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When do profs get tenure?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by greenmac, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. greenmac

    greenmac 2+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Do professors typically get tenure at the associate prof level or the full prof level? Or is tenure given independent of rank?
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  3. paramour

    paramour 7+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    There are actually three 'ranks' for professors: assistant, associate, & full. One starts as assistant and the transition to associate (not full) occurs when one becomes tenured.
  4. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    At most schools.

    I'm pretty sure Harvard, Yale, and a few others only have tenure at the full professor level. Could be wrong, but I think that's the case anyways.
  5. elphaba

    elphaba 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Midwest US
    The above is true (the "standard" I think), but the sequence can also change based on the professor's qualifications. I work at a university and deal with contracts and promotions on a regular basis, and we've had professors hired at the associate or full level, or transition from assistant to full with tenure, just based on how well-known they are (past research and such... not necessarily teaching status at other universities; we've had a few come in with zero prior teaching experience, but insanely impressive credentials in terms of publications and such).

    In terms of timing, again it depends on the type of work you're doing... I've heard of some profs not getting tenure for 10+ years after their initial hire date, and others who are tenured within a year or two, mostly based on evaluations and research.

    But yes, what paramour said is standard....
    assistant --- associate (+ tenure) --- full

  6. paramour

    paramour 7+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    Yeppers, as Ollie & elphaba indicated--this is SOP; however, it may vary by university (time required between each also varies by uni).
  7. toby jones

    toby jones 2+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    Psychology might be different from my field... In my field then jobs in the US are (if you are lucky) 'tenure track' rather than people getting tenured jobs straight out of PhD. If you aren't so lucky then you get a one or two year contract... But you surely won't get tenure first off - so you aim for a post-doc or two then 'tenure track' or perhaps try and get 'tenure track' without going the post-doc route.

    (Things are different outside the US e.g., in the UK or Australasia - though increasingly mirroring the US system).

    5 years after you start your 'tenure track' you come up for tenure. Typically you get one year of teaching exemption so that you have one year to prepare for your tenure application. You either get tenure or... You pack your bags.

    Sometimes people manage to get a tenured offer before they come up for tenure at their tenure track institution. Lucky lucky them. But generally speaking... Up for tenure 5 years after staring on a tenure track job (only the publications you got during that tenure track job are allowed to count towards your tenure). If you get tenure then you go from 'assistant proff' to 'associate proff'.

    Once you have a tenured job you certainly wouldn't take a step back and accept a 'tenure track' job someplace else. I know people (who published books and a number of articles) during their tenure track who failed to get tenure (mostly for political reasons). There is a fair amount of angst involved... Support of department is one thing... Support of university administration can be quite another (and in some institutions they undermine the departments decision).
  8. empathiosis

    empathiosis 10+ Year Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    It varies greatly between institutions. In all of the institutions I've worked (I'm an academic librarian) tenure is independent of promotion. They're totally separate applications. Tenure clocks also vary between institutions but are generally 5-7 years. Where I currently work, librarians receive tenure and we have concurrent academic rank. I was promoted in my fourth year and tenured in my fifth year.

    I think that's pretty standard: first a promotion, then tenure the following year. But again, it varies. For people who are coming in with tenure from another institution they can be put on a fast track for tenure at their new institution. Rank at hiring also depends on things like credentials, prior experience, etc.

    A good place to get a feel for these sorts of issues is the Chronicle forums at


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