Is it possible (if not usual) to do consulting work during summers while working as academics in Aus/NZ universities? I guess the more important point is, is it allowed by the universities to earn extra money/work through outside consulting work? Thanks, John


This is dependent on the university. This is allowed (generally) but you have to get into contact with the designated person(s) for your department/faculty/school regarding the appropriate procedures in taking on paid consulting work while employed at the university.

Usually you have to have an agreement/contract set up that stipulates specific rules and regulations regarding this. Most universities would have something like this available as many academics do consulting work depending on their research expertise.

I would get in touch with HR and/or your supervisor to find out about your options.

  • Thanks. Is it also possible to teach more courses in summers, than contracted to earn more, in aus/nz system? Or they are not allowed to earn morE money from the uni? – John Feb 23 '15 at 3:38
  • I don't know, it really depends on whether you are contracted per course, in which you would be paid casual sessional rates, or if you are on a fixed term/continuing contract. Generally, on a fixed/continuing contract, you wouldn't be paid an additional sum to take on more courses in the summer because it would just be part of your job. – awsoci Feb 25 '15 at 20:42

As mentioned by awsoci, this is a university specific policy. You will often find detailed information if you google the university of interest with the phrase "paid outside work". Many universities will have their broad policy listed on their website.

Here are two examples:

My impression is that most universities allow academic staff to do outside paid work but there are a range of conditions. In particular (a) it shouldn't interfere with your existing duties; (b) you need to get approval from your supervisor.

The external work is more likely to be seen positively if the external work relates to your academic role (e.g., it enriches your teaching; it transfers knowledge to society; it informs your research; etc.).

As a side point, there is also often a trade-off between time spent doing external and university activities. To take a simple example, if you spend more much time on external work, you may produce fewer research outputs (e.g., grants, publications) and this may slow your promotional progression. Thus, even from a simple financial perspective, there can be a trade-off between income from external work and forgone income due to delayed promotions.

  • 1
    Here are the ones from the major Sydney based Universities as well. Sydney University - UNSW - UTS – o4tlulz Feb 23 '15 at 4:07
  • How about summer (additional) teaching to get extra cash? Is it allowed/usual in Aus/NZ universities? – John Feb 23 '15 at 5:33
  • @john You might want to ask a separate question specifically about teaching, as there are a few different scenarios. But in general, running specialist courses for a fee is relatively common in academia (particularly in fields like statistics). There are different ways that such fees can be handled: (a) private money, (b) money goes into research account for academic, (c) fees just become part of academic workload, possibly with an offset for other teaching activities. – Jeromy Anglim Feb 23 '15 at 5:56

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