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Current Postgraduate Students


Demonstrating to Undergraduate Students

We view demonstrating to undergraduate students as a key part of postgraduate education:

  • Demonstrating is compulsory for 1st and 2nd year postgraduate students with the right background (we do not wish to place anybody in the undergraduate laboratories for whom this would be inappropriate). 
  • Demonstrating is open to all MPhil, 3rd/4th year graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. 
  • We value your work and you will recieve payments for your time.

The annual call for demonstrators goes out to all postgraduate students and postdocs in mid-August every year, with an online form submission with a mid-September deadline, which allows time for allocating demonstrators to various slots before term begins in October. 

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:

  • Michaelmas Term: The three 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 Mark Hudson), 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 throughout the year with hours of work depending on how many people offer to demonstrate but usually on average 4.25 (further clarification will be provided as soon as the rotas are set).  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.

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, demonstrators are not required every week so the payments will be as follows:

  • Michaelmas: Part IB and Part II:  6 weeks
  • Lent: Part IB: 6 weeks and Part II: 2 weeks


  • 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.