Academic rank

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Academic organizations typically have a rather rigid set of ranks. Those listed below refer specifically to universities, although colleges and other institutions may follow a similar schema.


Argentina (National Universities)

Academic ranks

Academic ranks include professors and teaching auxiliaries (assistants). There are four kinds of ordinary professorships: Profesor Titular Plenario (the only tenured faculty position), Profesor Titular, Profesor Asociado and Profesor Adjunto. The university may also appoint prominent members of the academic and scientific community as Profesor Emérito (a retired faculty member who demonstrated excellency in both teaching and researching), Profesor Consulto (also a retired faculty member who provides assistance in specific knowledge areas) or Profesor Honorario (an honorary mostly ceremonial position). Temporary professorships include the ranks of Profesor Invitado (who doesn't receive compensation for the position) and Profesor Contratado (who does receive compensation). Teaching auxiliaries or assistants are divided into three categories: Jefe de Trabajos Prácticos, Ayudante de Primera or Ayudante Diplomado and Ayudante de Segunda or Ayudante Alumno (usually, if not almost always, this rank is reserved for undergraduate students).

Administrative ranks

The administration of the university is in the hands of a Rector and a Consejo Superior, both elected by the Asamblea Universitaria, composed of professors, graduates (includes alumni, teaching auxiliaries and all other academic or research staff who do not qualify to vote as professors or undergraduate students) and undergraduate students elected by direct secret and compulsory vote. The Consejo Superior designates several Secretarios to assist the Rector, and chooses one of its members to be the Vicerrector (the deputy to the Rector). Each faculty, school or college is headed by a Decano, designated by the Consejo Directivo or Consejo Académico, composed also by professors, graduates and undergraduate students. It also picks several Secretarios to assist the Dean on the daily business and the Vicedecano (deputy to the Dean). Departments are chaired by a Director, which is assisted by Secretarios and a Director Adjunto (deputy to the Director). They have a Junta Departamental, the collegiate body which governs the department. In some universities non-academic staff is allowed to have a representative on collegiate governing bodies. Also, some universities separate alumni and teaching auxiliaries, allowing them to elect separate representatives to the university government.

Australia and New Zealand

Academic ranks

  • Professor - Level E appointments, equivalent to Chair Professor in certain area in the North American universities.
  • Associate Professor and/or Reader - Level D appointments, equivalent to Professor in North American universities.
  • Senior Lecturer - Level C appointments, equivalent to Associate Professor in North American universities.
  • Lecturer - Level B appointments, equivalent to Assistant Professor in North American universities.
  • Associate or Assistant Lecturer, Senior Tutor, Tutor - Level A appointments.

Administrative ranks

  • Visitor (titular)
  • Chancellor (titular)
  • Deputy Chancellor / Pro-Chancellor (titular)
  • Vice-Chancellor
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor
  • Registrar
  • Dean
  • Head of School


The ranks may differ between the Flemish Community and the French Community, as education is a community matter in Belgium.

Academic ranks (Flemish Community)

  • Gewoon hoogleraar (Ordinary Professor)
  • Hoogleraar (Professor)
  • Hoofddocent (Senior Lecturer)
  • Docent (Lecturer)
  • Doctor-assistant (postdoc research assistant)
  • Assistent (research assistant)

Administrative ranks (Flemish Community)

  • Rector
  • Vice-Rector
  • Decaan (dean, i.e. head of a faculty)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Academic ranks

  • Asistent (grade VII/1 or VII/2, BSc/MSc)
  • Docent (grade VIII,PhD-Reader)
  • Vanredni profesor (Associate Professor)
  • Profesor (Full professor)

Administrative ranks

  • Rektor/Rector
  • Dekan fakulteta/Dean of the faculty
  • Sef katedre/Head of department

Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor's degree (VII/1 stepen stručne spreme-fakultet – osnovne studije-VSS (visoka stručna sprema))
  • Master's degree (VII/2 stepen stručne spreme-magistratura-MR (magistar))
  • Doctorate (VIII stepen stručne spreme-doktorat-DR (doktor nauka))


At the University of Sao Paulo the academic rank system is:

  • Professor Titular (MS-6): equivalent to a "full professor" in the US
  • Professor Associado (MS-5): must hold a Livre Docente title (equivalent to a German Habilitation)
  • Professor Doutor (MS-3): must hold a doctorate; equivalent to an "assistant professor" in the US
  • Professor Assistente (MS-2): must hold a master's or equivalent degree
  • Auxiliar de Ensino (MS-1): only a bachelor's degree is required

In the Federal Universities the academic ranks receive other names:(In portuguese)

  • Professor Titular
  • Professor Associado, levels A, B and C (or I, II, III)
  • Professor Adjunto, levels A, B, C and D (or I, II, III, IV)
  • Professor Assistente, levels A, B, C and D (or I, II, III, IV)
  • Professor Auxiliar, levels A, B, C and D (or I, II, III, IV)

