity and innovation
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Sensitivity and commitment to diversity
  • Fiscal responsibility


Dual Career Situations

People who come to work and learn at Penn State often arrive as a member of a team, and finding a suitable job for a spouse or partner can be challenging.  While Penn State cannot place the spouse or partner into a position, we can provide assistance by circulating the resume or c.v., by helping the individual find positions that appear to be a good match, and by answering questions that may arise during the search process.


Please note that individuals in H4 visa status are not eligible to be employed, although it may be possible to obtain a work visa for an individual with appropriate academic credentials and with an offer of an academic position.  Obtaining a visa takes time, however, so that this is not a quick option.  There may also be limitations for those on other types of visas, so it’s a good idea to ask before you start the job search.

You can begin the process by getting in touch with the Eberly College of Science Human Resources Office (Amanda Jones, Human Resources Representative at 863-0212 or axj11@psu.edu).



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