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Support for Postgraduate Researchers who Teach

The University's policy on Doctoral Students who Teach (PDF, 372 KB) requires that "doctoral students employed to teach or assess receive appropriate development for this purpose". This includes completing the mandatory courses provided by the Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD) as well as "appropriate training and support throughout their time teaching" provided by the Schools.  CAPOD also provides additional 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.

Mandatory courses

Research postgraduates must complete mandatory courses before engaging in any teaching activities.  CAPOD runs two workshops for each Faculty in pre-sessional week before the start of each semester (as well as cross-Faculty workshops at the end of August and early October, to accommodate different start dates).

The purpose of the workshops is to ensure that all postgraduate teachers have a basic understanding of the UK educational environment, awareness of relevant St Andrews policies and the range of support available for students, and grounding in the basic skills they will need to teach groups of students and to mark student work effectively. 


Students must also complete the online course Diversity in the Workplace (opens in a new window) before attending the face-to-face workshops.  The online course Training in Good Academic Practice should have been completed as part of matriculation.


The workshops run from 1-5pm.  Students hoping to teach this academic year should sign up for one Tutoring and one Assessment workshop.  If students are unable to attend one or both of the workshops for their Faculty, they can sign up for any of the other sessions. Students can book a place on these workshops using the Personal Development Management System (PDMS). This also includes the venue and details of the course content.  Students should, where possible, attend the workshops just before the semester in which they first start teaching.


Semester 1 dates:

  • Tutoring and Demonstrating: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Thurs 29th August 2019

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Fri 30th August 2019

  • Tutoring in the Arts: An introduction – Tues 10th September 2019

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Arts): An introduction – Wed 11th September 2019

  • Tutoring & Demonstrating in the Sciences: An introduction – Thurs 12th September 2019

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Science): An introduction – Fri 13th September 2019

  • Tutoring and Demonstrating: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Thurs 3rd October 2019

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct: An introduction (cross-Faculty) - Fri 4th October 2019


Semester 2 dates:

  • Tutoring in the Arts: An introduction – Tues 21st January 2020

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Arts): An introduction - Wed 22nd January 2020

  • Tutoring & Demonstrating in the Sciences: An introduction - Thurs 23rd January 2020

  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Science): An introduction – Fri 24th January 2020

Support within your School

As noted in the policy on Doctoral Students who Teach (PDF, 372 KB), 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 taught modules

  • Introduction to University Teaching 1: Supporting Student Learning (ID5101)

  • Introduction to University Teaching 2: Curriculum Design and Assessment (ID5102)

These are 10-credit, Masters-level taught postgraduate modules, open to all staff with a teaching element to their role. They are practice-based, professional development modules which emphasise reflection on practice. Participants will be able to consider issues in more breadth and depth than is possible in the mandatory introductory workshops to further enhance their learning and teaching skills.

The modules are not available within the advising system; enrolment is by application directly to the module co-ordinator, Dr Heather McKiggan-Fee. A pre-requisite for enrolling onto ID5101 is that participants be actively engaged in tutoring, demonstrating or lecturing.  For ID5102 you must be currently teaching or to have taught in the preceding semester. 

A sample of what participants have said about the modules:

  • "I always walked in with a problem and walked out with an ingenious solution, either suggested or inspired by colleagues or the teacher." (ID5101)

  • "This module completely changed my idea about the methods of teaching. I have designed an entirely new set of activities and objectives for my tutorials." (ID5101)

  • "I am keen to explore...integrating reflective writing into [my] module, as I have found this to be an invaluable exercise in my own development as a student on this course." (ID5101)

  • "I think it's helpful to be formally taught how to put a module together--everything from choosing topics to weighting them to making sure the assessment reinforces what you want your students to learn--and the philosophy behind it. Also, I loved being in an interdisciplinary group and learning about my colleagues' perspectives through the discussion and their module topics." (ID5102)

  • "I'm now more conscious about how I structure the content of my course and my assignments in order for the students to achieve the ILOs of the course." (ID5102)

  • "I came out thinking and reflecting more about the aims of teaching & education.  I changed my approach." (ID5102)

Up until recently both modules were accredited by the Higher Education Academy, such that successful completion of either 10 credit module led to Associate Fellowship of the HEA. However, since the University has withdrawn its subscription to the HEA (now Advance HE), the accreditation has also been withdrawn. However, the University will cover the cost of individual route applications for module participants, and module participants will receive support in preparing those applications.


The online application forms for AY19-20 are available below (please note the dates of classes - attendance is a module requirement).  There are 14 places on each module; these are allocated as completed applications are received. The final deadline for applications for ID5101 is 13th September 2019, although it is possible that all places will have been allocated before then. There is a "reserve list" in case places become available after the start of semester.

  • ID5101 Application form (semester one) - classes on 26th Sept, 10th Oct, 31st Oct, 21st Nov (2019)

  • ID5102 Application form (semester two) - classes on 6th Feb, 20th Feb, 12th Mar, 2nd Apr, 16th Apr (2020)

Assessment on each module involves critical reflection on your own teaching practice, so to enrol on ID5101 you must be teaching in that semester, and for ID5102 you must be teaching that semester or have taught in semester 1.  To ensure that you are able to meet the module requirements your teaching must involve at least 4 separate teaching sessions (eg tutorials, lectures, labs) and there must be at least 3 weeks between the first and last session.

Recent module handbooks and module evaluation results are provided below for information, but please note the current modules may not follow exactly the same format.

An article on the modules is available in the online journal Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol 8, no 2: Postgraduates who teach: a forgotten tribe? Not here! and on the CAPOD Impact Blog.

Applying for HEA Fellowship

CAPOD can provide guidance on writing applications, and members of the University can apply for funding to cover the cost of an individual route application.

CAPOD's Educational Developer runs HEA Fellowship Application workshops each semester that are open to any member of the University who is interested in applying for a category of HEA Fellowship. (Check dates in the online booking system.)  All members of the University can access a Onedrive folder of resource materials, such as the presentation slides and audio recording, HEA guidance documents, and example applications.  To access the folder follow the link and then you will need to login in to Onedrive with your University email address and password.  If you have any questions about Fellowship applications, contact Dr Heather McKiggan-Fee at

Dr McKiggan-Fee will read through and offer feedback on one draft version of an application before submission.  Please note, however, that this may take up to 4 weeks in busy periods.

CAPOD also has a fund to support staff (including PGR teachers) with the cost of applications, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis as requests are received and approved, until such time as the fund is fully disbursed. Applications must be reviewed by the Educational Developer before they will be considered for funding. Staff can only access this fund once during their time at St Andrews (ie we will not support multiple applications). You must be a current PGR student or member of staff (including casual/bank contracts) at the time of your application in order to be eligible for funding.


Contact details

Dr Heather McKiggan-Fee
Educational Developer
Hebdomadars' Block
St Salvator's Quad
75 North Street

T: 01334 462141 

Back to CAPOD PGR section

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