Graduate Teaching Assistants (trained PhD students or postdoc researchers who assist teaching), can obtain formal recognition of their university teacher status. Although a PhD degree confers ‘researcher’ status, it does not highlight your valuable experience of teaching at university. Obtaining Associate Fellowship of the HEA (AFHEA) (at Higher Education Academy) via the Imperial STAR Framework formally recognises your university teaching role. An AFHEA application involves your writing, reflectively, about your teaching activities: we will help you ‘reflect on your own teaching practice’ and write in the appropriate style. Although it is less than three pages in length, your application must be written in an education style instead of scientific style. You need to show fulfilment of some basic (but important) criteria. The Imperial STAR Framework teaches you the style and guides you through the application process. Imperial is enthusiastic about supporting its GTAs and we have supported many more than the national average to become AFHEAs in our first year of the STAR Framework. 

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

Who can be a GTA?

PhD students, researchers and postdocs who have completed the basic training required by their department/faculty. 

How do I get basic training to become a new GTA?

Training information for:

Specialist advice for postdocs

NB Basic training is normally compulsory for GTAs, especially for those that assess undergraduate work.

How do I get STAR training to get recognised university teacher status?

Experienced GTAs should attend an 'Introduction to AFHEA' session. You will be introduced to the criteria for AFHEA status and guidance on ‘reflective writing’.

There is no completion deadline: the assessors meet throughout the academic year so you can go at your own pace.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Alison Ahearn (

Specialist advice for postdocs

We provide help and advice with HEA Fellowship for researchers and postdocs.