More information: (In portuguese)


Academic ranks

Primarily Research Faculty
  • Distinguished Professor or University Professor
  • Professor (or "Full Professor")
  • Associate Professor (typically, first level of tenure.)
  • Assistant Professor
  • Lecturer
  • Adjunct faculty member
Primarily Teaching Faculty
  • Senior Instructor
  • Instructor (may or may not be tenured.)
  • Sessional Lecturer

Administrative ranks

  • Chancellor (honorific)
  • President and Vice-Chancellor (dual title)
  • Provost
  • Vice Presidents (VP Academic, VP Research, VP Finance, etc.)
  • Associate Vice Presidents (Assoc. VP Academic, Assoc. VP Research, Assoc. VP Finance, etc.)
  • Deans (often also Full Professors)
  • Associate Deans (often also Full Professors)
  • Directors of Administrative Departments
  • Associate/Assistant Directors of Administrative Departments
  • Chairs of Academic Departments (usually Full Professors)

China, People's Republic of

Most universities in the People's Republic of China adopt a four-level academic rank system, i.e. professor, associate professor, lecturer, and teaching assistant. The American title of assistant professor does not exist. Most PhD graduates will be appointed at the lecturer level initially and be promoted to associate professorship after two years of teaching. However, people holding a doctorate from Western universities and with some working experience overseas will normally be appointed at a higher level, sometimes at the full professor level directly.

Academic ranks

Principal faculty ranks in the mainland of PR China are:

Academic trainee ranks in the mainland of PR China are:

Academic title awards for certain purposes:

  • Honorary Professor (in Chinese: 名誉教授, usually for people with great academic or social contribution)
  • Guest Professor (in Chinese: 客座教授, usually for famous scholars of other schools)
  • Distinguished Professor (in Chinese: 特聘教授, usually for people with great achievement in certain field)

Administrative ranks

  • President (in Chinese: 校長)
  • Vice-President (in Chinese: 副校長)
  • Registrar (in Chinese: 教務長) and Secretary of the party committee (in Chinese: 黨委書記)
  • Dean (in Chinese: 院長)
  • Deputy Dean or Associate Dean (in Chinese: 副院長) of schools and faculties
  • Associate Secretary of the party committee (in Chinese: 黨委副書記)
  • Director (in Chinese: 所長/主任) of academic centre and Director (in Chinese: 系主任) of academic departments


Academic ranks


Administrative positions:

  • Rektor (Rector)
  • Dekan (Dean), head of a faculty (human sciences, natural sciences etc.)
  • Institutleder (Department manager), head of a department (computer science, mathematics etc.)

Academic positions:

  • Professor
  • Lektor (Associate professor), time divided equally between research and teaching
  • Adjunkt (Lecturer), same research/teaching division as lektor
  • Post-doc, generally more time for research

Academic degrees:

  • Doktor (Doctorate; e.g. dr.phil, dr.scient, dr.jur.)
  • Ph.D, usually earned after three years of research
  • Kandidat (MA; e.g. cand.mag, cand.scient), usually earned after two more years of graduate school
  • Bachelor (BA), usually earned after three years of undergraduate studies


There are a specific number of posts, which can be applied to when they are vacated or established. A Professor, for example, is a leader of a laboratory or a group.

  • Kansleri Chancellor (only in the Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and in Åbo Akademi).
  • Rehtori (Rector)
  • Vararehtori (Vice Rector)
  • Dekaani (Dean), osastonjohtaja (Head of Faculty)
  • Professori (Professor). Formerly divided into three classes:
  • Vakinainen Professori (Professor Ordinary). Class combined with the ylimääräinen professori by the end of 1970's
  • Ylimääräinen professori (Professor Extraordinary)
  • Apulaisprofessori (Associate Professor). All positions changed into professorships in 1998.
  • Lehtori or yliopistonlehtori (Lecturer), teaching-oriented faculty position requiring a PhD.
  • Dosentti (Adjunct Professor), is not necessarily permanently associated with the university but holds the right to teach (Latin: [venia docendi] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)), similarly to German Privatdozent and Swedish docent.
  • Yliassistentti (Senior Assistant, Assistant Professor), post-doc or senior Ph. D student position), laboratorioinsinööri (Laboratory Engineer) a formally administrative position, the holders of which often conduct research and teach, however.
  • Assistentti (Assistant) and tutkija (Research Associate, Research Scientist) are Ph.D. student positions
  • Tutkimusapulainen (Research Assistant) is an undergrad or Master's student position
  • Ylioppilas (Student)

Notice that Professor is also a title, conferred by the President of Republic as a mark distinction for prominent artists, literary persons or directors of state scientific laboratories. In addition to the ranks mentioned above, the title of Academician may be conferred to the most accomplished scientists, scholars, writers or artists.


