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Current Postgraduate Students


Demonstrating to Undergraduate Students

Demonstrating is seen as a core part of postgraduate education in the Chemistry department and can help to build your CV.

What is Demonstrating?

As a Demonstrator, you will lead practical sessions for undergraduates. Your role is to guide students, ensuring they understand the techniques used as well as follow protocol and safety guidelines.

Who does it involve?

Demonstrating is a compulsory part of 1st and 2nd year PhD in the Chemistry Department. We would also encourage MPhils to get involved, but as your time is shorter, this needs to first be discussed with your supervisor. Demonstrating is also open to 3rd/4th year postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

SynTech CDT students: Please note that demonstrating is optional for SynTech CDT students. Given the significant time commitment required for first year training, it’s entirely your responsibility to manage your time appropriately if you wish to demonstrate. Please bear in mind that CDT training takes priority over demonstrating and you are required to ensure that no clashes occur if you want to do it in your first year. 

Additionally, Department values the contribution involved in Demonstrating and demonstrators will therefore receive payments for their time.

What if I am not an experimentalist?

We would expect theory students to do the computational practicals (Part 1B/Part II), but anyone who has a Chemistry undergraduate degree and feels confident in the lab can opt to do Part IA instead.

What if I don’t know what to do?

You will be fully supported by staff members, and given clear instructions as well as guidelines for your practical. If there is anything at all you are concerned about, please let us know and further support will be provided.

What else should I know?

Part IA

Part IA usually has first year postgraduate student demonstrators, occasionally with second years. Forms to new starters will be sent before their arrival in the Department. The Part IA Practical Course has been designed to follow the first year lecture course:

  • The four experiments involve mainly organic chemistry and applications of spectroscopy. 
  • Lent Term:  We normally lead with two organic experiments (weeks 1–4) and finish with two physical (weeks 5–8).
  • Easter Term: We conclude with two short inorganic experiments (weeks 1–4), in recognition of the fact that time is at a premium in the run up to the undergraduate first year examinations.

Please note the following:

  • The order of experiments may be subject to alteration, depending on the feedback from previous demonstrator cohorts.
  • All demonstrators must attend technique demonstrations (given by Senior Laboratory Technician Yuko Kumeda), to ensure uniformity of the demonstrations.
  • You will also receive a comprehensive Demonstrator handout, which details how to run each session and gives model write-up examples to assist with speedy marking. 
  • Demonstrators in this class work from 10.00am - 5.00pm, alternate weeks during term time, i.e. 10 sessions total per demonstrator, and one extra hour is paid for marking the scripts, i.e. payment for 8 hours total for each session. 
  • This class is normally entirely populated with the Michaelmas intake of PhD students so normally there is little/no availability for slots in this class for students beyond the first year of PhD.

Part IB

In Part IB, the organic experiments run every week during Michaelmas and the inorganic ones run during Lent. Demonstrators in this class work either:

a)  from 1.00 - 6.00pm, every week during term time, i.e. 8 sessions total per demonstrator, and two extra hours are paid for marking the scripts, i.e. payment for 7 hours total for each session. 

b) from 09.30 - 12.30pm in the characterisation technique slots - 2 per week, i.e. 16 sessions per term and a total of 6 hours per week with no associated marking.

Physical demonstrators are expected to be at the laboratory from 1.30-6.00pm and theoretical labs run through the Michaelmas and Lent terms from 1.45-5pm.

Part II

In Part II, the organic, inorganic and theory experiments run throughout the first two terms; there are no Physical labs.  Please note that for the organic and inorganic labs, demonstrators need to have currently (or at least recently) used synthetic laboratory skills in order to demonstrate effectively.


Hours per session:*


Part IA



Part IB (Organic/ Inorganic)


Two further clarifications for the Part IB Organic/ Inorganic Labs:

  • Groups where there are 9 or more students will be paid for 8 hours in recognition of the extra pressure in the lab and the extra marking (most groups are 8 students so usually the group where there are more than 8 students tends to have 11 or 12 present and these are limited).
  • In situations where an emergency replacement is sought, for consistency the marking will still be done where possible by the group’s usual demonstrator.This will result in the usual demonstrator receiving a payment for 2 hours in that week (usual rate) and the stand-in lab demonstrator receiving payment for 7.5 hours (5 hours at the enhanced rate).


Part II (Organic/ Inorganic)


In Part II O/I, students will be paid for an extra hour for attending Dr Nolan’s demonstrations at the start of term.


Part IB (Physical)


Physical demonstrators do not do the marking for this class but are paid for 7 hours work in recognition of the much larger group size they handle (one demonstrator per day) and the help which they provide after the practical with calculations and student write-ups.

Part IB/Part II (Theoretical)


For the Theoretical Labs, the number of sessions per demonstrator depends on how many demonstrators are available. The expectation is about 6 sessions in the year.



  • For any session where a demonstrator needs to be replaced, usually due to illness or emergency, an enhanced payment of 1.5 x the usual rate will be offered as an incentive to volunteer.
  • Situations where a demonstrator sorts out a swap well in advance of a conference or other planned event (it is expected that this will not be a last minute arrangement) will not be paid at this enhanced rate: they will be paid at the usual hourly rate.

How do I arrange my Demonstrating?

New Students starting in October 2023 - Please complete the form below by Sunday 3rd September, to help us schedule this year's Demonstrating. 

Demonstrating for incoming students 23/24 (1st years)

Current students - Please complete the form below by Sunday 3rd September, to help us schedule this year's Demonstrating.

Demonstrating for Academic Year 23/24 (2+ years and postdocs)