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Graduate Teaching Assistants

Located at the heart of professional military education in the United Kingdom, the Defence Studies Department (DSD) is committed to developing a broad understanding of defence, security and history by means of its research and teaching. DSD is a multidisciplinary department, and this is reflected in the wide range of subjects covered in its research outputs and in the subjects taught.

Its staff provide regular support and advice to policymakers, particularly within the Ministry of Defence. Through these activities, DSD contributes to the reputation of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in professional military education.

Opportunities exist for PhD students to apply for Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) roles in the School of Security Studies. You will need to apply to either Defence Studies or War Studies. There are possibilities for working at both departments but you should be aware of the limitations/difficulties of doing so (see below for more detail).   


Diversity and Inclusion

The School of Security Studies is committed to fostering an inclusive climate by ensuring equality and inclusiveness in our working, learning, research and teaching.   In both Departments, you will be required to attend workshops, as part of your induction, that are focussed on promoting awareness of D&I issues. 

How to Apply


If you are a Returning GTA to Defence Studies

The online application will open on 14 May 2021 and will close on 28 May 2021. The interviews will be held on w/c 7 June 2021.

Application Form

A reference from your supervisor is required prior to interview (including if you have taught as a GTA previously). Maximum 200 Words. Please ask your PhD supervisor to send this directly to


If you are a New GTA or new to the Defence Studies Department

The online application will open on 14 May 2021 and will close on 28 May 2021. The interviews will be held on w/c 7 June 2021.

Application Form

If you have not taught in the Defence Studies Department previously you must provide a confidential Academic-Reference GTA letter of recommendation from your PhD Supervisor (if you have not been a GTA before) OR from your module convenor (if you have been a GTA external to the department). Please ask your PhD Supervisor / Module Convenor to send a reference / letter of recommendation direct to

Your CV must include your areas of expertise, the title of your PhD the name of your PhD supervisor, the starting date of your PhD, the expected date of completion and any teaching experience and training courses in the field of teaching that you may have attended (All PhD candidates are invited to submit an application regardless of whether or not they have taught before. Training courses for teachers are offered at King’s College London (see the ‘Preparing to Teach’ course). You are strongly encouraged to attend them in preparation for your application.)

Your personal statement must explain your reasons for applying, your academic strengths, your teaching experience (if any), training courses in the field of teaching and why you think you are a well-suited candidate for this position



Interviews for positions in Defence Studies and War Studies will take place online Via MS Teams. If you are interested in applying for a GTA position at the Defence Studies Department in Shrivenham and Department of War Studies in London, please complete both application forms.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility or the application procedure, please contact Laura Sheppard

Teaching at DSD

Teaching at the JSCSC has certain unique features, for example, across all courses, we teach alongside a military ‘Directing Staff’ (DS) who is responsible for key elements of student assessment of all non-academic (non-MA related) work.  The military DS is (in most cases) a British military officer.  Teaching alongside a military DS is a particularly unique feature of the College and comes with a number of challenges and opportunities. 

It is imperative to establish a solid professional working relationship with them in order to set the tone for the students. Part of this includes establishing clear boundaries of your respective roles in the classroom. In such, DSD staff are in the ‘lead’ for the academic components of the class whilst the military DS (as well as the students) provide an excellent source of experience in which to ground some of the discussions.   

Courses and timetable

GTAs teach on our junior air force courses which comprise three different short courses.  IOD1, IOD2 and IOD3 are short courses (between one and two weeks) designed to equip RAF officers with the knowledge necessary to allow them to understand the key elements of air power, its utility as a lever of power, and its effectiveness across the levels of conflict. The academic component also enables RAF officers to understand air power in a broad political and military context and equips them to be effective advocates of air power in a joint environment. It consists of lectures and syndicate room activities, including discussions of international security, air power effects, ethical challenges, leadership and future strategic challenges. We will provide you with further information on these courses during the induction.

Key points: (a) These do not run simultaneously; (b) There are no assessments for these courses. 

We will work with you to identify an appropriate teaching workload and timetable for you.  That might mean more teaching in one term or spreading your teaching lightly across three terms.  This is something we will talk through with you.  You should note, though, that our timetable is not flexible given the nature of our contract with the military.  This has some important implications that you should be aware of before you sign your contract:

  • You cannot amend the time/day of your teaching at DSD.  If you are assigned to a course you will need to ensure that you are available to teach ALL of the timetabled classes.
  • We do not ordinarily provide cover for the classes – except in exceptional circumstances (compassionate or health grounds, for example).
  • Teaching at both DWS and DSD in any one term can be challenging.  If you do decide to teach in both departments it is up to you to de-conflict your timetable and ensure that you are able to teach ALL of the timetabled classes.  You should ensure that this is the case before you sign your contract with DSD.

Rates of Pay

The pay rate for GTAs across the college has been standardised at £17.90. Due to the location of the Defence Studies Department at Shrivenham, GTA work there will involve additional unsociable hours for travel time and being accommodated in the Mess at Shrivenham. With this considered, the unsociable hours allowance will be one additional hour paid for every five hours spent on teaching, preparation and feedback.

In addition expenses will be reimbursed to cover the cost per course of one return second class train ticket, transport to and from Swindon station, and Officers’ Mess accommodation. 

The hours will be paid as follows:

  • 1 x teaching
  • 2 x prep
  • 1 x feedback and support

Due to the location of DSD, travel (one return second class train travel and transport to and from Swindon station per course) and Officers’ Mess accommodation will be reimbursed by the Department. 

Security clearance 

To work at JSCSC you will need to gain a ‘basic’ level of security clearance.  We will contact you in respect to this.  

Inductions at DSD 

Depending on which Dept you apply to you will need to undertake an induction (Paid).  The following provides an overview of what you can expect at DSD:     

  • A one-day induction that will include: introduction to the course convenor; meeting with military colleagues; discussion on the unique teaching environment at DSD; introduction to the courses that you will teach on; provision of key information on the courses you will teach on including teaching materials and how to access readings etc. meeting with existing GTAs. 
  • We will ask you to undertake at least one observation on a course you’ll be teaching on.  We will endeavour to organise this on the same day as the induction.
  • Active Bystander Workshop.