One of the peculiarities of the French higher education system is the existence of both a university system and a network of Grandes Écoles. Ranks in the two systems are not always exactly the same. Concerning National Universities : 1) Professeur des Universités (i.e. tenure track professor) is the highest rank. For some academic areas (such as Law, Economics, Management Sciences), some professors are "Agrégés des Facultés" which is the most distinguished titled. 2) Maître de Conférence is the second level (Lecturer or Assistant/Associate Professor)

These two levels are reserved for civil servants. Other positions exist but they are on contractual basis (ATER, allocataire moniteur). Professeur and Maître de conférence are positions with various subcategories but the title is always the same. These subcategories (1st class, 2nd class, Exceptional Class) solely serve to determine the appropriate income they earn. No one can become Professeur or Maître de Conférence if the PhD has not been passed (with honors).

This is not the case for "grandes écoles" where these titles (professor, associate professors...) cover very different status and where a PhD is not necessary.

Germany, Austria

  • Professor (Full Professor, usually called a C4 or since 2004 W3 professor according to the German salary scheme, Ordinarius)
  • Professor (Associate Professor, C3 or W2, Extraordinarius)
  • Privatdozent (after Habilitation, not a paid position)
  • Juniorprofessor (Assistant Professor, W1 (formally independent))
  • Akademischer Rat auf Zeit (A13) or Wissenschaftlicher Assistent (C1, phased out) (Assistant professor, but formally associated to a chair)


Academic ranks

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Lecturer
  • Adjunct Lecturer or Adjunct Assistant Professor (a temporary employee with a short-term contract, usually for 1 semester, but not more than 3 years, as described in the Greek Presidential Decree 407/1980. Adjunct Lecturers are sometimes called simply as "407", after the number of the Decree)
  • Teaching Assistant (That rank was abolished in 1982, but people holding it remain Teaching Assistants until retirement.)

The prefix of Professor is only assumed by Professors and Professors Emeriti, not by Assistant Professors and above.

Administrative ranks

  • Rector
  • Vice-Rector
  • Secretary General
  • Dean
  • Deputy Dean
  • Chairman of the Department
  • Deputy Chairman of the Department
  • Director of the Section

The holders of administrative ranks must be Professors or Associate Professors. The only exception is Secretary General, who is not a member of the Teaching and Research Staff.

Hong Kong

Academic ranks

In the past Hong Kong followed the British system (4 levels). In recent years it is moving towards the North American counterpart, with the titles renamed to their corresponding equivalence (professor, associate professor, and assistant profeossor). Institutions established in the 1980s and 1990s almost entirely follows the North American system, while older ones, notably the The University of Hong Kong is in the process of transition. [1] Depending on institutions, the title of "Professor" is assumed by chair professors and professors, or assistant professors and above.

Administrative ranks


Academic ranks

In Universities (BSc.,MSc., and PhD degrees for students)

Egyetemi tanár (University professor, in general DSc.) Habilitált egyetemi tanár (University professor with PhD., and a special university habilitation) Egyetemi docens (Associate professor,always with PhD.) Egyetemi adjunktus (adjunct professor, usually with PhD.) Egyetemi tanársegéd (assistant professor, generally without PhD.)

In National Schools (in Hungarian 'főiskola', only for students (three year)

Főiskolai tanár (equal with egyetemi docens, with PhD.) Főiskolai docens (equal with adjunct professor in Universities, sometimes with PhD.) Főiskolai adjunktus (equal with assistant professors in Universities) Főiskolai tanársegéd (equal with assistant professors in universities, too).

Academic degrees


Academic ranks

There are 9 ranks, in total, which can be categorized to 3 main levels.

2 levels; equivalent with Assistant Professor:

  • Asisten Ahli Madya
  • Asisten Ahli

5 levels; equivalent with Associate Professor:

  • Lektor Muda
  • Lektor Madya
  • Lektor
  • Lektor Kepala Madya
  • Lektor Kepala

2 levels; equivalent with Professor:

  • Guru Besar Madya
  • Guru Besar


Academic ranks

Emeritus ranks

Administrative ranks


  • Professor (Full Professor)
  • Associate Professor
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Lecturer


Academic ranks

Faculty (all these positions are tenure-track):

  • Professore Emerito (Full professor whose high importance in academic field has been credited by the Faculty council: the Professore Emerito can work at university for life, even after retirement age)
  • Professore Ordinario (Full professor)
  • Professore Straordinario (a professor taking his three years of testing before being confirmed as Full professor)
  • Professore Associato (Associate Professor)
  • Ricercatore (Assistant Professor or Researcher)
  • Assistente (The fourth level of permanent positions. No positions of Assistente are being created currently, but existing personnel keeps the title)

