Careers and Employability Service
Services for PhD students

Academic careers


An academic career has three key components: research, teaching and administration.  Typical tasks might include:

  • writing up research and publishing the findings
  • applying for research grants
  • teaching in lectures and seminars
  • marking and assessing work
  • analysing data and preparing reports
  • presenting work at conferences and seminars
  • administrative work


A typical entry level role following completion of a research degree would be as a research or teaching fellow.


Why an academic career?

Questions for you

  • Why do I want to be an academic?
  • Have I got the right motivation - am I choosing to stay because I don’t know enough about the alternatives or because leaving would feel like failure?
  • What aspect of academia am I most attracted to – teaching or research? Or would I like to have a mixture of both in future roles? What are the potential opportunities for that in my specialism?
  • Do I want to work internationally?

Top tips

The following activities will increase your chances of developing a successful academic career.

  • Get published
  • Gain some project management experience
  • Take on teaching responsibilities
  • Increase your involvement in funding/budgeting issues and familiarise yourself with quality assessment procedures
  • Take steps to better understand the broader issues affecting Higher Education
  • Network with colleagues/peers outside your institution
  • Work with people who have a good reputation


Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679