Higher education lecturer

university lecturer professor college lecturer
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would use your high-level knowledge of an academic subject or profession to teach students and help them with research projects.

You’d do your own research which you’d present at conferences and publish as articles or books.

You’d teach an academic or vocational subject to students aged 18 years or older in universities and some further education colleges. You’d help them study for undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications.

You would:

  • Create teaching materials and prepare for sessions
  • Give lectures, seminars and practical demonstrations, and lead fieldwork
  • Upload materials to your university’s virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Lead and respond to discussions with students on the VLE
  • Assess students’ work and progress
  • Set and mark assignments, essays and exams
  • Act as personal tutor to a number of students
  • Supervise students’ research
  • Attend and contribute to professional conferences and seminars
  • Carry out administrative tasks such as student admissions

You’d also contribute to your department’s research activities – often paid for by sponsors – and publish your work in journals and books.

The time spent on teaching and research will vary with the university. In a college, it’s likely that the focus of your work will be on teaching.

Your enthusiasm for your subject will help to motivate and inspire your students. You’d need to be confident enough to lecture and present to large groups of people.

Universities are usually large organisations with a lot of staff so it would be useful to have good negotiation skills.

Working conditions

Hours

You’ll usually work long hours, which may include evenings. You may be able to choose the timing of some aspects of your work, such as research hours and student tutorials. Part-time and hourly-paid jobs, along with fixed short-term contracts, are becoming more common. You may be able to take up to a year out to do your own research work. You’ll usually need to have been in post for at least three years before doing this.

Environment

You would work in a college or university.

Travel

You may sometimes have to travel to academic conferences in other parts of the country or even overseas.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Explaining things
  • Persuading people
  • Helping people to learn
  • Presenting to people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Using computers
  • Researching and investigating
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Entry is very competitive.

You will need a first class or upper second class honours degree (SCQF level 10) and have, or be working toward, further qualifications such as a PhD (SCQF level 12) in a subject relevant to the faculty you wish to work in. 

Useful subjects

Most courses require English and maths.

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Most entrants also have research experience and have published reports and academic papers in their chosen field of expertise. 

Helpful to have

If your subject is a vocational one, it is very helpful to have a few years of relevant work experience. A PhD may not be necessary in this case.

You need to be confident, engaging, articulate and well organised and continue to research and publish work throughout your career.

A formal  teaching qualification is not necessary but you will have to demonstrate your ability to teach.