Non-faculty and temporary:

  • Professore a contratto (Professor with a temporary appointment for a given course or lecture series)
  • Professore incaricato (Temporary Professor, as above)
  • Assegnista di Ricerca (Research fellow with a temporary position, usually holding a Ph.D. title)
  • Dottorando di Ricerca (Ph.D. Student)

Administrative ranks

  • Rettore (Rector)
  • Prorettore (Vice-Rector)
  • Preside (Dean of Faculty)
  • Presidente di Consiglio di Corso di Laurea (Head of a Bachelor/Msc curriculum on a given topic)
  • Direttore di Dipartimento (Head of Department)


Japanese research universities typically have similar positions as the North American system. Principal faculty ranks are:

  • Professor, kyōju (教授?)
  • Associate Professor, junkyōju (准教授?)
  • Lecturer,kohshi (講師?)
  • Assistant Professor, jokyō (助教?)

Macau SAR

The University of Macau bascially follows the American system. There are four levels of faculty rank, namely professor,associate professor,assistant professor and lecturer. Assistant professor is the entry-level appointment for any academics holding a PhD degree. People without a PhD can normally only be appointed at the lecturer level. However, there are some exceptional cases whereby an academic without a PhD can be awarded an "invited assistant professorship." The university authorities is trying to raise the percentage of PhD holders among its teaching staff.

The Macau Polytechnic Institute follows the system in mainland China, i.e. professor, associate professor and lecturer. The level of assistant professor does not exist. The assoicate professor is supposed to be the equivalent of the levels of associate professor and assistant professor in the American system. However, a PhD holder will normally be appointed higher than that level.


Staff ranking in Malaysian public universities are based on the British system as a legacy of the British colonising the country. There are only slight variations among the universities but the general ranking is as follows

Academic positions (in descending hierarchy)

  • Profesor DiRaja (Royal Professor, usually retired professors, title bestowed by King)
  • Profesor Emeritus (usually retired professors)
  • Senior Professor (a newly introduced rank mainly to denote salary and hierarchical difference)
  • Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Lecturer/Tutor/Assistant Lecturer
  • Instructor (with pre-degree qualifications)

Administrative (in descending hierarchy)

  • Chancellor (Federal/State Ruler)
  • Pro Chancellor (non-executive)
  • Vice Chancellor
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor
  • Assistants Vice Chancellor
  • Deans of Faculties
  • Head of Programme


The Dutch system is comparable to the U.S. system, although Ph.D candidates are usually employed by the university. However, some call for a general introduction of Ph.D student tracks, where students are given a scholarship instead of being paid wages.

Faculty Positions

  • Hoogleraar (Full Professor)
  • Universitair Hoofddocent (Associate Professor)
  • Universitair Docent (Assistant Professor)
  • Junior Onderzoeker / Assistent in Opleiding / Promovendus (Junior Researcher / Ph.D candidate employed by the university)
  • Docent (Lecturer, teaching staff usually not holding a Ph.D)
  • Student Assistent (Research or Teaching Assistant, (under)graduate student employed by university for research or teaching activities)

Administrative position

  • Rector Magnificus (Head of research and education of a university)
  • Dean (Head of research and education of a faculty/school)
  • Department Chair

Only full professors (including extraordinary professors) are allowed to carry the abbreviation 'prof.'. Although unlikely, it is possible for someone to become Rector Magnificus or Dean without being a full professor. In such cases, usually an honorary 'prof.'-title is granted for the duration of the office, however without the prerogatives usually attached to a full professorship.

New Zealand

see under Australia and New Zealand (above)


Elected faculty positions:

  • Rektor (Rector; one per university; usually assisted by prorektor and/or viserektor)
  • Dekan (Dean; one per faculty; formerly Dekanus (males) and Dekana (females), sometimes assisted by a prodekan)

Professorial ranks:

  • Professor (full professor)
  • Professor emeritus (retired professor; title conferred to all former full professors, regardless of how they are currently employed)
  • Professor II (Part-time professor; professors II are usually full professors in another institution than the one in which they are professor II)

Postdoctoral ranks:

  • Dosent (Reader; rarely used in universities, somewhat more common in professional colleges)
  • Førsteamanuensis (associate professor)
  • Førstelektor (senior lecturer; lecturer who holds a doctorate)
  • Postdoc (senior research fellow; postdoctoral fellow)

Postgraduate ranks:

  • Amanuensis (assistant professor; rarely used in universities, somewhat more common in professional colleges)
  • Universitetslektor (university lecturer; lecturers in professional colleges are called høgskolelektor)
  • Stipendiat (research fellow; PhD-student)
  • Vitenskapelig assistent (research assistant; usually a graduate student)


Academic ranks

Emeritus ranks

Upon retirement, a university may grant honorary status to the former staff member.

