Senior Lecturer roughly, Associate Professor

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Náplní první lekce je vysvětlení systému vysokoškolských studií a akademických titulů a hodností v anglofonních zemích a jejich porovnání s Českou republikou. Upozorňuje zejména na to, že ne všechny tituly známé z českého akademického prostředí mají své analogie v systému anglickém nebo americkém. Důležitou součástí je i objasnění nejčastěji používaných zkratek před a za jménem. Pozornost je věnována také různým typům oslovení ve formálním styku s kolegy nebo pedagogickými či vědeckými pracovníky univerzit.

Academic Titles and address

  1. Do British academics with PhDs go by the term "Doctor"? I ask because I ran across the webpage of Southampton University. A corresponding US university web page would refer to all these people as "Dr. XYZ" instead of "Professor XYZ." Part of this is, of course, because every lecturer at a US school is a professor, but it's also because PhDs there seem to jealously guard the privilege of being called "Doctor."

In the UK, it's a great honour to be made Professor. Unlike in the US, it's a level that not everyone expects to reach when they start their careers, and I can think of lot sof UK academics who I would consider to be top in their (narrowly defined) fields who made it all the way to retirement without making it past Senior Lecturer (roughly, Associate Professor in US terms). So, it's the reverse of the situation in the US, where any academic might be called 'professor' (since the entry level for career academic positions is Assistant Professor), but where not every professor has a doctorate. (In particular in the creative arts, a Master of Fine Arts is considered to be a suitable qualification for a professorship. In most other fields at most universities, a doctorate is de rigueur.) So, in the US, it's 'special' to have a doctorate. But in the UK, there are far more academics with doctorates than there are professors, so it's 'special' to be professor. In both cases, it's the higher status term or address that's used--so it's unlike the reverse snobbery of surgeons.

The University of Southampton web page lists the members of the University Executive Group (i.e. the top committee at the university). All of the academics listed there are 'Professor' because usually (not necessarily, but usually) only professors are considered for top posts like Vice Chancellor or Dean. The 'Misters' on the list are presumably not academics (e.g. the Director of Finance).

2) If the answer to #1 is "no" or "it depends," what are the rules?
Well, the answer wasn't 'no', so I feel a little silly including this question. But I need it in order to have a 2 between 1 and 3.
3) If graduate students at a UK school are called "post-grads," what are graduate teaching assistants called?
Their positions are called Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) at US universities, but this term is limited to positions that are part of a means to recruit students to a (post-)graduate programme. In other words, you're a GTA if you're getting some kind of (AmE) tuition/(BrE) fee remission. Otherwise, you're a part-time tutor like other part-time tutors, and at US universities, as of a few years ago, the title of that position was Associate Tutor. Such people would be called Dr(.)* So-and-so if they have a doctorate and Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss So-and-so if they don't.

Actually, they'll only be called by those titles in print. At my old university, with the exception of some foreign students (including, when they first got there, some Americans) who are uncomfortable with such informality, students and faculty† are on first-name terms, unless the tutor happens to be a professor. I wonder whether this might be different at other universities. (Is it?)

American colleges/universities differ among themselves with respect to terms of address for faculty members when used by students. At the large, research-led, state universities where a colleague of mine studied, everyone addressed each other by their given names. But when I and my friends ended up teaching at smaller, private colleges, we found ourselves being addressed as Professor or Doctor. (My former employer encouraged Professor rather than Doctor, so as not to create a noticeable division between the doctors and non-doctors.)

4) Are post-grads going for their doctorates addressed differently than post-grads studying for their masters?

Everyone's just addressed by their names. If we needed to put their titles in something in print, it would be their regular non-academic titles (Miss, Mr, etc.). In the UK we do make a distinction between research degrees and taught degrees, though not in the terms of address. Most masters students are on taught degrees, which like bachelor's degrees, involve taking courses and possibly writing a (BrE) dissertation/(AmE) thesis at the end. A research degree is one that doesn't involve taking courses--just researching toward(s) a (BrE) dissertation /(AmE) thesis. At Sussex and Oxbridge [Cambridge + Oxford] (and maybe some other exceptions) research degrees are differentiated from non-research degrees in their titles. An MA is a taught programme, but an MPhil is a research-based master's and the doctorate is DPhil. Many British universities are now heading away from the tradition of research-only doctorates and looking toward(s) American universities for models for partly-taught doctoral programmes. I must say, I think this is a good thing. Graduates of North American doctoral programmes have a big jump on many British graduates in the job market, because they were forced to study much more than the narrow area that I wrote my dissertation/thesis on. But the doctoral programme that a US student enters takes them five years to complete, which is a normal amount of time in the US. In the UK, research-only doctoral programmes are three years, and most of the newfangled teaching+research doctorates that I've seen are four years.

* BrE usually writes abbreviated titles like Dr and Mrs without (BrE) full stops/(AmE) periods, whereas this would be considered an error in AmE.

