An Academic Career

PhD/Doctoral researcher

Dr Sarah Hart talks about making the choice to be an academic.

Is an academic career for you?

As a doctoral researcher, you already understand some of the attractions - and challenges - of research. If you have always wanted to be an academic, or are starting to see the attractions, or are now starting to doubt whether academia is for you, this website is intended to help you:

  • understand the realities of academic careers
  • make a realistic assessment of your potential to make it as an academic
  • plan your next step - whether that is looking for academic jobs or looking for an alternative career

In addition to the information in this section specifically for PhDs and doctoral researchers, don’t miss out on the tabs at the top of the page.

These give you detailed information about academic careers (including how to become an academic), how to find jobs in academia, how to make applications (including academic CVs), and interviews and assessment.

What this website covers

Who is this website aimed at?

This section assumes that: 

  • You are undertaking doctoral research, perhaps straight from an undergraduate or Masters degree, or maybe having gained professional experience before starting your doctorate.
  • You may already be a member of university research staff, or be employed outside academia, undertaking your doctorate part-time.
  • You are currently undertaking your doctorate in the UK, or plan to develop your academic career primarily in the UK. Some of the materials are applicable to global academic careers, but there are significant differences between some countries (for example between the UK and the USA) and these have not been explicitly addressed (yet).

If you already have a permanent academic job as a lecturer or similar grade within a UK university, this website probably won't fulfil your needs. Its main focus is to support those who have not yet achieved this level. It does not attempt to cover advancement or promotion within academia.