Hello, my name is Nausheen, and I am a second year PhD student in History of Art. I research spolia and the reuse of architectural material in Islamic Iberia. In this blog, I will share my experiences with working while studying for a PhD.
Working while you study
Doing a PhD will help me in my career prospects, whether that be working in academia or in museums and the heritage sector. So, it was always important to me to get professional experience alongside a PhD.
The University of York and the Department of History of Art have provided me with opportunities and experiences that are valuable to this end, including a Research Assistantship and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (more on this below!).
Second, York’s History of Art department is home to the Islamic Art Research Cluster, which provides a forum for the study and research of Islamic art and architecture through workshops, conferences, language study, and exhibitions. All of these experiences have enriched my PhD research and have made studying at York even more exciting and inspiring.
York is an excellent place for students who wish to work while they study. In my first year, I was appointed as a Research Assistant for the Centre for Medieval Studies and in my second year I am currently working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of History of Art. Through these work placements, I was not only able to help fund my PhD, but also gain valuable research and teaching experience. The University also offers additional training for GTAs through the York Learning and Teaching Award (YLTA), which can help support a future teaching career within academia. Even if you’ve never taught before, there is plenty of support and training available through your respective department and other university-wide programmes.
There are other options too, including working as a Student Ambassador, Student Fundraiser, Student Content Creator, Writing Centre tutor, or in the various on-campus and city centre cafes, restaurants, and pubs. I am a content creator, which is why I’m writing this blog piece! There are opportunities to create content in the form of blogs, vlogs, and other social media. There is something to cater to everyone’s skill set.
My top tips:
I hope this has shown you that working alongside studying for a PhD is a viable option. There are many opportunities to do part-time work while studying, but it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are my top tips to help you through the process:
- Plan ahead: Make a daily, weekly, and/or monthly timetable. Manage your time wisely by plotting down deadlines, meetings, work hours, etc.
- Speak to your department and supervisor: Most campus-based jobs, such as Graduate Teaching, require you to have the support of your supervisor. Some applications will also require a letter of recommendation.
- Find a balance between work and studies: Part-time work such as teaching, research, and tutoring can be a rewarding experience. It can help boost your CV, help you make connections in the field, and provide some funding for your degree.