Postgraduate Teaching Assistants

Research Students may be asked to contribute to teaching as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA). The tasks PGTAs undertake vary between department and discipline, but typically can include demonstrating in laboratory classes, leading tutorial groups and marking essays. This can be a very valuable experience: it can contribute to students' intellectual development and grasp of the subject, and can also provide an additional source of income to support their studies. The skills acquired from teaching, demonstrating and facilitating can readily be applied to future careers in many fields, including academia, education, industrial research, or management.

Some departments offer Teaching Assistantships, whose holders are paid a stipend and have a responsibility to undertake a limited amount of teaching as well as research for a PhD. Other Departments will employ PGTAs to undertake some paid teaching work as and when necessary. In order to ensure that related duties (including teaching, preparation and training) do not compromise students' core research, departments provide guidance on what is expected in particular teaching activities and workload allocation to ensure students are not overloaded. UCL HR sets out the maximum hours PGTAs can work (see below for the PGTA Code of Practice).

Professional Development for PGTAs

All PGTAs must undertake appropriate development activities to support their teaching practice. UCL's Arena Centre for Research-Based Education offers a scheme for such training and development of PGTAs, called UCL Arena One.

The Doctoral Skills Development Programme also has of other development opportunities that can support and enhance students' teaching roles.

Useful Links

Full details of UCL's Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Scheme, including information for PGTAs and Heads of Department engaging PGTAs for teaching duties can be found in HR's Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Code of Practice.

UCL Teaching and Learning Portal

UCL Arena – UCLs professional development pathway for teaching