Administrative ranks

There are two systems of administrative ranks - one for Universites and other for Institutes.




Research-and-teaching staff:

  • Instructor (asystent)
  • Assistant professor (adiunkt)
  • Associate professor (docent dr habilitowany)
  • Professor extraordinarius (profesor nadzwyczajny)
  • Professor ordinarius (profesor zwyczajny)

and also for a special purpose:

  • visiting professor (profesor wizytujący)
  • professor emeritus (profesor emerytowany)

Teaching staff:

  • lecturer (wykładowca)
  • senior lecturer (starszy wykładowca)
  • instructor (instruktor)
  • lector /foreign language teacher/ (lektor)

Elected faculty positions:

  • Rector (Rektor); one per university; usually assisted by several prorectors
  • Dean (Dziekan); one per faculty;


Administrative ranks:

  • Rector ("Rector"; one per university; usually assisted by a "Prorector")
  • Dean ("Decan"; one per faculty; assisted by a "Prodecan")
  • Head of Department ("Şef de Catedra"; one per Department)

Research-and-teaching staff (higher rank):

  • professor ("profesor")
  • associate professor ("conferentiar")
  • assistant professor ("lector" or "sef de lucrari")

and also for a special purpose:

  • visiting professor ("profesor vizitator")
  • professor emeritus ("profesor emerit" or "profesor consultant")

Teaching staff (lower rank):

  • teaching assistant ("asistent")
  • junior teaching assistant ("preparator")


Administrative positions:

  • Rector (ректор)
  • Provost (Первый проректор)
  • Vice-rectors (Academic, Research, Financial, Foreign Activity)
  • Dean (декан)
  • Associate Deans (Academic, Research)
  • Chair (head) of a department (заведующий кафедрой)
  • Head of Administrative Departments

On a par with Rector, some universities has President Position, but it’s usually honored position. Academic department heads and chairs serve the same function, and there may also be associate and assistant department heads or chairs (though this is unusual). The term "Department Head" usually indicates the administrator is elected to the post by the faculty of the department, while the term "Department Chair" usually means the person is appointed by the dean without election by the faculty.

Academic degrees:

  • Doctor of Science, Dr. of Sc. (the highest degree)
  • Candidate of Science, Cand. of Sc. (like PhD), usually earned after three years of research
  • Master Degree, usually earned after six years of academics (4 years undergraduate studies and 2 years graduate studies)
  • Specialist (e.g. Diploma in Engineering), usually earned after Bachelor plus one year of specialization
  • Bachelor, usually earned after four years of undergraduate studies

The main difference Russian educational system is: There are two degree (Dr. of Sc. and Cand. of Sc.). Usually standard PhD is close to Cand. of Sc. However, if you have PhD and a lot of books, huge academic experience, many published research results, you have a chance to hold the certificate that your PhD equals Dr. of Sc. Also each degree (Cand. and Dr.) is divided into majors. PhD means specialist from any major (excepting medicine) is called Doctor of Philosophy. In Russian educational system the following variety of degree:

  • Doctor/Candidate of Engineering Science
  • Doctor/Candidate of Physical-Mathematical Science
  • Doctor/Candidate of Biological Science
  • Doctor/Candidate of Medical Science
  • Doctor/Candidate of Economical Science
  • Doctor/Candidate of Juridical (Law) Science
  • Etc.

Academic positions:

  • Professor (Full Professor), usually Doctor of Sc.
  • Associate Professor (dozent, доцент), usually Cand. of Sc.
  • Lecturer - time divided equally between research and teaching (it can be both Professor or Dozent)
  • Senior instructor (sometimes "Lecturer")
  • Instructor (sometimes "Lecturer")
  • Assistant Professor (usually doctoral student of Cand. of Sc.)
  • Research Assistant (research technicians, lab managers, and related personnel are generally regarded as administrative staff rather than faculty).

South Africa

Academic ranks

Administrative ranks

In Afrikaans-speaking universities the terms Rector and Vice-Rector are common, whereas English-speaking universities tend to favour the terms Principal and Vice-Principal. The use of Deputy Vice-Chancellor seems to be phasing out Pro-Vice-Chancellor.


