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Working as a Teaching Assistant during PhD?

  • 13-05-2021 2:14pm
    Registered Users Posts: 11 edd_209

    I'm due to begin a masters course in September with the goal of progressing to a PhD afterwards. Is there anyone here that could explain the teaching assistant situation in Ireland?

    I know in the UK it's (relatively) common for doctoral students to mark exams, deliver tutorials etc in order to generate income while they study. Is that the same in Ireland or is there typically far more applicants than there is spaces?

    Also, if I were fortunate enough to be awarded a stipend of some sort (unlikely as my field is social sciences) would this make me ineligible for any teaching positions or vice versa?


  • Registered Users Posts: 16 Gingy_Ste

    Most colleges and even schools within a college have different rules about this. I suggest you contact the postgrad administrator for your school as they can give you an exact answer.

    I really don't think you getting a stipend will affect anything and I know for biological sciences demo'ing labs and running tutorials can be mandatory in some school (paid, for the most part) or optional in others. as i said it tends to be a very local thing.

    Over all I would say its very common for PhD's to do teaching work but the details of the type of work and pay can be very different.

  • Registered Users Posts: 22 dco_1987

    Hey- so yes it is possible to do both and there is often teaching assistant positions available within the school you are based. And if not, sometimes other departments run modules that correspond with your schools output- eg Occupational Therapists do some social policy work and they need someone to run those tutorials, so there is always something to be found. Sometimes there are teaching requirements attached to University based stipends, and the Irish Research Council does permit teaching up to a maximum number of hours.

    The money isn't bad (€25 p/h in Trinity)- but don't believe it's just 4 hours per week if you have four tutorials. The prep work can be time consuming and you're not paid for that. The marking of assignments is also very laborious and is not that well paid for the amount of time it takes- especially in social sciences where answers are subjective and require more in-depth analysis with the marking schemes etc. Papers can take a while to mark and not the "15-20 mins" per paper the module lecturer will sell you on!!

    I've done teaching assistant while unfunded and as a funded student and I'm glad I did. It's necessary experience really if you're looking for a career in academia and you don't have any third level teaching experience. I did it for 18 months and when I did unfunded- it helped a little bit. As a funded student, the Department topped up my stipend in exchange for the teaching requirement attached to the scholarship. When I got the Irish Research Council scholarship, I stopped, because honestly, I'd ticked the box and was in the middle of time consuming fieldwork negotiations so didn't have time anymore. But I just got an assistant lecturer position prior to submission so really it was worth it in terms of my long term goals.

    Hope this helps.