Academic posts at Oxford

All academic posts at Oxford have a formal association with a college, and both the college and the University (for example, the subject department or faculty) are represented on selection committees.

The University website has further information about the collegiate system at Oxford.

All holders of academic posts undertake both teaching and research.

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This is the main academic grade at Oxford, roughly equivalent to associate professor in the USA.

Associate Professors are appointed for an initial period of up to five years, at the end of which a review takes place with a view to reappointment to retirement.

There are two basic types of associate professorship depending on the nature of the college association.

1. Associate Professorships with a tutorial fellowship

Most associate professorships are associated with a college tutorial fellowship. The associate professor’s teaching time will be split between duties for the University (undergraduate lectures, teaching masters and doctoral students etc) and duties for the college (tutorial ie very small group teaching and associated pastoral and administrative duties). 

2. Associate Professorships without a tutorial fellowship (NTF)

Some associate professors do not hold a tutorial fellowship with their associated college, either because the college does not admit undergraduates, or because there is no undergraduate teaching in their particular subject area (eg Education). They receive 100% of their salary from the University in return for additional teaching and/or administrative duties in the department or faculty.

Titular Associate Professorships

Occasionally titular associate professorships may be advertised where the college will bear all of the combined costs of the appointment until such time that the University is able to fund its share and so make a normal appointment. In such cases the individual will hold a college tutorial fellowship; they will be expected to undertake some duties for the department or faculty while holding the title but the majority of duties will be for the college.


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This is the senior academic grade at Oxford, equivalent to full professor in the USA. Professors are expected to take an academic leadership role within their department or faculty as well as more widely in the University and beyond. They concentrate on teaching masters and doctoral students but may give undergraduate lectures as well. They are always associated with a college but do not hold a tutorial fellowship, and 100% of their salary comes from the University. The majority of professorships (also known as “chairs”) are statutory, for example, they are permanent posts within the University’s staff structure, although occasionally a fixed-term professorship may be created in particular circumstances.


Titular Professorships

Particularly distinguished associate professors may be awarded the title of full professor, either in a regular exercise for the conferment of titles, or by a panel chaired by the Vice-Chancellor as cases arise on recruitment or in between exercises. The award of the title does not change the post or the duties of the holder; it is simply a means of recognising an associate professor’s academic distinction.

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Some academic staff hold readership posts at an intermediate level between that of full professor and associate professor. No new appointments are being made to readerships.

In addition, some staff hold the title of reader but this title is no longer available for new conferrals.

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Departmental Lecturerships

Departmental lecturers undertake teaching and research in their subject but typically will not be as far advanced in their career as staff on the associate professor grade. They may be linked to a college on a personal basis but these posts do not involve holding a tutorial fellowship.

Language teaching posts

Language teaching in Medieval and Modern Languages, Oriental Studies and Classics is carried out by Instructors and, for modern languages, native-speaker Lectors. These staff are not expected to carry out research (although some may do) and are not normally attached to a college.

Senior research posts

Many of the staff employed on senior research posts will undertake some teaching, although the principal focus of their role is research. A number of them hold the title of professor. They may be linked to a college on a personal basis but these posts do not involve holding a tutorial fellowship.

College Lecturerships

Many colleges appoint their own staff to teach their undergraduate students. College lecturers generally have a link to the relevant department or faculty but are not employed or paid by the University.

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Tutorial fellowship

A college appointment which carries with it an obligation to undertake undergraduate teaching in very small groups (tutorials) and other duties.


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