Academic ranks

Civil servants:
  • Catedrático de Universidad
  • Profesor Titular de Universidad
  • Catedrático de Escuela Universitaria (to be phased out)
  • Profesor Titular de Escuela Universitaria (does not have to hold a PhD) (to be phased out)
Non-civil servants:
  • Profesor Contratado Doctor (must hold a PhD)
  • Profesor de Universidad Privada (must hold a PhD)
  • Profesor Colaborador (does not have to hold a PhD) (to be phased out)
Temporary and non-Faculty:
  • Profesor Visitante
  • Profesor Asociado
  • Profesor Ayudante Doctor (must hold a PhD)
  • Profesor Ayudante

Administrative ranks

  • Rector (necessarily a Catedrático de Universidad)
  • Vicerrector
  • Secretario General
  • Gerente
  • Decano or Director (often also a Catedrático de Universidad, but not necessarily)
  • Vicedecanos or Subdirectores
  • Secretario del Centro
  • Director de Departamento
  • Secretario de Departamento


Academic ranks

Academic ranks with their corresponding required skills in teaching and research are defined in the University Law (SFS 1993:100) and the University Ordinance (SFS 1992:1434). The hiring of and promotion to the rank of professor are examined in committee before being decided by the appropriate university official, usually the prefekt, dekan or rektor. The examination is based on the views of two or more external examiners. Decisions are frequently appealed to the Appeals Board for Swedish Universities and Colleges (Överklagandenämnden för Högskolan). A similar but less strict procedure is used before the title of docent can be awarded or the employment of a lektor.

In general, the Swedish system of academic ranks contains two intertwined career ladders; one based in teaching, the other based in research. The teaching ladder starts with adjunkt, continues with lektor, and ends with professor. The research ladder starts with doktorand, continues with doktor and then docent, and ends with professor. All titles, except for the doktor degree (PhD) and the docent title, are tied to the employment in a certain position.

It should be noted that the Swedish Government Official Report (SOU 2007:98) on Academic Career Ways published in December 2007 proposed several changes to the here described structure.

Professor: Previously only holders of a Chair were called Professor, but since the 1990s a second career way has been opened, allowing qualified lecturers to apply for promotion. A successful examination will automatically confer professorship upon the applicant. These promoted professors (or Tham professors, after the Minister for Education Carl Tham who adopted the procedure), enjoy most of the advantages of a full professors, but as the institution will receive no extra funding for their research work, they have so far carried a disproportionately large responsibility for teaching. Both unions and universities agree that this must change over time, but progress have been slow. The professor title is tied to the employment - when a professor resigns, he/she will lose the title.

Tillförordnad professor / Adjungerad professor / Gästprofessor: Acting professor, adjunct professor and visiting professor are all temporary professor positions used to solve the need for a certain competence or a managerial resource. An adjunct professor usually works on a part-time basis (e.g. 20%) and has his/hers main employment elsewhere. As the positions are temporary, they require less formal merits, and individuals are usually directly recruited without amy selection process.

Docent: Having considerably increased the width and depth of her research, a lecturer may apply to be awarded a docentur. The hearing is similar to that applied before hiring a professor, but less strict in its form. Through her research, the docent is considered to have acquired venia docendi, the right to teach. Accordingly, she may teach at all levels and act as opponent at Thesis defence. Typically, a docent manages a group of PhD-students or a subdivision of a research group. She often chairs smaller research projects of her own. While once a formal position that could be obtained through an excellent grade on the PhD dissertation, today lecturers apply to be accepted as unpaid docents, meaning that they keep their current job but may use the senior title. The docent title remains with the individual for life.

Lektor: A position as lecturer requires proven pedagogical and scientific skills, usually being understood as teaching experience during his PhD-studies and a defended thesis. Although lecturers are promised a 50/50 partition between research and teaching, for those lecturers unable to find external funding it is largely a teacher's position. Coursework will include all levels, but lecturers do not act as examinators at the PhD-level. As with the professors, a promotion procedure can be applied for junior staff that qualify. Administrative or pedagogical skills can substitute for a lack in research work, if combined with long service. Today, almost all lecturer positions require a PhD exam. Qualification as lektor is the required level to participate in academic elections, as well as to stand for the offices of dekan or rektor. The title of lektor is tied to the employment.

Forskningsingenjör / PostDoc / Forskare / Forskarassistent: Research engineers, PostDoc researchers or Researcher are time limited positions allowing a former PhD student to continue his research. Teaching responsibilities of these junior researchers are very limited and it is considered to be a short cut in the career track. A current commission will most probably suggest changes in the post doctoral positions by the end of 2007.

Doktor: An individual who has obtained the PhD degree. In a few Swedish universities, it is also a permanent teaching position.

Adjunkt: The adjunkt is a teacher's position, with responsibilities on the undergraduate and masters' levels. Having no other qualifications than a Masters' Degree, while the adjunkt is common at both universities and colleges, the former are striving to upgrade adjunkts to lektors. This is done by allowing time to perform or complete PhD-studies, or by systematically replacing adjunkts who have quit or retired with positions as lektors.

Doktorand: The Faculty Board may not accept PhD-students unless they can prove that the relevant finances are available to support the student. While employment as doktorand is unpopular with faculty for economical reasons, it is widely demanded by student organizations and acknowledge in law. The position as doktorand does not per se distinguish between those students who are employed and those benefiting from public or private grants. It is common to prolong the doktorand employment or scholarship period by teaching as adjunkt or doing other work for the department. Such work cannot surpass 20% of a full time position, bringing the four year PhD programme to a total of five years.