† Postscript: I should have mentioned that the use of faculty to mean 'members of teaching staff' is originally and chiefly AmE, though it's heard more and more in BrE.

Degree Classifications awarded at University in UK

In the UK degrees are often given with honours if a student passes with specified grades. First, second and third classes are all considered passes, however they can be broken down further.

Honours degrees are usually categorised by the following grades with the highest grade being first class honours:

  • First class honours (1 st)

  • Second class honours, divided into:

    • Upper division, (2:1)

    • Lower division (2:2)

  • Third class honours (3 rd)

If you don’t achieve the standard for an honours degree then they are usually given an ordinary degree without honours.

You would usually see a honours degree written as follows BA (hons) for art subjects, BSc (hons) for science subjects, etc.

There are many, many other types of degrees but these are the most common ones. Once you go abroad you may find other types of degrees entirely. For example in America you can gain an Associates degree.

Type of Degrees available at University & HE

There are many degrees and degree types on offer at university and further education so it would be helpful to give you a quick summary of what all of those letters after a person’s name will actually stand for.

The most common abbreviations:

  • BSc (also known as SB ScB) – Bachelor of Science

  • BA (also known as AB) – Bachelor of Arts

The above 2 are the most common degrees awarded in the UK.

  • MA – Master of arts (postgraduate level course)

  • MSc – Master of science (postgraduate level course)

  • BA Econ (also known as BS, BEc, BSc(Econ), BEconSc) – Bachelor of Economics

  • BEng (also known as BAI, BE, BSE, Bing, BESc, BASc, BTech, BSc(Eng)) – Bachelor of Engineering

  • M.Eng – Masters of Engineering. This is actually an award for non postgraduate study and is the highest award for such in the UK

  • MBA – Masters of Business Administration

  • M.Ed (also known as MAEd or Ed.M) – Master of Education

  • BM BS – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. These are the two degrees awarded upon graduation of medical school, they are usually treated as one degree. Also known as (MB BChir, BM BCh , MB BCh, MB ChB, MB BS etc)

  • Ph.D (or PhD) – Doctor of Philosophy. This has become the highest degree one can earn and is a postgraduate level degree

  • LLB Bachelor of Laws. A first university degree in Law

  • LLD – Doctor of Laws. Doctorate in Law

  • LLM – Master of Laws. A university degree in law that you can only get after your first degree.

Czech University level studies:

University level first stage: Bachelor studies (bakalářské studium):

The Bachelor study programme usually takes three to four years and covers all the main disciplines, except Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Law and some other fields. The programme aims at providing a qualification to both practise a profession and continue studying in a master's programme. This cycle leads to the academic degree of "bakalář" (Bc.) or "bakalář umění" (BcA.) in the field of Arts. Students must sit for a state final examination, part of which is usually the defence of the Bachelor thesis.

University level second stage: Master studies (magisterské studium):

The Master programme lasts from one to three years after the Bachelor. In Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Law, where there are no Bachelor studies, the Master programme lasts from 4 to 6 years (Medicine, Veterinary Medicine: 6 years; Dentistry, Law, Teacher Training for secondary schools: 5 years; Teacher Training for the first stage of basic school: 4 years). Graduates in the Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Theology and Law are awarded the academic degree of "magistr" (Mgr.),  "magistr umění" (MgA.) in Arts, "inženýr" (Ing.) in Engineering, Economics, Agriculture and Chemistry and military fields,  "inženýr architekt" (Ing.arch.) in Architecture, "doktor medicíny" (MUDr.) in Medicine, "zubní lékař" (MDDr.) in Dentistry, "doktor veterinární medicíny" (MVDr.) in Veterinary Medicine. At the end of this stage, students must sit for a State final examination part of which is composed of  the defence of a diploma thesis. In Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine, they must sit for the "státní rigorózní zkouška (State Rigorosum examination). The holders of the degree of "magistr" can sit for a State Rigorosum examination in the same field and defend a thesis to acquire the academic degree of  "doktor práv" (JUDr.) in Law , "doktor filosofie" (PhDr.) in the Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, "doktor přírodních věd" (RNDr.) in natural sciences, "doktor farmacie" (PharmDr.) in Pharmacy, "doktor teologie" (ThDr.) or "licenciát teologie" (ThLic.) in Theology. The abbreviations of all the academic degrees mentioned above are written before the name.

University level third stage: Doctoral studies (doktorské studium):

The third and highest level of higher education consists in studies for the Doctorate under the guidance of a tutor. The programme comprises scientific research and independent study. The programme usually lasts between three and four years. Holders of a Master's Degree (Mgr., MgA., Ing., Ing.arch., MUDr., MDDr., MVDr.) may apply. Studies lead to the academic degree of "doktor" (Ph.D.) or "doktor teologie" (Th.D.) in the field of Theology. The abbreviations are written behind the name. Studies end with the State Doctoral examination and the defence of a dissertation.

