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Teaching guidelines for postdocs (MHLS)


While postdocs are principally hired to carry out research, some teaching experience is likely to benefit their career progression. The MHLS Faculty recognises the importance of facilitating teaching access to postdocs, while also protecting time for the delivery of their research project.

These guidelines aim at providing guidance to postdocs, their managers, and module co-ordinators in the Schools, regarding what the MHLS Faculty considers as reasonable in terms of teaching for postdocs. Involvement in teaching outside these guidelines may happen in some exceptional cases, but requires agreement by all parties (postdoc, manager and module co-ordinators).

While teaching can be provided in many forms, including supervision and mentoring, these guidelines are only relevant to activities related to classroom teaching.


These guidelines have been developped by the MHLS Postdoctoral Development Centre (including the postdoc and PI members of the PDC Committee), the MHLS Dean of Research and the MHLS Dean of Education. They were approved by the MHLS Faculty Executive Board on the 26th February 2020.

Consultation will be carried out to investigate the relevance of these guidelines in the EPS and AHSS Faculties, adapting them as appropriate and organising approval by the Faculty Executive Boards and/or PROG. Currently, these guidelines have only been approved in MHLS. 

In a nutshell:

  • Contribution to teaching by postdocs should not be mandatory but voluntary (except if clearly stated on their job description)
  • Postdocs could reasonably be involved in teaching up to 10 h of student contact per year, with no more than 4 h being lectures
  • The postdoc’s PI and the relevant module co-ordinators need to be consulted

Notes on the teaching guidelines:

  • These guidelines apply to Research Fellows and Senior Research Fellows but not to independent fellows such as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows, whose teaching involvement is regulated by their funder and Fellowship scheme, and advised by their progression committee
  • The involvement of postdocs in teaching must be discussed between the postdoc and their line manager/PI (for example as part of their Personal Development Review)
  • All contributions of postdocs to teaching must be known and agreed by the relevant module co-ordinators
  • In addition to these, some school-specific guidelines may exist, notably for Quality-Assessed degrees, which may somewhat restrict access of teaching to postdocs (e.g. School of Pharmacy)
  • Opportunities to teach cannot be guaranteed for all postdocs as they vary based on subject, available lecturers and teaching staff, number of students, number of postdocs interested in contributing etc.
  • While PIs and module co-ordinators are encouraged to let postdocs know about relevant teaching opportunities in their area, postdocs willing to teach are responsible for seeking opportunities themselves
  • Teaching by postdocs is not associated with a financial compensation as it is carried out voluntarily during their contracted time (so already paid), and listed as a potential task on their job description