Professor (highest academic rank)

Professor (informally also known as full professor) is the highest academic rank at universities and other institutions of higher education in parts of the world. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of the highest rank.


Commonwealth and European usage

In most Commonwealth nations (such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, English-speaking Caribbean) and northern Europe, professor is the title of the most senior academics at a university and not a generic label for all university academics.[1] A professor is a highly accomplished and recognized academic, and the title is in most cases awarded only after decades of scholarly work to senior academics.[2] In the United Kingdom, approximately 10% of university academics hold professorships.[1] In Zimbabwean universities professorship is usually awarded after many years of postdoctoral research and teaching. It is also granted after considering the number of articles that a postdoctoral lecturer has written in renowned academic journals as well as many cited academic articles.

North American usage

In United States and Canada the word professor is also used in the two lower ranking positions, assistant professor and associate professor.[3]


  1. 1 2 "What is a Professor?: Professors and professorship: origins and history". University of Leeds. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  2. "UK Academic Job Titles Explained - Academic Positions". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  3. Virginia Valian (1999). Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women. MIT Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-262-72031-1.
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