A job as a lecturer can be a highly rewarding career, with the freedom to research in one’s chosen area of interest, and the possibility of making a high impact in scientific applications.
What does a university lecturer do?
Teaching mainly involves giving lectures to undergraduates (typically large groups of around 100+) and postgraduates (usually smaller groups).
Lecturers also pursue independent research. Often, they supervise research (PhD) students or postdoctoral research assistants. They give presentations about their research at seminars and conferences and write about it in journal articles.
Take a look at our profiles of university lecturers Órlaith Burke to learn more.
What qualifications do I need?
Virtually every employer will insist on a PhD in a closely-related discipline. Beyond this, evidence of research output, such as publications obtained during the PhD or in a postdoctoral position. Usually, universities will expect a prospective lecturer to have well-defined research goals.
It is usual to be able to progress directly to a permanent lectureship from a PhD – the norm is to spend some time in a postdoctoral or temporary position.
Lecturers must have high motivation and independence, since they are typically left to manage themselves. Competition for lectureships is typically very high.
How do I find a job as a university lecturer?
Advertisements for lectureships appear in newspapers such as the Times Higher Education Supplement. Advertisements also often appear on the RSS jobs board.
If you are seeking a lectureship, the following websites will be useful:
What are the career prospects of a university lecturer?
Progression in an academic position is highly structured. Lecturers may be promoted to senior lecturer or reader. Such a promotion typically requires research excellence, which constitutes sustained publication output in respected journals, as well as the ability to attract grant funding. Teaching excellence is also needed, such as taking a leading role in course development. The pinnacle of the academic career is a professorship, which requires international standing in the field.