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Shay Logan

I don't have an answer. I just want to say that (a) I also had these questions, and (b) I imagine that part of what makes it hard for people to answer these questions is that they can't imagine we're asking questions as basic as we are in fact asking.

So just to be clear, the question OP is asking is likely not deep and sophisticated, and an answer that is similarly non-deep would likely be maximally helpful. Many (myself included) in the US just literally do not know what these words mean, and as a result cannot answer questions that use them.


These application systems are used for both faculty appointments and non-faculty staff appointments. Some of the information requested is not terribly important for faculty appointments but matters for other staff appointments. The system requires it for everyone, though, because of *bureaucracy*.

(a) "Secondary education" refers to GCSE-level education, which is roughly from the age of 11-15. It also includes A-level studies for kids going on to university, which are taken in the two years prior to starting university. This is sometimes referred to as 'further education'. That is the level stuff, since other types of qualifications taken in those years are called, e.g., T levels. ('A' is academic; 'T' is technical.) No one cares about this stuff for an academic job, and you can likely just leave the fields blank if they are not required to submit the application.

(b) The quantificational result refers to the degree classification on the British system, which will often include a qualification result (1st, 2.i, 2.ii, etc.) and a quantificational result (e.g., 73 average overall). This does not matter for international applicants. I doubt it matters for anyone, though I don't want to speak as if I know the minds of everyone who might evaluate an application. Just put your GPA if you must put something.

(c) Training/development courses are certification courses people take to get teaching qualifications. DPhils/PhDs in the UK are research degrees. They often do not include much teaching, and they often include little teacher training even if they include some training. These qualifications are something some students pick up along the way to certify that they are able to teach. Think of it like taking a certification course at the teaching/learning center at your university. American applicants likely do not have any such qualifications unless they have taking such a course and received a certification certificate.


I bite:
"secondary education" -- usually equivalent to highschool
"higher education" -- college, university
for secondary education, what is a "level of qualification" --- e.g. A-levels, GCSE (=types of degrees)
"grade" -- mark (e.g. A, B, First, Third, Fail)
"quantification result" -- unsure, would need to know context
"training/development courses or qualifications" outside graduate work? -- e.g. training as a First Aider, or in presentation skills as provided centrally by the university


I’ve been thinking of starting a mini The Professor is In-esque service for North American philosophy applicants applying to the UK. There are a lot of ways applicants coming from the US and Canada could quite easily UK-ify their apps. I know there is a general dislike amongst philosophers for anyone trying to use their skills to make money but I’m curious if people in this thread think there would be sufficient interest in this and also what the yuck reaction is. (Cheaper then Prof is in, philosophy only)

ultimately accepted a different job

DragonsDen: As an American ABD who applied to UK jobs without ever getting a bite, I think this would be very useful. I had particular difficulty with the expectations for JRF (junior research fellowship) proposals at Oxbridge; I mostly stuck to my plans for turning my dissertation into a book as The Professor Is In recommended, but in retrospect I think this advice makes less sense for a 3-year research-only postdoc, which likely expects a developed second project idea, than for a 1-2 year US postdoc with teaching expectations. The ratio of US/UK jobs is particularly high this year, given differing Covid impacts on budgets and the A-level chaos, and that's probably still going to be true next year -- you're not going to see US equivalents for schools like Edinburgh or Durham hiring 4-5 candidates in one year. Also, The Professor Is In seems to be jumping ship to alt-ac, so there should be even more need for these kinds of services, particularly philosophy-specific ones.

Interested party

DragonsDen, my aim is a UK/Europe job and I think I might greatly benefit from your services. I'd be really interested in talking. We can't PM on here obviously but you could email me at [email protected]


UK job ads typically come with bullet-pointed lists of a dozen or so criteria which it is essential or desirable that the candidate fulfils. They then sometimes ask candidates to address in their applications how they fulfil these criteria. Should one simply change one's cover letter to bullet points? It seems nigh impossible to address all the criteria in a way that makes sense in prose



Yes, that's fine to do.


This applies more at the interview stage than the application stage, perhaps, but it is really important to (a) know what the REF is and what you are expected to contribute towards it (b) have some understanding of the funding system, relevant bodies, and the sorts of research they tend to fund (c) have some sort of story about how your research might, one day anyway, have quantifiable impact (e.g. on public policy). On the teaching side, teaching qualifications are increasingly important, though I doubt the lack of one would matter that much if you can talk sensibly about teaching as if you don't have a qualification when you start you will be made to get one. These requirements get more onerous as you go up the scale (e.g. from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Reader to Professor).


As for Annie's comment, I think it depends on the application. Sometimes you are told to submit a "supporting statement", which is where you demonstrate you meet the criteria. I always view this as not needing to have the format of a cover letter--so perhaps bullet points could work here, so long as it is easy enough to read. Other times the system forces you to do this in the cover letter itself (i.e. there is no place to upload a supporting statement) in which case I've always tried to do it in prose. One tactic is to simply use the language used in the criteria. So, if the criteria says you are expected to have "internationally excellent" research outputs (this is REF language) you should use this wording, with some indication of how you are backing this up (e.g. I have published in X journal, where "X" is prestigious).

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