Careers and Employability Service
Postgraduate researchers

Academic careers

Male lecturer delivering to students


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, marking and assessing work
  • analysing data and preparing reports
  • presenting work at conferences and seminars


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


From PhD student to research fellow

Rebecca Dewey, Research Fellow, talks about the roles she has had since completing her PhD, how her career thinking has developed and she reflects on her perception of a post-doc researcher when she was a student and now.

Reflecting on my early academic career

Rebecca Dewey talks about her role as well as the best and worse parts of her job. Reflecting on her experience and situation, Rebecca offers advice to PhD students and postdocs that might find themselves in a similar situation. 


Developing experience outside research

Rebecca talks about how she has broadened her experience and skills through projects such as the Parliamentary Pairing Scheme, Athena Swan and the Media Fellowship.

She also talks about the advantages of undertaking these projects and her discussions with her PI.

Spotlight On Research

This webinar is a great opportunity to hear from researchers who will share what they do, how they got into their role and what it is like on a day-to-day basis.

Icon of a video playing


Is an academic career right for you?

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 for developing an academic career

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 beyond an arts and humanities PhD - alumni perspectives

This event hosted a range of arts and social sciences PGRs work across different sectors. Hear how they entered their field and how their PhD helped them alongside the highs and lows of their careers. 

From an academic perspective, Dr Pierre-Alexis Mevel (PhD French Studies), Associate Professor in Translation Studies at the University of Nottingham talked about:

  • How a PhD enabled him to transition into his career
  • The benefits of the transferable skills/strengths gained as a researcher
  • His top tips for career progression

Login to SharePoint to watch this webinar

  • Alumni: Email us to gain access to the webinar

Icon of a video playing


Explore more...



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