job market has no unified system for applications. Jobs come out in dribs and drabs, and you apply individually to each one you fancy going for at the appropriate time. UK
- Three main categories of job that PhDers look for:
- “Lectureships”. Usually these jobs comes with responsibilities to teach, to do research, and to do certain amounts of administrative work. These come with the equivalent of tenure. These are sometimes called “permanent” or “continuing” lectureships to distinguish them from (c) below.
People sometimes think of these---very roughly---as
assistant professorships (though coming with the equivalent of tenure). US
- “Postdocs”: (normally) full time research positions, often held for two or three years.
- “Fixed term lectureships” (including “teaching fellowships” and “replacement lectureships”). These are usually positions covering teaching needs within a department. Pay and conditions vary wildly: some of them are de facto full-time teaching positions, some of them will have the same conditions as the non-fixed term lectureships.
- It’s far more common in the
UKthan in the for PhD-ers aiming for a research career to try for a postdoc position for a few years. Postdocs are pretty prestigious things to get. However, over the last few years quite a few PhD leavers have moved straight into continuing lectureships, which offers the extremely nice feature of instant job security, if less upfront time to spend on research. US
- Lectureships come in grades: Lecturer A and lecturer B are the entry-level grades (lecturer Bs getting a bit more money than lecturer As). Then come senior lectureships and “readerships”; then professorships. You can roughly map the
UKlecturer/senior lecturer/prof divisions onto assistant/associate/full prof. But I don’t have enough familiarity with the US USsystem to know how closely it matches---and of course there isn’t a tenured/untenured line to be drawn as there is in the . US
Fixed term lectureships are the equivalent, I guess, of US visiting professorships.
- Sometimes but not always
jobs will be advertised according to US norms (e.g. specified with AOS/AOC, advertised in JFP). But to get the full whack, the best thing to do is to sign up for the most popular UK academic job website, www.jobs.ac.uk. UK
- What’s asked for in a
application will vary. There’s often an application form to be given out, writing samples will be asked for (perhaps with a specified wordlimit) and of course you need to include a CV. References aren’t typically required at the initial application stage. But often US applicants find it easiest to send their standard application pack, including references, teaching reports and whatever. This’ll probably mean that US applicants end up providing a *lot* more info than their rivals at the initial stages. Obviously you can contact the dept for guidance if you’re worried your application pack will be out of sync with what’s officially requested. UK
- If you’re invited for interview, you should be aware that the setup will differ markedly from US norms. Often, there’ll be a shortlist of 4 or 5 for a continuing lectureship, and often all candidates will be interviewed on the same day, and even taken out for dinner together. Some people find this totally awkward, and hate it. I sort of enjoyed the camaraderie. But it is standard practice, so don’t be surprised by having to socialize with your competitors. (Remember: there's nothing like the APA smoker to go through in the UK system: the interview days are a one-stop-shop). The institution will tell you what to expect, but often the formal proceedings will include a presentation and an interview, carried out over one or two days.
- Any presentation will typically be to the whole department, who’ll give feedback to the appointments committee who run the interview and who actually make the hiring decisions. Presentations can be of various formats: from 20 min presentations with 10 mins for questions, to hour-long presentations with substantial discussion time. For fixed term lectureships, you might be asked for a teaching-based presentation (“give a presentation suitable for a first-year course”). For postdocs, obviously a research presentation is appropriate. For continuing lectureships, it’ll probably veer towards the research. The institution will give guidance, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification/advice if you’re unsure what they’re wanting (particularly if they ask for something totally impossible e.g. “a twenty minute presentation accessible by second year undergraduates that gives an overview of your research programme”).
- As mentioned,
appointments are made by appointments committees, not by individual departments. The makeup of appointments committees can vary, but it isn’t atypical for there to be just two philosophers in a committee of five or more for a philosophy-only post. Obviously, these philosophers have an influential voice, both in the interview itself (you can expect them to ask the majority of the questions) and in the hiring decisions. But for continuing positions probably also be asked questions by non-philosophers. For obvious reasons “are there interdisciplinary aspects to your research?” is a question often heard at that stage of the interview. UK
Finally, the Oxbridge section:
Oxfordand Cambridgeare exceptions to almost every rule. Their unique college-based setup means that their jobs are titled differently and graded differently: [for example, in Oxford] CUFs and University Lectureships are the main continuing jobs they offer. Those are, again, both tenured positions. See this discussion on Leiter (by Michael Rosen) for the lowdown. UK Oxfordand also have a vast stock of postdoc positions (called in Oxbridge “junior research fellowships” or JRFs) and a vast stock of fixed term appointments “lectureships”. All terribly confusing even to Cambridge folk. UK
- Not all
and Cambridge JRFs are advertised on jobs.ac.uk, though I believe all continuing positions will be. I found the only way to get comprehensive listings for JRFs is by looking at the Oxford Gazette: http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/ (this comes out weekly, and you can sign up for email notification). From the homepage, click on “weekly issues”, then an issue, then “appointments”. Amusingly under “positions outside Oxford Oxford”, it lists all and only positions available at . That’s quantifier restriction for you. Two warnings: these positions are often (though not always) advertised across disciplines, so that a philosopher will be competing with biologists and mathematicians and whatever. Also, at least when I applied, each JRF position that came up (and there are lots) seemed to require it’s own research statement, of varying lengths with varying requirements. That’s hugely time-consuming for the applicant (Oxbridge: please introduce some uniformity!) Cambridge