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Professor or Doctor

  1. Sep 11, 2011 #1
    Some of my lecturers are Doctors and some are Professors - so one lecturer might be called Dr. Jack Johnson and another might be Prof. John Jackson .... I have a few questions related to this:

    What must someone do to earn title of Professor?
    Is Professor better than Doctor?
    Do Professors also have Doctorates?

    Cheers!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2011 #2

    Hootenanny

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  4. Sep 11, 2011 #3

    D H

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    Thread moved to General Discussions.
     
  5. Sep 11, 2011 #4

    Borek

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    I have a feeling it was discussed in the past, search the forum. There is no single answer, as it is country dependent.
     
  6. Sep 11, 2011 #5

    jtbell

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    Yes, the question came up recently, but finding it in a search is tricky because it's buried in a thread about the TV show "The Big Bang Theory." :rolleyes:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=3393265#post3393265

    I remembered posting a response, so I searched my old posts in this forum for the word "professor."

    To summarize: "Doctor" means the person has an academic degree such as Ph.D. or M.D. "Professor" is the title of a academic job (position) which usually requires the holder to have a Ph.D. or similar academic degree. When someone is both a "Doctor" and a "Professor", what you call him when you talk to him depends on local custom.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  7. Sep 11, 2011 #6

    Borek

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    Depends on the academic system. In Poland (and I think in Germany, perhaps somewhere else as well) professor is either an academic degree or position.
     
  8. Sep 11, 2011 #7

    jtbell

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    So, a person can be a professor without being employed by a particular university or other institution?
     
  9. Sep 11, 2011 #8

    Borek

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    Yes.

    One is being nominated as a professor (academic degree) by the President of Poland. As president resides in Belweder they are informally known as "belwederian professors" (? - "profesor belwederski" in Polish).
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  10. Sep 11, 2011 #9

    cepheid

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    I think an important point that hasn't been made yet here is that getting a doctorate is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for becoming a professor. It depends on the field, but typically when you graduate with your PhD, you don't immediately get hired for a faculty-level position (i.e. professor). So, as a PhD-bearer, you have the right to be to referred to by the title of "Dr.", but you haven't yet been deemed awesome enough to get a faculty job. This, at least, is how it works in North America. Instead, you're (hopefully) hired into a position as a researcher to continue to do work in your field. Many of these post-doctoral researchers are referred to as, appropriately enough, post-doctoral researchers or "postdocs" for sure. Postdocs are "Drs." but not "professors." In my field, it is necessary to go through one or two post-doctoral positions in which your only job is to do research/science (i.e. you have little to no administrative or teaching responsibilities). You just publish like crazy and try to make a name for yourself in your field in the hopes that you will get hired in some tenure-track position eventually, e.g. assistant professor. However, this is far from guaranteed.

    Disclaimer: I'm just a lowly PhD student and can only go by what others have told me about the academic career path post-PhD. I'm not speaking from personal experience.
     
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