Emeritus rank

Emeritus rank are most commonly used for professors, although there is no particular regulation prohibiting a lektor or docent to add the letters em after his title.

Administrative ranks

Rektor: Most universities and colleges being state institutions, the rector is appointed by Government. The appointment is for six years, renewable for two times three years. However, while directors general of all other departments and authorities are parachuted from above, no rector will be appointed without the board of the university's recommendation. This, in turn, will be based on the opinion of lektors, professors and students. A formal account of the hearing process, including aspects of equal opportunity, is part of the recommendation sent to the Government. Rektors will hold the rank of lektor or higher. The private colleges follow a very similar procedure, but with appointment being made either by Government or by the board itself.

Prorektor: The board of the university appoints a prorektor for the university, which will serve as acting rector during the rector's vacation, travels and other absences. The position is proscribed in law; prorektors will usually hold the rank of lektor or higher.

Vice-rektor: Several of the large universities have adopted an organization where vice-rektors will hold a specific office as the rector's chargé d'affaires in a particular domain. The office of vice-rektor is not proscribed in law. Procedures and requirements for election as well as missions have therefore varied widely between institutions. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, Student's Welfare, Education Quality, Off-Campus Programmes, Corporate Affairs, Information Technology and Internationalisation. Vice-rektors will usually hold the rank of lektor or higher, but again, this may vary between institutions.

Dekan, Dekanus: While the internal organization of the higher education institutions are not regulated by law, most have opted to divide into faculties or areas headed by a board and a dekan or dekanus, the dean. Deans are commonly appointed by the rector after hearing the opinion of the lektors and professors. The usually serve with a time limited mandate. Deans will hold the rank of lektor or higher.

Prefekt: Most universities and colleges are subdivided into departements, headed by the prefekt and the department board or, sometimes, by the prefekt alone. Prefekts may be appointed by and report directly to the department board, the faculty board or the rector. There are no formal requirements for a prefekt, but will adjunkts have held the position a prefekt will usually hold a position as lektor or higher.


German-language universities of Switzerland

  • ...

French-language universities of Switzerland

  • Professeur ordinaire (full professor)
  • Professeur extraordinaire
  • Professeur associé (associate professor)
  • Professeur assistant (assistant professor)
  • Maître d'Enseignement et de Recherche (lecturer)
  • Maître-Assistant (Junior Group Leader)


Academic ranks

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Professor ("Named Chair")
  • Professor ("Full Professor")
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Lecturer

There are also Clinical Professor, Adjunct Professor and Adjunct Lecturer positions.

Administrative ranks

  • President or Rector
  • Dean or Director
  • Department Head

United Kingdom

Academic ranks

Academic Teaching and Research/ Teaching and Scholarship Career Pathway

Pre/None Career Grade

Research Career Pathway

Pre/None Career Grade

Changes in Academic Rank at the University of Warwick

The University of Warwick has changed its academic titles to the American system (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor) from the 2006-2007 academic year.

Emeritus ranks

Upon retirement, a university may grant honorary status to the former staff member. In the case of the University of Hull, the ranks correspond as follows:

  • Professor : Emeritus Professor
  • Reader : Emeritus Reader
  • Senior Lecturer : Senior Fellow
  • Lecturer : Fellow

Administrative ranks

There are two systems of administrative ranks - one for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one for Scotland.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland


United States

Academic ranks

Regular faculty:

  • University Professor or Institute Professor (not all universities)
  • Distinguished Professor (usually a "Named Chair")
  • Professor ("Named Chair")
  • Professor ("Full Professor")
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Instructor (sometimes "Lecturer")

Traditionally, Assistant Professor has been the usual entry-level rank for faculty who hold doctorates, although this depends on the institution and the field. While Instructorships seldom require a doctorate, competition for jobs has led to an increase in the number of Instructors who hold PhDs or other terminal degrees. The rank of Associate Professor usually indicates that the individual has been granted tenure at the institution. Professor is often the highest rank attained by a senior faculty member, although some institutions may offer some unique title to a senior faculty member whose research or publications have achieved wide recognition. This is most often a "named chair": for example, the "John Doe Professor of Philosophy". Large research universities also offer a small fraction of tenured faculty the title of "Distinguished Professor" to recognize outstanding and broad contributions to the advancement of a field of study. The most prestigious academic appointment is the University or Institute Professor. Such faculty members are not usually answerable to deans or department heads and may directly report to the University Provost.

In research faculty who direct a lab (1 to 30+ people) can be called Principal investigator.

