Teaching Assistant

Edinburgh, UK
Oct 21, 2018
Nov 20, 2018
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Type
Other job types
The University of Edinburgh is committed to providing an outstanding student experience where possible, offering employment opportunities that provide both income and work experience during a student's time with us, preparing them for life beyond their studies and equipping them with the expertise and attributes they need to achieve their full potential within the global community.

School of Physics and Astronomy Teaching Assistant

This post is ONLY available for current University of Edinburgh students and is primarily aimed at PhD students in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Students are expected to provide support for lab and computer practicals and workshops, or to assist with problem solving sessions. Students are expected to prepare and deliver tutorial sessions and/or facilitate group discussions. The post holder may be requested to mark assignments using defined marking criteria and to provide suitable oral or written feedback. Markers may also be requested to provide feedback directly to students.

Closing Date: Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 5pm (GMT)

1. Job Details

Job title: Teaching Assistant
School: Physics and Astronomy
Line Manager: Course Organiser

2. Job Purpose

To support teaching through tuition to groups of students or by demonstrating the use of practical equipment, experiments, exercises or processes. To stimulate discussion and debate amongst students and to offer assistance and feedback as appropriate.

3. Main Responsibilities
  • To lead tutorials within a framework set by others for groups of students with specified learning outcomes, discussion of key points from lectures.
  • To demonstrate the use of practical equipment, experiments, exercises and/or processes and to answer questions related to these demonstrations.
  • To assist/give guidance, where required, to students who are carrying out practical exercises.
  • To undertake marking, under supervision and against set criteria of assignments and/or exams.
  • To be aware of any Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity and welfare issues and to raise any concerns with the Course Organiser.
  • To monitor student progress and provide feedback to the student. In addition to provide feedback to course organiser any concerns regarding, for example, plagiarism or student performance issues.

  • 4. Planning and Organising

    Teaching Assistants must ensure they are familiar with the set topics, and with any tasks or equipment to be demonstrated. In discussion with the course organiser the teaching assistant may suggest additional material/topics to aid discussion, and will plan how to develop discussions. May be required to carry out checks on any equipment used.

    5. Problem Solving

    The post-holder will be required to solve problems on a regular basis in order to complete their work. With advice from the course organiser, they will be expected to share in the process of solving broader problems. They will be expected to respond to enquiries from students in relation to feedback provided.

    6. Decision Making

    Provided with guidelines on course content by course organiser. Some discretion on how to deliver topics and materials to recommend. May mark simple student reports against set criteria. Would feedback any concern about student performance or any health and safety issues to course organiser.

    7. Key Contacts/Relationships

    Students - mainly undergraduate, on occasion postgraduate.
    In academic areas - course organisers.
    Other staff - technical and support staff.

    8.Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
    • TAs would normally hold a degree relevant to the teaching area and have an understanding of the basic principles of teaching, learning and assessment.
    • Sufficient knowledge of the topic under discussion to adequately lead discussion.
    • The ability to assemble and use relevant lab/computer equipment where required.
    • Sufficient knowledge and skills to adequately explain clearly the item being demonstrated matching the needs of the specific group including more detailed explanation of how the activity relates to the wider area of study.

    9. Dimensions

    No financial responsibilities. Tutorial or lab groups of undergraduate students. Health and safety responsibility for students under direct supervision and correct use of equipment.

    10. Job Context and any other relevant information

    TAs will usually work within undergraduate programmes of teaching. However some may participate in the wider staff/public interface.

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application.

    The closing date is Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 5pm (GMT).

    Eligibility to Work

    In accordance with UK legislation the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

    To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

    For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

    In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

    For further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes please visit the GOV.UK website

    Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme

    This role is grade UE06 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

    For further information please visit our Pensions website .


    The role is guaranteed hours. It is grade UE06 and attracts an hourly rate of £14.95 plus annual leave allowance. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

    The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
    var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i The School of Physics & Astronomy The School of Physics and Astronomy is in the College of Science & Engineering and comprises the Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics (IPNP), the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS) and the Institute for Astronomy (IfA).

    The School has around seventy academic staff, over 100 research staff and around 50 professional services staff.

    In the most recent Research Excellence Framework the School was ranked 2nd of the large Physics departments in UK universities and 4th overall. The submission was a joint exercise with St Andrews University (PHYESTA).

    The School runs undergraduate programmes at BSc and MPhys level in Physics, Mathematical Physics, Theoretical Physics, Computational Physics, Astrophysics and (jointly with the School of Chemistry) Chemical Physics. The undergraduate programme has flexible entry and exit points, creating courses of variable duration and level.

    The School accepts around 175 new undergraduates into its programmes each year and has current student populations of around 680 undergraduates, 55 taught postgraduates and 220 research postgraduates.

    Further information about the School can be viewed at http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk

    Working within the School

    We aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working and recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students. The School has an active programme offering support and professional development for all staff; providing mentoring, training, and networking opportunities.

    The School of Physics and Astronomy holds Athena SWAN Silver and IoP Juno Champion awards, in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality.   College of Science and Engineering ( http://www.ed.ac.uk/science-engineering ) The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities - for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King's Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University's Central Area near George Square. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research consortia.

    Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

    In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.
      The University of Edinburgh For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They've explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
    The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

    As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

    As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

    The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

    University Family Friendly Initiatives

    Equality Networks:

    Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
    Disabled Staff Network

    The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.