Options after your PhD

The period directly after a PhD can be a tricky one for early-career academics to navigate. Students often wonder what the options are for them once they graduate.

Here is a list of three main types of work that PhD students go into in the academic sector:

Established academic positions

Some LSE PhD students are successful in applying directly for a UK lectureship at the end of their PhD or go into a US tenure-track assistant professor position or the equivalent in another country. These are typically established academic positions where you will be responsible for research and teaching.

At elite institutions the primary consideration of the selection panels for these positions will be your research track record and future potential. It is also important to have at least some teaching experience.

Temporary teaching-focussed positions

These are found under a variety of job-titles such as temporary lecturer, fixed term lecturer, teaching fellow, adjunct (US) etc. What they have in common is that you are employed to teach on a temporary contract.

As selection for established academic positions is primarily made based on research track-record rather than teaching, it is important to maintain your research momentum through the period of your teaching contract if you want to be competitive for established academic positions.

Temporary/contract research-focussed positions

There are two types:

Employed to research on someone else’s research project

Commonly referred to as a postdoc or research staff/research officer position. These positions are advertised on jobs.ac.uk and on subject-related forums. Sometimes you can also hear about these sorts of projects through contacts and at conferences.

Postdoctoral research fellowship

Applying for funding for your own research project eg British Academy, Leverhulme. More information on postdoctoral research fellowships can be found on our website.

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