Academic ranks in the United States

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Academic ranks in the United States are the titles, relative importance and power of professors, researchers, and administrative personnel held in academia.


1 Professorship

1.1 Most common hierarchy
1.2 Background
1.3 Temporary faculty and special appointments

2 Research personnel
3 Teaching personnel
4 Other
5 Administrative ranks

5.1 Officers of the corporation
5.2 Academic administrators

6 See also
7 References
8 External links

Main article: Professors in the United States

This article duplicates the scope of other articles, specifically, Professors in the United States. Please discuss this issue on the talk page and edit it to conform with Wikipedia’s Manual of Style. (May 2016)

Education in the United States

By state + territory
By subject area
History of
Issues: Finance – Law – Literacy – Reform
Levels: Primary – Secondary – Higher

Education portal
United States portal


Most common hierarchy[edit]
For regular faculty (i.e., not counting administrative positions such as chairmanships or deanships, nor positions considered “staff” rather than faculty), the descending hierarchy in most cases is:

Distinguished, Endowed or University Professor (Other such titles of special distinction vary by institution)
Professor (“Full Professor”, i.e. the destination of the “tenure track,” upon exhausting all normally-expected promotions)
Associate Professor (A mid-level, usually tenured, professor)
Assistant Professor (typically entry-level for “tenure track” positions which lead to Associate Professor)
Research Associate, Lecturer, and Instructor (usually non-tenure-track positions, sometimes with their own respective ranking hierarchies)
Adjunct Professor/Lecturer/Instructor (often part-time)

Somewhat outside the regular hierarchy:

Clinical Professor, Professor of Practice, Research Professor. The first two apply to people who have outside activities such as medical p