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UMB Policies Regarding Fellows

Effective 6/1/98  

Payroll Titles

Effective 6/1/98, UMB uses four payroll titles for individuals in positions which (a) do not require enrollment in a campus academic program; (b) are not recognized as faculty positions, but are, with few exceptions, employee/trainee positions; and (c) often involve clinical or scientific support for work of the faculty. These titles are as follows:

  1. Post Doctoral Fellow
  2. Clinical Fellow
  3. Research Fellow
  4. Academic Fellow

1, 2, and 3 are employee/trainee titles. None of the titles is intended to be used for graduate students. In general, fellow titles are inappropriate for graduate students. In rare cases, title 4, Academic Fellow, may be used for a graduate student where the individual satisfies the requirements of paragraph 5 below.

Postdoctoral Fellow

This title is used for employee/trainees who hold the Ph.D. or M.D. degree and will be participating in research activities involving their training and scientific skills. Grant supported post doctoral fellowships are a typical example. (Appoint a Post Doctoral Fellow in the School of Medicine) 

Clinical Fellow

This title applies to employee/trainees who have a terminal degree in a health profession (e.g., the M.D., Ph.D., or D.D.S.); are participating in UMB training, specialty, or subspecialty programs; and are, in most instances, preparing for specialty board examinations. The program being pursued by the appointee may have either a clinical or a research emphasis. The Associate Dean, Graduate School ("Associate Dean"), after consultation with appropriate academic officers of the UMB schools, will decide whether a Clinical Fellow appointment may be used for an employee/trainee who is not preparing or a subspecialty examination.

The designation of Clinical Fellow also is used for employees of the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation. Medical System criteria for that title and UMB criteria for that title are not identical, so an individual having that payroll title in the Medical System may not be able to have the same title in the UMB payroll system in the event of a change in employer. (Appoint a Clinical Fellow in the School of Medicine) 

Research Fellow

This title is seldom used. It designates an employee/trainee who does not have a Ph.D. degree or a health profession degree. As an example, an individual with the M.S. degree who is not a doctoral student and not employed as a graduate assistant might be employed as a research fellow. Alternate, non-academic titles should be considered (e.g., research assistant). Appointments to this title require the prior approval of the Associate Dean. To appoint a Research Fellow in the School of Medicine please call the Office of Academic Administration at (410)706-2656 for further information.  

Academic Fellow

This title will be used for individuals in a very unique category. Persons in this category do not render specific services in consideration for their stipends. They may not be subject to some tax withholding requirements (see the Taxes and Benefits chart attached). They are not considered employee/trainees. Almost no personnel of UMB will be eligible for this category. Appointments to this title require the prior approval of the Associate Dean. (See Identification of Academic Fellows.) To appoint an Academic Fellow in the School of Medicine please call the Office of Academic Administration at (410) 706-2656 for further information.  

Taxes & Benefits

Post doctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and research fellows are employee/trainees. They are treated as employees of the University for purposes of federal taxation and state taxation, but not for all purposes. They are subject to income tax withholding and FICA withholding unless their incomes are exempted by tax treaty, Act of Congress applicable to a specific program, or for other reason. In other words, they are almost never exempted from taxation. Employee/trainees will be eligible for University health insurance options available to employees. The limitations related to funding sources will apply in the case of employee/trainees. For example, if they are contractual, they may be ineligible for state subsidies for health insurance. Employee/trainees will not be eligible to participate in the state retirement plan and will not be offered other University retirement plan options. Generally, benefits offered to permanent employees are not available to employee/trainees. (See Taxes and Benefits for further explanation.) 


For fellows in all four titles of the fellows series, appointments will be made in accordance with law and University policy. None of the four titles is associated with a permanent position. University rules pertaining to faculty hiring, searches and affirmative action approvals are not applicable to the titles. Note that the position, not the appointee, is exempted from hiring procedures. Should an individual in an employee/trainee or fellow position seek regular or contractual employment as a faculty member, or in any other employment category, normal search processes apply unless a waiver is granted, as provided in the applicable search policy.

Identification of Academic Fellows

Academic Fellows can be identified by answers to questions including the following, all of which must be answered in the negative for an appointee to be an Academic Fellow:

  1. Is the appointee expected to do work of benefit to UMB in consideration for compensation paid by UMB?
  2. Is the appointee's funding source a grant, contract or budget item requiring a deliverable product?
  3. Is the appointee given contractual terms stating work expectations, leave allowances, etc.?
  4. Is the appointee chosen on the basis of experience and ability to contribute to a UMB program?
  5. Is the appointee’s compensation set with reference to compensation paid to UMB employees of comparable experience with comparable responsibilities?

If these questions all are answered in the negative, it may be proposed to the Associate Dean that the individual be appointed as a Fellow. More detailed information may be explored by the Office of the Associate Dean and the appointing department before a final determination is made.