Associate professor

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Associate professor
Socrates Louvre.jpg
Socrates, one of the earliest recorded professors.[1]
Names Professor
Activity sectors
Competencies Academic knowledge, teaching
Education required
Typically a doctoral degree and additional academic qualifications
Fields of
Related jobs

Associate professor (frequently capitalized as Associate Professor) is an academic title that can have different meanings. In North America and universities elsewhere using the North American system, it is a position between assistant professor and a full professorship. In some Commonwealth countries, the title associate professor is often used in place of reader, which is used in the United Kingdom and a number of other Commonwealth universities;[2] this usage is typical of universities in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in South Africa, India, parts of Southeast Asia, Ireland and other countries. The title associate professor in those countries, like the title reader, corresponds to a full professorship in North America.


Traditional system[edit]

The table presents a broad overview of the traditional main systems, but there are universities which use a combination of those systems or other titles. Some universities in Commonwealth countries have also entirely adopted the North American system in place of the Commonwealth system.

North American system Commonwealth system
(higher tier, including Distinguished Professor or equivalent)
Professor Reader (mainly UK) or Associate Professor (mainly Australia, NZ, South Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Ireland)
Associate professor Senior Lecturer or Principal Lecturer
Assistant professor Lecturer

Adoption of American titles by Commonwealth universities[edit]

Increasingly, some universities in Commonwealth countries have adopted the American hierarchy of titles.

The University of Western Australia, for example, adopted the American system in 2009; those who until then held the title lecturer received the new title assistant professor, previous senior lecturers received the new title associate professor, previous associate professors under the old system received the new title professor, and previous professors under the old system received the new title Winthrop professor.[3] Under this methodology the titles correspond in the following way:

Old titles New titles
Professor A higher/named professorship (e.g. "Winthrop Professor")
Reader or Associate Professor Professor
Senior Lecturer Associate Professor
Lecturer Assistant Professor


  1. ^ David K. Knox Socrates: The First Professor Innovative Higher Education December 1998, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 115-126
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Schedule A: Salaries and Casual Rates". Academic Staff Agreement 2010. University of Western Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2012.