Jump to content

Assistant Professors - potential supervisors?


Recommended Posts

I am confused about what specific academic titles mean like assistant professor and associate professor (in the UK you're either a professor or you're not, and you don't become one until much later in your career). I was considering applying to Stanford, where there is only one person who would be considered a match for my interests. I emailed her asking about applying and all, and she never responded. That's all well and good, but the thing is that I don't know if I want to spend the $125 to apply there if I have no idea whether she is even taking on graduate students. She is an assistant professor - does this mean that she would be considered junior faculty and as such not able to take on her own graduate students?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am confused about what specific academic titles mean like assistant professor and associate professor (in the UK you're either a professor or you're not, and you don't become one until much later in your career). I was considering applying to Stanford, where there is only one person who would be considered a match for my interests. I emailed her asking about applying and all, and she never responded. That's all well and good, but the thing is that I don't know if I want to spend the $125 to apply there if I have no idea whether she is even taking on graduate students. She is an assistant professor - does this mean that she would be considered junior faculty and as such not able to take on her own graduate students?

In the US the full time "academics" i.e. people who do teaching and research are generally all referred to as professor, which is a job title. In terms of seniority it goes "Assistant", "Associate" and "Professor". Generally assistant profs are on the tenure track, but not yet tenured. This means they are essentially being tested for 4-6 years. Assuming they make suitable progress then they are given tenure (giving them all the academic freedom they need without the worry of being fired, say :) ). Along with tenure usually comes the promotion to Associate Professor.

There are various merits and demerits of going with an assistant (untenured) vs a tenured prof. My experience has been that the good assistant profs, fresh out of graduate school or postdoc, are full of interesting and relevant research ideas and are willing to help you succeed in your research, they can be quite pushy, which is good. Some tenured profs are like this too, but less so. Joining an assistant prof who is 3.5 years in to their research is a slight gamble, because in 2 more years they may not gain tenure. Although usually they would know this themselves and so would probably not take on any new students.

Hope that helps?!

PS For your Stanford professor, I'm sure she gets a lot of email asking about the application process. Some profs have time to respond, but many do not. I wouldn't take it personally.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.