The OFCCP requires that basic/minimum requirements be established and listed for all academic positions. These requirements must be met at the time of application and are necessary for consideration as an applicant for the position. The requirements are the minimum threshold for applicants. 

Each individual who applies for an academic position will be considered “unknown” until assessed by the Analyst or Chair for meeting the requirements. The assessment will move the individual to the “qualified” or “unqualified” group. Only those individuals who meet the basic qualifications will be considered applicants according to the federal government. Individuals with incomplete applications should remain in the “unknown”category and should not be assessed for the basic qualifications.

It is best practice to review applicants for the basic qualifications as soon as they apply because they cannot be considered further if they do not.

Basic, additional and preferred qualifications are those that are:

  • Non-Comparative (e.g., three years’ experience in a particular position, rather than a comparative requirement such as “must have the most years’ experience, among all candidates”) 
  • Objective (e.g., a Doctoral degree or equivalent in Molecular Biology or a related field, but not “a technical degree from a good school”) 
  • Relevant to the performance of the particular position 
  • Verifiable by evidence or statements in the applicant’s submitted materials

Additional qualifications are requirements that must be met by the start date of the position. Preferred qualifications are those that are preferred but not required.

For many positions an appropriate basic qualification is a PhD or equivalent by the application deadline date. However, some positions allow for the fact that many applicants will be working on the doctorate at the time they apply for the job, with the intention of receiving it prior to the start date.

There is no set recommendation to make about a “safe” minimum degree or type of expertise that will work in all cases for the basic qualifications. In some disciplines a Master’s degree is achieved during a doctoral program and could be appropriate, but not in others. For some positions a Bachelor’s degree is a satisfactory minimum threshold. In many cases an appropriate basic qualification could be, “The minimum qualification required to be considered an applicant for the position is the completion of all Ph.D. degree requirements except the dissertation at the time of application.”

Finding the “sweet spot” for application requirements to create a pool that has the desired depth and breadth.

It is important to carefully consider the application requirements for a particular position. Some requirements may inadvertently leave out individuals who would have been excellent candidates, while others may be so inclusive as to encourage an unwieldy number of applicants who meet the stated qualifications but are not above the bar for Berkeley standards. Examples include:


  • Requiring a PhD or equivalent at the time of application when many desired applicants will be working on their dissertation at the time they apply.
  • Creating more application requirements than are necessary to carefully evaluate each candidate.
  • Requiring materials that an individual at a certain career stage would not be likely to provide or that would require significant effort to provide.


  • Requiring only a Master’s degree or equivalent at the time of application for a position where a PhD is clearly needed for the job.
  • Specifying the job field more widely than intended so that individuals apply who will clearly not meet the goals of the search. For example, if the search is for a postdoctoral scholar in a field where a high level of very specialized skills are required, but the advertisement is worded to appear as if the area of focus is more broad, the applicant pool may consist of many people who are qualified to be postdoctoral scholars at Berkeley, but not to work on the specific project.

Sample additional qualifications that are problematic:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills 
  • Strong presentation skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Excellent analytical, organizational and problem solving skills

Terms such as "excellent, strong and good" cannot be objectively evaluated. Instead units can use other objective terms like "demonstrated.”  

Sample additional qualifications that are objective, noncomparable, relevant, and verifiable (assessed either through submitted materials or during interview):

  • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills 
  • Evidence of presentation skills (e.g., experience giving talks at conferences)
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills 
  • Analytical, organizational and problem solving skills

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