Temporary faculty and those with special appointments:

"Adjunct" before the name of a rank (Adjunct Assistant Professor, etc.) may indicate a part-time or temporary appointment. Adjunct status may also be given to a faculty member from another academic department whose research or teaching interests overlap substantially with those of the appointing department.

"Visiting" before the name of a rank (Visiting Assistant Professor, etc.) almost always indicates a temporary appointment, often to fill a vacancy that has arisen due to the sabbatical or temporary absence of a regular faculty member.

"Research" before the name of a rank (Research Assistant Professor, etc.) usually indicates a full-time research position with few or no teaching responsibilities. Research professorships are almost always funded by grants or fellowships apart from the regular university budget.

"Clinical" before the name of a rank (Clinical Assistant Professor, etc.) usually indicates a part-time teaching position with limited research responsibilities, especially in the health sciences. At a law school, "clinical" professors may have highly variable teaching and research responsibilities, but all invariably supervise student pro bono law practice.

"Emeritus" before or after the rank Professor or (less commonly) Associate Professor indicates a retired faculty member. Although an Emeritus faculty member is not paid a regular salary, often he or she has office space and at least some access to the university's facilities.

The ranks of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer are used at some American universities to denote permanent teaching positions with few or no research responsibilities. At other American universities, the rank of Lecturer is equivalent to that of Instructor.

Other teaching and research personnel

Fellowships and Research Associate positions are most often limited-term appointments for postdoctoral researchers. They are not usually regarded as faculty positions, although some teaching may be required.

At most American universities, research technicians, lab managers, and related personnel are generally regarded as administrative staff rather than faculty.

At some universities, librarians have a rank structure parallel to that of the regular faculty (Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian, Librarian). Some senior librarians, and often the head librarian, may have faculty or faculty-equivalent rank.

Administrative ranks

Officers of the corporation

  • President or Chancellor (some schools use both titles)
  • Provost (sometimes called 'Chancellor', or 'President' or 'Warden')
  • Associate Provost (a theoretical rank, rarely if ever actually found)
  • Assistant Provost (assists the Provost, as do any associates; not superior to vice presidents)
  • Vice-Chancellors or Vice Presidents (of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Finance, etc.)
  • Associate Vice-Chancellor or Associate Vice President
  • Assistant Vice-Chancellor or Assistant Vice President

Academic administrators

  • Deans (often also Full Professors)
  • Associate Deans (often also Full Professors)
  • Assistant Deans
  • Directors of Administrative Departments
  • Associate/Assistant Directors of Administrative Departments
  • Chairs or Heads of Academic Departments

America's university system is highly variable, with each of the 50 states and the 6 non-state jurisdictions regulating its own tertiary institutions. In general, the terms "President" and "Chancellor" are interchangeable (like "Premier" and "Prime Minister"), including the vice presidents, associate and assistant vice presidents, and so on. The dominant paradigm is president, vice president, associate vice president, and assistant vice president. It is possible for a school to have both a president and a chancellor, the latter being otherwise called a provost (see University System of Maryland); but there are situations where universities have both job titles with quite different applicants.

In California, for example, the chief executive officer of the entire California State University system of 23 campuses is called "Chancellor" while the CEO of each individual campus is called "President" - so, there is an officer called "Chancellor of the California State University", and there is the "President of San Francisco State University". Likewise, the University of California, but the terms are reversed - so there is the "President of the University of California", and below that person in the hierarchy is the "Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles", and so on.

The term 'Warden' is almost never used in the United States, at least not in an academic sense. Where it is used, it typically means "provost" or "dean".

Deans may head an individual college, school or faculty; or they may be deans of the student body, or a section of it (e.g., the dean of students in a law school); or they may be deans of a particular functional unit (e.g., Dean of Admissions, or Dean of Records); or they may be deans of a particular campus, or (unusually) of a particular building (e.g., a university with an elaborate performing arts complex might designate a very senior administrative faculty member as "Dean of the [Name] Performing Arts Center."

Academic department heads and chairs serve the same function, and there may also be associate and assistant department heads or chairs (though this is unusual). The term "Department Head" usually indicates the administrator is elected to the post by the faculty of the department, while the term "Department Chair" usually means the person is appointed by the dean without election by the faculty.


Academic ranks

  • Titular Professor
  • Associated Professor
  • Aggregate Professor
  • AssistantProfesor
  • Instructor
    • Retired Professor
    • contracted Professor (no academic rank)

Administrative ranks (Public National)

  • University Council
  • Rector
  • University Secretary
  • Academic Vicerector
  • Administrative Vicerector
    • Dean (Decan) (One per Faculty)
    • Faculty Council
      • Principal (One per School)
      • School Council
        • Chief of Departament
        • Chief of Chair (Cátedra)

See also

hu:Beosztás (felsőoktatás) it:Cariche accademiche