Working as a tutor
We offer some of our PhD students the opportunity to do paid tutorial work
Working as a tutor is an important part of your training as a Philosophy PhD student. That said, however, you should not feel under an obligation to do tutorial teaching if you do not wish to do so, and you certainly shouldn't take on teaching if you think it would harm your doctoral studies.
Postgraduate tutors play an important role in our philosophy programme, principally at the pre-honours level (Year 1 & 2 undergraduate), but also in supporting our online MSc programme. Below is a little more information about each role.
If you’d like to know more about any of the courses for which tutoring opportunities exist, please see the relevant undergraduate course guides.
At sub-honours we offer six different courses:
- Semester 1: Morality & Value; Mind, Matter and Language; Philosophy of Science
- Semester 2: Greats; Logic 1; Knowledge & Reality
Most students who are enrolled in a philosophy degree, either single or joint honours, will take Morality & Value, Logic 1, and Greats in their first year, and Mind, Matter and Language and Knowledge & Reality in their second year, with Philosophy of Science available as an optional course in either year. In addition, each of these courses enrols a large number of students from other subject areas who are taking the course as an elective.
In all of these courses except Logic 1, tutors meet weekly for 50 minutes with a group of about 15 students, and also mark midterm essays and final exams. The main goal of the tutorials is to give students an opportunity to discuss the philosophical material encountered in lectures and readings. In Logic 1 things are slightly different in that tutors work in pairs with a group of about 30 students. In any given week one tutor will focus on more advanced material and one tutor will focus on more basic material, with students moving from one subgroup to another as they wish given their level of understanding. Tutors are also involved in marking in Logic 1, although in this case there is just a final exam, not a midterm.
In Knowledge & Reality, every tutor will be assigned an element of extra marking, for which they will be remunerated accordingly at the normal rate. The working hours will thus be higher than other courses.
The University of Edinburgh runs an online MSc programme that offers participants a variety of foundational and advanced courses in epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind & cognitive science, philosophy of science, and philosophical methodology. Postgraduate tutors play an important supporting role in each of these courses, both academically, e.g., through involvement with students via online discussion boards and live online seminars, and logistically, e.g., with organisational matters, filming seminars, and planning and participating in induction events.
Tutoring is an excellent opportunity for postgraduate students to develop their skills and knowledge, and tutors are not required to have teaching experience or to be already expert on the material. That said, the main thing we are looking for when we review applications is potential for high-quality teaching in our sub-honours courses, and relevant experience and philosophical expertise on the subject matter do help.
The process of allocation is based on the merit of each application, including level qualification, experience and any feedback from previous years if applicable. This is handled by the Philosophy Tutor Co-ordinator and Head of Philosophy.
The tutor application form will ask you to indicate which courses you are interested in tutoring for, ranked in order of preference. Filling all of the available roles in a given year is very complex and you can help us, and make it more likely we can find a spot for you, by selecting as many roles as you can (anything that you might be interested in, and are qualified for).
There may be further opportunities in the course of the year. If so, they will be advertised in due course to all PhD students and allocation will be based on qualification for the position.
Advice on tutoring is provided in Philosophy as part of our Postgraduate Professional Development and Research Training seminars.
Enquiries about tutoring should be directed to the Tutor Coordinator, Alix Cohen.
Further support, including an extensive set of reference and course materials for tutors, is also available from the Institute for Academic Development. All postgraduate tutors are regularly assessed by faculty members, and given written feedback on their performance.