An Academic Career

Post-doctoral researcher/teaching staff

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

Is an academic career for you?

As a post-doctoral researcher or teacher, you already understand some of the attractions - and challenges - of research, teaching and academic life. Whether you are keen to gain a permanent academic job, or are now starting to doubt whether academia is for you, this website is intended to help you:

  • understand the realities of academic careers and how they differ from post-doctoral research and teaching roles
  • make a realistic assessment of your potential to make it as an academic
  • plan your next step - either looking for academic jobs or looking for an alternative career.

In addition to the information in this section specifically for post-doctoral researchers and teaching staff, 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 section of the website aimed at?

This section assumes:

  • You are employed in a university or research institute in a research or teaching capacity, having gained a doctoral qualification. If you are currently undertaking part-time doctoral research while employed as a member of staff, you may want to look at the section for PhD / Doctoral researchers as an alternative.
  • You may be undertaking full- or part-time post-doctoral research or teaching straight from your doctoral degree, or have already completed one or more post-doctoral contracts. Alternatively, you may have gained years of professional experience before coming back into academia.
  • You are currently undertaking your post-doctoral research or teaching 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.