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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Teaching Whilst You Study

TA requirements and scholarships

Teaching While You Study

All PhD students who wish to teach are expected to undertake some initial training, which prepares you to apply for a post as a Teaching Assistant or to undertake the teaching that is an intrinsic element of your sponsorship.

The Faculty of Humanities TA training programme is designed to ensure that all our students receive high quality teaching in line with goal 2 of the Manchester2020 vision - Outstanding learning and student experience.  The programme has been designed with your ongoing professional development in mind, to provide you with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills needed to teach in a higher education environment.  You will have the opportunity to have your training and subsequent experience recognised by applying for Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

You should discuss your plans to work as a Teaching Assistant with your supervisor.  Vacancies for TAs will be advertised regularly; however, please note that the Faculty cannot guarantee to offer teaching to all who apply. 

Applying for TA and Marking Opportunities

In order to become a teaching assistant or seminar leader, you must first complete an application and be recruited to the Humanities TA pool.  You will then be asked to complete the Faculty training programme, a large component of which is online.  This qualifies you to begin teaching; however, you are not guaranteed to be selected by the various Course Coordinators.  It is important that you do not undertake any teaching or marking without receiving a letter of intent from your School.  Without this, you cannot receive payment.

A contract will be issued by HR Services within 8 weeks of commencing duties.  The contract will contain information about general terms and conditions, and will make reference to the letter of intent.

The Humanities TA Hub provides details of the application process and gives access to all the documentation you will require.

You must provide a signed Supervisors' Form to ensure you are eligible for the selection process, even if you have a bursary or you were registered as a TA during the previous academic year. 

Hour limits

There are limits on the number of hours that you can work whilst studying for your doctorate.  For a Humanities full-time PGR student, Schools will adhere to a Humanities maximum norm of 180 hours' work per academic year.  This limit of 180 hours is standard practice within Higher Education and is intended to ensure that PGR students have sufficient time to complete their PhD studies.  The 180 hours allocation will include preparation, attendance at lectures, teaching, marking, feedback and office hours as required by the discipline.  It also includes any work undertaken on research projects for the School.  Training is not normally included.  The number of hours you teach will be monitored.  Only in very exceptional circumstances will you be allowed to exceed your agreed teaching allowance, and only with prior agreement from the PGR Director.


Students on Tier 4 Visas can only work 20 hours per week, otherwise it violates their Visa.


All eligible PGRs undertaking teaching will be paid accordingly. The only exception is PGRs in receipt of AMBS funding awards made pre-2015. Holders of these awards are required to undertake the hours indicated in their terms & conditions.  Where the requirement is less than the maximum of 180 hours (e.g. for fees only awards), payment will be made for additional hours.

Supplementary details are listed below:

For 2014-15 entrants, the following applies:

  • Research Council funding (ESRC, EPSRC etc)

    Since UKRI is an external funding body, there is no change in the terms and conditions. There is and was no expectation to partake in teaching as a condition of the award.  Students who wish to undertake additional work and apply to be a GTA, will be paid for any such work and workload is limited to 180 hours, per academic year.

  • PDS awards (University funding)
    There is no expectation to partake in teaching.  However, should students wish to, they may apply and will be paid accordingly, and limited to 180 hours, per academic year.

  • AMBS awards (AMBS funding)
    There is no expectation to partake in teaching.  However, should students wish to, they may apply and will be paid accordingly, and limited to 180 hours, per academic year.


HEA Associate Fellowship recognition requires 24 hours of training.  The Faculty of Humanities TA training programme has several elements, most of which need to be undertaken before teaching starts:

  • 1 hour webinar, which will provide an introduction to the TA training programme and the requirements for HEA Associate Fellowship recognition.
  • 6 hours of online modules of online training
  • 2 hour training session to discuss issues arising from online training and meet other TAs
  • 12+ hours of school/discipline area level training, which will be a mixture of sessions covering topics in more depth or or providing school specific content, as well as discussion sessions or peer-to-peer mentoring and so on.

During your first year of teaching, you will receive 3+ hours of 'supported teaching'.  This will mean some observation by the course leader, TA coordinator or your supervisor, but may also include peer observations or even teaching on which you write a reflection for discussion with supervisor/TA Coordinator/ peers.

More information and resources can be found on the Humanities TA Hub.

Additional Support in School

For information regarding recruitment and training please email

Additional details on how to apply to become a Teaching Assistant, as well as the support and guidance available to you, please click here.