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 important that the assessments for basic qualifications be made as soon as possible because individuals will not appear in a report of the Applicant Pool unless they have a complete application and meet the qualifications. Review and approval of the Applicant Pool can be slowed down if assessments are not done as individuals apply.

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, for senate faculty positions that are either open rank or at the assistant professor level without the assumption of postdoctoral experience, allow for the fact that nearly all applicants will be working on the doctorate at the time they apply for the job, with the intention of receiving it prior to beginning the job. If a statement such as: “The basic qualification for applicants is the receipt of PhD or equivalent by application date,” applicants who are currently finishing up a PhD will not be able to meet the requirement at the time you are assessing them for the basic qualifications.

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. In some disciplines a Bachelor’s degree is a satisfactory minimum threshold, but in others is not an assumption and shouldn’t be a requirement to apply for a faculty position. 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 PhD or equivalent 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 for an assistant professor position in the arts and humanities. Many desired applicants will be working on their dissertation at the time they apply.
  • Not considering individuals who have tenure at another institution for an assistant professor position. Do not make assumptions about why an individual may want to give up tenure to come to Berkeley as an assistant professor. Ensure that evaluation and selection criteria are explicit enough to know how to evaluate such candidates.
  • Requiring tenure by the start date for an associate professor position. There may be some assistant professors nearing tenure who would be blocked from the position if they must have tenure in hand from another institution at the time they start at Berkeley. 
  • 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 (for example, requiring letters of recommendation for candidates holding senior faculty positions).


  • 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 an assistant professor in a particular sub-discipline, but the advertisement is worded as if the focus is more broad, the applicant pool may consist of many people who are of Berkeley quality, but not for the approved search area.