What I would stress here is the fact that I really don’t think you should try and equate your degrees with equivalent British degrees. For example, your inženýr (Ing.) embraces Engineering, Economics, Agriculture and Chemistry and military fields, whereas the British BEng (also known as BAI, BE, BSE, Bing, BESc, BASc, BTech, BSc(Eng)) – Bachelor of Engineering will usually be undertaken in one field of engineering.

United Kingdom

Academic ranks

Academic Teaching and Research/ Teaching and Scholarship Career Pathway

In the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and most Commonwealth countries (but not Canada), a professor traditionally held either a departmental chair (generally as the head of the department or of a sub-department) or a personal chair (a professorship awarded specifically to that individual). In most universities professorships are reserved for only the most senior academic staff, and other academics are generally known as "Lecturers", "Senior Lecturers" and "Readers" (in some Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand the title "Associate Professor" can be used instead of "Reader"). In some countries Senior Lecturers are generally paid the same as Readers, but the latter is awarded primarily for research excellence, and traditionally carries higher prestige.


In the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, United States, Canada, and Hong Kong it is a legal title conferred by a university denoting the highest academic rank.

Professors are qualified experts, of the various levels described above, who may do the following:

  • conduct lectures and seminars in their field of study (i.e., they "profess"), such as the basic fields of science, humanities, social sciences, education, literature, music or the applied fields of engineering, design, medicine, law, or business;

  • perform advanced research in their fields.

  • provide pro bono community service, including consulting functions (such as advising government and nonprofit organizations);

  • teach campus-based or online courses with the help of instructional technology;

  • train young or new academics (graduate students);

  • carry out administrative or managerial functions, usually at a high level (e.g. Deans, Heads of Department, librarians, etc.).

The balance of these six fields of professorial tasks depends heavily on the institution, place (country), and time. For example, professors at highly research-oriented universities in the U.S., and Canada, and, as a general rule, in European universities, are promoted primarily on the basis of their research achievements as well as their success in raising money from sources outside the university.


In the academic hierarchy in the United Kingdom and some universities in Australia and New Zealand, reader is the rank between senior lecturer (or principal lecturer in the New Universities) and Professor. The title of Reader may be given in recognition of research or scholarship, with high international reputation, as part of a promotion procedure of academic ranks.

Ambiguity in definition and incomparability with ranking systems in other countries, make the Reader position difficult to place. However, it clearly sits between Senior Lecturer, a British equivalent of Associate Professor, and Professor. As a Professor normal holds a Chair in a particular field, a Reader could be seen as professor without chair. (Similar to the distinction between Professor ordinarius and Professor extraordinarius at some European Universities.) In the United Kingdom, the promotion criteria applied to a Readership are similar to those applied to a Professorship.

Senior Lecturer or Senior Teaching Fellow (or Principal Lecturer in post-1992 institutions) or Lecturer, or Teaching Fellow (or Senior Lecturer in post-1992 institutions)

Lecturer is a term of academic rank. In the United Kingdom lecturer is the name given to those who teach in their first permanent university position. That is, lecturers are academics early in their careers, who lead research groups and supervise postgraduate students as well as lecture courses. However, in the United States, Canada, and other countries influenced by their educational systems, the term is used differently.

Lecturers in most UK universities hold (for the most part permanent) positions in a university which involve carrying out both teaching and research. The term was originally used in contrast to Professor, which was an extremely prestigious and high ranking position typically held by only one or a very few in a department, and Readers. Neither position traditionally required any teaching, although normally professors or readers would do so at least occasionally by choice.

Currently in most Universities in the UK all of these positions require teaching. However, a professor is still the most prestigious and highly paid position, and is normally achieved as a promotion after a readership. The promotion to reader requires external letters of recommendation (as does a professor, similar to US tenure), a strong publication record and (often) a strong record of gaining research funding. Traditionally, a senior lectureship was theoretically equivalent to a readership and demanded the same salary, but reflected prowess in teaching or administration rather than research, and was far less likely to lead directly to promotion to professor. However, in recent years a Senior Lecturer has also had to demonstrate strong research prowess, as well as sound teaching and administrative skills.

Some consider Senior Lecturers as a rank between Lecturers and Readers in many universities, whether their promotion was achieved through teaching or research, and they will normally be promoted to Readerships before reaching Professorships. Senior Lecturers and Readers, however, remain on the same payscale and in many departments still are comparatively senior staff.

Pre-/Non-career Grade

  • Assistant Lecturer, Demonstrator, Seminar Leader, Associate Lecturer, Graduate Teaching Assistant,

Research Career Pathway

  • Professor or Professorial Fellow

  • Senior Research Fellow

  • Research fellow

Pre-/Non-career Grade

  • Research Associate

  • Research Officer

  • Research Assistant

Emeritus ranks (Emeritus is someone who is no longer working but has kept his or her previous job title as an honour)

  • Professor : Emeritus Professor

  • Reader : Emeritus Reader

  • Senior Lecturer : Senior Fellow

  • Lecturer : Fellow

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