Difference Wiki

Professor vs. Associate Professor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Sumera Saeed || Published on February 5, 2024
A professor is a senior academic rank at universities, signifying the highest level of expertise, whereas an associate professor is a mid-level, tenured academic rank below a full professor.

Key Differences

A professor is a senior academic rank in universities, often indicating a faculty member with extensive experience and contributions to their field. Associate professors hold a rank below full professors, having achieved tenure but not yet the highest academic standing.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024
To become a professor, one typically requires years of academic research, teaching, and publications. Associate professors are on the path to becoming full professors, having demonstrated significant academic achievement but still progressing in their careers.
Sara Rehman
Feb 05, 2024
Professors often lead research projects, mentor doctoral candidates, and have a strong influence in their academic departments. Associate professors, while also involved in research and mentoring, are generally building their reputation and body of work to reach full professorship.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024
The title of professor is usually awarded after extensive peer review and recognition in their field of expertise. Associate professors have cleared major hurdles in academia, like earning tenure, but are yet to attain the pinnacle of academic career progression.
Harlon Moss
Feb 05, 2024
Professors typically have more responsibilities in university governance and policy-making. Associate professors, though involved in departmental affairs, usually have lesser roles in administrative and policy decisions compared to full professors.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Academic Rank

Highest academic rank in universities
Mid-level, tenured academic rank
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Experience and Contributions

Extensive experience and significant contributions
Significant achievements but still progressing
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Responsibilities

Leading research, mentoring, departmental influence
Active in research and mentoring, growing influence
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Path to Title

Awarded after extensive peer review and recognition
Achieved after earning tenure, progressing towards full professorship
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Role in University Governance

Greater involvement in policy-making
Lesser administrative roles compared to full professors
Janet White
Feb 05, 2024
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Professor and Associate Professor Definitions

Professor

Plays a key role in university governance and policy.
The professor was instrumental in reforming the university's academic curriculum.
Janet White
Dec 26, 2023

Associate Professor

Actively contributes to academic publications and conferences.
The associate professor presented her findings at an international conference.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

Often leads significant research projects in their field.
The professor's research has been pivotal in advancing renewable energy technologies.
Harlon Moss
Dec 26, 2023

Associate Professor

Engages in teaching, research, and some administrative duties.
The associate professor is popular among students for his engaging lectures.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

Engages in high-level teaching, especially in graduate programs.
The professor teaches advanced courses in quantum mechanics.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Associate Professor

Involved in mentoring graduate students and junior faculty.
The associate professor is supervising several doctoral theses this year.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

A senior academic rank in universities, denoting expertise and leadership.
The professor chaired the department of physics for ten years.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Associate Professor

Building a reputation and body of work in their academic field.
The associate professor's recent publication has garnered significant attention.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

Has a strong influence on their academic discipline.
The professor has published extensively in the field of artificial intelligence.
Harlon Moss
Dec 26, 2023

Associate Professor

A mid-level academic rank, typically tenured, in the path to full professorship.
The associate professor recently received a grant for her groundbreaking research.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

A college or university teacher who ranks above an associate professor.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

A teacher or instructor.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

One who professes.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

The most senior rank for an academic at a university or similar institution, informally also known as "full professor."
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

A teacher or faculty member at a college or university regardless of formal rank.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

(archaic) One who professes something, such as a religious doctrine.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

A pianist in a saloon, brothel, etc.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

The puppeteer who performs a Punch and Judy show; a Punchman.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

One who professed, or makes open declaration of, his sentiments or opinions; especially, one who makes a public avowal of his belief in the Scriptures and his faith in Christ, and thus unites himself to the visible church.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

One who professed, or publicly teaches, any science or branch of learning; especially, an officer in a university, college, or other seminary, whose business it is to read lectures, or instruct students, in a particular branch of learning; as a professor of theology, of botany, of mathematics, or of political economy.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

Professor

Someone who is a member of the faculty at a college or university
Sumera Saeed
Dec 26, 2023

FAQs

What distinguishes an associate professor from a professor?

Associate professors are mid-level academics progressing towards the full professorship, with less experience than full professors.
Sara Rehman
Feb 05, 2024

What are the responsibilities of an associate professor?

They include teaching, research, and contributing to departmental activities.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Can associate professors conduct research?

Yes, they actively engage in research and often lead their own projects.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

How long does it take to become a professor?

It varies, but typically requires many years of academic achievement and recognition.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

What qualifications are needed to become a professor?

A doctoral degree, extensive academic contributions, and recognition in their field.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

What is the primary role of a professor?

A professor engages in advanced teaching, research, and contributes significantly to their field.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Are professors involved in university governance?

Yes, professors play significant roles in decision-making and policy formulation.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Do professors only teach graduate courses?

While they often focus on graduate education, they may teach undergraduate courses too.
Harlon Moss
Feb 05, 2024

Does an associate professor have a say in departmental decisions?

Yes, though their role is usually less than that of full professors.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Is tenure guaranteed for associate professors?

Associate professors usually have tenure, which is a significant career milestone.
Janet White
Feb 05, 2024

Are professors required to publish regularly?

Yes, continual publication is often expected to maintain their standing.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Can professors work outside academia?

Yes, some engage in consulting, research, or other professional activities.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Are there different specializations within the professorship?

Yes, professors specialize in a wide range of academic disciplines.
Harlon Moss
Feb 05, 2024

How is a professor's influence in academia measured?

Through research contributions, publications, and impact in their field.
Harlon Moss
Feb 05, 2024

Are professors always involved in academic research?

Generally, yes, as research is a key component of their role.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Is it common for associate professors to become full professors?

Many aspire to, but it requires meeting high academic standards.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

What career path leads to an associate professorship?

Typically, it follows earning a Ph.D. and gaining experience as an assistant professor.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024

Can associate professors mentor PhD students?

Yes, they often supervise doctoral candidates.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 05, 2024

Do associate professors participate in academic conferences?

Yes, presenting and attending conferences is common.
Janet White
Feb 05, 2024

Do professors have more administrative responsibilities?

Yes, they often have greater administrative and policy-making duties.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 05, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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