University Teacher (HE)

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Job Description

University Teachers teach students at 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. University Teachers divide their time between classroom hours and preparing for teaching or meeting students privately.


  • 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

Salary and Conditions

Starting salary usually c. £18,000-£30,000 in the UK on a pro-rata basis.

Many university teacher-level staff are employed on part-time or temporary contracts.

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 University Teachers will already have their PhD, although some will be in the final stages of completing one. They will have a very good bachelor’s degree: a first or upper second class. Some University Teachers have a separate masters degree, especially in the humanities fields. Very rarely a University Teacher with personal vocational experience will be taken on without a PhD.

Career Path

A University Teacher post is usually a short term contract so can be seen as a stepping stone towards a permanent job or even part of a portfolio career. It is a useful job for those wishing to gain experience of working at different institutions.

To increase chances of being taken on in a full time post University Teachers are advised to be research active, publishing their work in journals and books and attending conferences, and being innovative in their teaching practice.

Major employers

HE 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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Case Studies:

Just Higher-ed

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