Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PTA’s) - Contracting Guidance for Managers and Students (Regular/Pre-Scheduled Work)

The document PTA workshop feedback summary outlines the feedback and recommendations that we received during a review of the pilot PTA contracting process in April 2019.  Thank you to everyone who was able to contribute to the review.  We will continue to share updates on the progress and outcomes of this review and if you have any questions in the meantime please contact us at

From 24th September 2018, postgraduate students who were engaged for regular/pre-scheduled work were employed on 3 month, 6 month, 9 month or annualised fixed term contracts of employment to ensure equality of treatment with other colleagues on similar working patterns.  

Postgraduate students who were engaged for short term assignments of up to 12 weeks' duration continued to be engaged via the Claims Payroll.

These changes have formed part of an ongoing review and 12 month pilot of our contracting arrangements for workers, and further changes are being agreed for the administration of PTA contracts in 2019/20 that will be communicated shortly.

There are many benefits to the new contracting arrangements including:

  • Greater professionalisation of the Postgraduate Teaching Assistant role, including clear association with the Education and Scholarship academic terms and conditions of employment;
  • Enhances students' future employment opportunities by including employment status on CV’s;
  • A commitment by both parties - in terms of the University to provide work and by the employee to undertake the work that has been agreed;
  • Participation of postgraduate students in induction, probation, training and Performance Development Review procedures (via ePDR) for which payment will be made for participating in these activities;
  • Membership of the university’s pension scheme arrangements “Universities Superannuation Scheme” and other benefits received by employees of the University, including sickness benefits;
  • Ensures that the terms and conditions and benefits are applied equitably with other employees on similar contracting arrangements.

A flowchart setting out the current arrangements can be found here: PTA Process . This will be updated shortly to reflect any further changes to the administration of PTA contracts in 2019/20.

Further information and frequently asked questions for Postgraduate Teaching Assistants can be found here for PTAs and here for Managers.  Queries relating to hours of work should be referred to your academic manager.

If you have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts:

College Please contact
College of Engineering, Mathematics & Physical Sciences
College of Humanities

College of Life and Environmental Sciences
College of Social Sciences and International Studies
University of Exeter Business School
University of Exeter Medical School

For queries relating to payroll - please contact

For queries relating to contracts - please contact