Senior Lecturer (HE)

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Job Description

Senior Lecturers teach students at further or higher education institutions, usually between the ages of 18-80. Teaching usually takes place during the day between 9am and 6pm although some lecturers are also required to teach in the evenings. Senior lecturers divide their time between classroom hours and preparing for teaching or meeting students privately. The job may also involve some research activities if based in a higher education establishment, including presenting research findings at conferences worldwide. Senior lecturers are also required to seek external funding for their research activities to enhance the prestige of their institution. Senior lecturers will be expected to take part in the strategic planning and decision making for their department. In some cases they will do less first year undergraduate teaching and focus more on teaching senior undergraduates and postgraduates.


  • Delivering large group lectures to between 20 and 200 students
  • Delivering small group teaching to between 1 and 20 students
  • Pastoral care of students
  • One to one advice on particular pieces of work
  • Course design
  • Lecture/seminar planning
  • Marking assessed work
  • Keeping student records of achievement
  • Attending planning meetings to ensure cross departmental parity
  • Undertaking research projects
  • Presenting research at conferences
  • Administration tasks (e.g. admissions tutor) within the department

Salary and Conditions

Starting salary is usually c. £39,000-£48,000+ in the UK. Most senior lectureships are permanent positions. Most are full time, although part time posts and job shares are occasionally available.

Permanent staff can opt into a final salary pension scheme (Teachers Pension Scheme). Sick pay allowance varies from institution to institution but is often more generous than the private sector. Maternity and paternity leave also vary from institution to institution.

Staff can join the University and College Union.

Entry Criteria

Most senior lecturers will have a PhD. They will have a very good bachelor’s degree: a first or upper second class. Some senior lecturers have a separate masters degree, especially in the humanities fields. Very rarely a senior lecturer with personal vocational experience will be taken on without a PhD.

Senior lecturers are expected to do take part in Continuing Professional Development activities throughout their career, run by their own university. This is done part time while working.

Career Path

There are steady annual salary increments in most jobs. After c. 5-7 years a senior lecturer is usually eligible for promotion, although this can be sought earlier in special cases. The next scale is principal lecturer (not in all institutions), reader and professor.

To increase promotion chances senior lecturers are advised to produce internationally renowned research, publishing their work in reputable journals and books and attending conferences, and being innovative in their teaching practice.

Major employers

HE senior lecturers are mostly employed in publicly funded universities or HE colleges. There are many different sorts of these in the UK. Oxford and Cambridge are the most prestigious, followed by research-based institutions such as the Russell Group. The post-1992 group of universities, which used to be Polytechnics, are also large employers of lecturers. There is one private university in the UK, based in Buckingham. Every large town or city in the UK now has its own university.

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