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This section contains advice and guidance on your own training and development, expectations and gaining teaching experience


The MPLS Division recognises that graduate students may benefit in a variety of ways from carrying out some undergraduate teaching, provided that it does not conflict with work for the graduate degree.

Teaching will provide the opportunity to develop useful skills. The most useful type of teaching, from this perspective, involves student contact through involvement in class or tutorial teaching or laboratory demonstrating. However, teaching is potentially very time consuming and can significantly interfere with the progress of a research project. The arbiter of this is the supervisor and, if consulted by either the student or supervisor, the Director of Graduate Studies. Any proposal to take on a significant amount of teaching, for either a College or Department, should be discussed with your supervisor in advance. The supervisor should be able to request that the arrangement should cease, if in their judgement it is interfering significantly with research progress.

Guidelines on the amount of teaching undertaken

The MPLS Division recommends a guideline of 120 hours' work overall in any year, to balance the desirable development of teaching skills against the potential impact on research progress. For tutorial or class teaching it is recognised that each hour spent in contact is likely to involve (for a graduate student) at least two hours of preparation and marking and it is therefore recommended that no more than 40 contact hours should be arranged. For demonstrating or marking, no more than 120 hours should be undertaken.

Training to support teaching

Graduate students in the MPLS Division must attend an appropriate teaching skills training course, before undertaking any teaching activity, which also carries an additional time demand. The Division and Departments organise and advertise this training, and in some departments it is compulsory for all students. Please see the divisional webpages on Training in teaching skills for further information. The Division specifies a guide to the number of hours a student should teach annually in order to allow flexibility for substantial involvement in a particular course for a limited amount of time. It is recognised that students may be departmentally funded (in lieu of a research council or other grant) but this should not carry a condition of teaching beyond the guidelines introduced above, except where a specific Teaching Assistantship Scheme has been established.

It is recognised that students who have run off the end of their regular funding may need to exceed these guidelines.

To facilitate contact between graduate students who want to teach, and college tutors who require teaching, each department maintains a teaching register of those interested in teaching and who have attended appropriate training.