Support for Postgraduate Researchers who Teach

The University's policy on Doctoral students who teach requires that "doctoral students employed to teach or assess receive appropriate development for this purpose". This includes completing the essential courses provided by the Centre for Educational Enhancement and Development (CEED) as well as "appropriate training and support throughout their time teaching" provided by the Schools.  CEED also provides additional optional support that postgraduates can access if they wish.  These options are all detailed in the information given below.

Research postgraduate students who are planning to do any teaching should familiarise themselves with the policy, and read through the information below.

Essential courses

This compulsory training must be completed before engaging in any teaching activities.  Workshops in August, September, October, December and January to accommodate different start dates.

Booking for AY23-24 semester 2 courses is now open.

The structure of the training has changed slightly in AY23-24; but it still totals 7 hours.

The purpose of these essential courses is to ensure all postgraduate and other part-time teachers have a basic understanding of the Scottish higher education environment, awareness of relevant St Andrews policies and processes and the range of support available for students, and grounding in the basic skills you will need to teach groups of students and to mark student work effectively.

The full programme is a 7-hour commitment consisting of four components (three synchronous/live workshops and one self-study/online course). These should be completed just before the start of the semester you will begin teaching. As outlined in the Doctoral students who teach policy (section 4), Schools must check to ensure you have fully completed the essential training before a teaching contract can be issued.

Your first step is to register for the Essential courses for postgraduates who teach programme. Doing this will also automatically give your School access to your completion status. Next, complete the online self-study course and register your place on, then attend, the three live workshops (one from each component). The full training programme only needs to be completed once during your time at St Andrews.


Four mandatory components

Once you are registered on the Essential courses for postgraduates who teach programme you will be able to find the dates of the live workshops, book your chosen dates, and keep track of your completion status across all four components. Try to complete the self-study course before attending the live workshops, if possible.

If you are hoping to teach this academic year, check available workshop dates and book early. If you fail to attend any of the live workshops for any reason, you will not be allowed to teach. It is your responsibility to ensure you have completed all of the required components from the range of dates available.


Synchronous/live workshops - in-person and online options (3 components)

Teaching at St Andrews: an introduction- any faculty (2.5 hrs)

Assessment and academic misconduct: an introduction- any faculty (2.5 hrs)

Student Services: supporting students and teachers (1 hr)

These courses run in August, September, October, and December/January. There are no other dates available so be sure to check dates and book early.


Asynchronous/self-study course - online (1 component)

Diversity in the workplace (1 hr)

The Diversity course component is externally hosted - the webpage gives instructions on how to enrol. Follow the link, select 'All employees' and follow the instructions under the relevant sub-heading. Every month completion data from this online self-study course is manually uploaded into PDMS so there will be a short delay until it shows as completed in PDMS.


Frequently Asked Questions


Which version of the workshops (arts, science, cross-faculty) should I attend?

There are cross-faculty and faculty-specific versions of the Teaching and Assessment workshops at different times before the start of each semester. You only need to attend one version of each of the compulsory workshops. The same general principles are covered in each version, but the specific examples used will vary. If you are unable to attend the workshop for your faculty, you can attend any of the other versions instead. Student Services sessions are for all participants regardless of faculty; you can choose whichever instance best fits your schedule.


Is there a difference between the online and in-person versions of the workshops?

All of the live workshops have both online (via Teams) and in-person options. The organisation of the content and the nature of the activities may vary slightly between the two formats, but both formats will cover the same overall content and are equivalent. You are allowed to "mix and match" between delivery formats, ie you may attend some workshops online and some in-person.


How do the previous CAPOD courses compare to the current CEED courses?

You only need to complete the compulsory courses once during your degree (unless your School specifies otherwise). The two in-person workshops delivered by CAPOD through semester 2 of 2019-20 academic year are equivalent to the programme offered by CEED which began semester 1 of the 2020-21 academic year. Remember that your School is entitled to specify additional training requirements.


How should these essential courses be referenced in job applications?

These workshops do not count towards "Successfully completed an institutional provision in teaching in the higher education sector accredited against the UK Professional Standards Framework", as they are not accredited against the PSF 2023.

However, it is possible to apply directly to Advance HE for an appropriate category of Fellowship based on the Descriptors of the PSF. Usually, that would be another option in the same section of the application form, along the lines of “Recognised by Advance HE as an Associate/Fellow/Senior Fellow”. See Applying for HEA/Advance HE Fellowship for more information on the support available.

Support within your School

Your School will provide an induction, a mentor, support with assessment and more, all outlined in the Doctoral Students who Teach policy.

As noted in the policy on Doctoral students who teach, your School must provide you with an induction outlining key contacts, marking scales, deadlines, etc (see the checklist in the policy document) as well as "appropriate training and support throughout their time teaching". In addition to any subject-specific training (eg on use of lab equipment or procedures), all tutors and demonstrators are entitled guidance on marking before assessing student work for the first time.

Note that "every postgraduate teacher must be assigned a mentor to support them in their teaching role"; this is a named person who you can consult if you have any questions about any aspect of your teaching role. You should be observed by an experienced staff member at least once during your first semester of teaching, in order to get constructive feedback on your teaching.

Optional workshops

In addition to the essential courses which must be completed before teaching for the first time, CEED organises a range of optional workshops that may be of interest.

All of these workshops can be booked via PDMS, the online course booking system (link opens in new browser window).

Student Mental Health Toolkit for Teaching & Research Staff

  • Runs once per semester, open to research postgraduate students and academic/research staff.

  • Practical information for all teaching staff (including PGR teachers) and researchers on how to deal with student situations involving mental ill-health.

Specific learning difficulties: their impact in a higher education setting

  • Runs once in semester two, open to research postgraduate students, academic/research and professional staff.

  • Provides an overview of the different specific learning difficulties (SpLDs), such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, and the typical characteristics associated with each condition.

Theories of Learning

  • Runs at least once per semester, open to research postgraduate students and academic/research staff.

  • Provides a brief introduction to various theories of how people learn (eg cognitive science, threshold concepts), with a focus on what this means for our teaching.

Optional credit-bearing modules

Core modules on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)

The PGCAP is aimed at staff at St Andrews who are engaged in university teaching or supporting student learning in a direct student-facing role, regardless of contract type or level of experience. The aim is to give colleagues a supportive space in which they can develop as reflective practitioners in a collegiate, interdisciplinary community, exploring and developing different aspects of their practice in dialogue with peers.

While it is not currently possible for doctoral students who teach to enrol directly onto the PGCAP, it is possible to enrol onto individual modules if you have the necessary pre-requisites and there are places available.

These 15-credit, Masters-level modules will allow you to consider issues in more breadth and depth than is possible in the compulsory workshops, to further enhance your learning and teaching skills and strengthen your CV if you plan to remain in academia. Completing one or more modules will give you a strong case for submitting an individual route application for a category of HEA Fellowship. Individual module credits may also be recognised by other institutions towards their own Postgraduate Certificate requirements.

For more information see the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice page.

Applying for HEA Fellowship

CEED can provide guidance on writing applications and funding to cover the cost of individual route applications.

For further information on funding and applying visit Applying for HEA Fellowship