Teaching Opportunities

The Faculty believes that it is important both professionally and personally for graduate research students to have opportunities to teach. For graduates seeking an academic career, it is often crucial to have teaching experience when applying for jobs. For many graduate students, teaching is also an important supplement to their income.

The Faculty offers preliminary training for graduate students who are starting to teach, in the form of a half-day Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford (PLTO) seminar, run by the Graduate Teaching Coordinator. Graduates are required to attend this seminar before joining the Graduate Teaching Scheme or placing their names on the Graduate Teaching Register. The Graduate Teaching Scheme and Graduate Lecturing Scheme include arrangements for mentoring and feedback, as explained below. Graduates are also encouraged to enrol for the Developing Learning and Teaching (DLT) programme run by the Centre for Learning and Teaching.

The Faculty operates a number of schemes to help our research students secure relevant teaching experience: 

The University has established a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), which will support the development of research students who wish to follow an academic career, including training in teaching skills. As part of CETL, the Faculty runs a Graduate Teaching Scheme, which pairs doctoral students with Faculty mentors to co-lead an undergraduate class. If they choose to participate, students will receive feedback on their teaching from their mentor and may pursue formal teaching certification through CETL.  

Teaching Assistants (TAs) will be paired with a college fellow who is teaching first-year students in classes for Elementary Logic, General Philosophy, or Moral Philosophy (which is studied in connection with Mill’s Utilitarianism). Exactly what to expect will vary from college to college: how much of the teaching of the class is done by the TA and how much by the college fellow is ultimately up to the college fellow, though they would certainly be expected to take the TA’s preferences into account. The TA would also mark the work that is done for the class. If it is Logic, that will mean a set of problems for each student for each class. For General and Moral Philosophy it may mean an essay from each student for each class for example. 

As a part of the scheme evaluation forms will be distributed to all the undergraduates involved and any feedback received will be communicated to both the TA and college fellow and the in addition to being held on file in the Faculty. The college fellow ought to be in a position to provide a teaching reference for successful TAs for when they go on the philosophy job market. 

In order to participate in the Graduate Teaching Scheme students must have either successfully transferred from Probationary Research Student status to full DPhil status or have progressed to the DPhil from the BPhil. 

Each year the Faculty organises the Graduate Lecturing Scheme, which provided DPhil students with the opportunity to devise and deliver a series of four (one-hour) undergraduate lectures, with mentoring and feedback being provided by supervisors and by the Graduate Teaching Coordinator. Proposals are invited each Trinity Term for the following year. Up to six of these proposals are selected by the Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Teaching Coordinator, taking into consideration the quality of the proposals, the relevance of the lectures for their intended undergraduate audience, and the desirability of avoiding duplication in the topics of these graduate-given lectures. Students can hand in multiple proposals and can propose to teach such courses jointly with another student.

The Graduate Teaching Register is a list maintained by the Faculty of graduate research students who are interested in teaching undergraduates, the subjects that they are willing to teach, and the name of an appropriate referee. The register is updated every year and is circulated to the tutorial fellows in every college so that they may consult it when looking for graduate tutors. 

To be included on the Graduate Teaching Register it is not a prerequisite that a student has transferred from Probationary Research Student status to full DPhil status or has progressed to the DPhil from the BPhil, however, PRS students must satisfy their supervisor as to their capability to teach the papers they want to be listed for in order that their supervisor can provide a reference. 

The system for the central arrangement of external tutorial teaching was introduced experimentally in 2014-15 and continued in 2015-16.  Its initial purpose was to coordinate tutorial teaching swaps between college tutors with teaching stints; it has now been extended to cover the arrangement of a certain amount of tutorial teaching by graduate students listed in the Graduate Teaching Register.