Difference Between Research Professor and Professor

Let us check out the difference between research professor and professor in the university. The university as we know it is a place of learning for grown up students who are on the other hand called undergraduates or postgraduates. Specifically, a university is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several academic disciplines.

Teachers in the university are not normally identified as ‘teachers’. They are particularly called lecturers. These lecturers are recognized based on their academic levels and achievements over time. This recognition is steeped in the kind of research and the landmarks they have made or achieved so far.

As said earlier, we have this lecturers coming in levels and kinds. The list of teachers’ levels obtainable in universities are:

  • Lecturer
  • Visiting Professor
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Affiliated Professor
  • Research Professor
  • Assistant, Associate or Full Teaching Professors
  • Clinical Professor
  • Honorary Professor
  • Professor Emeritus

In this article, our focus is paid on defining the difference between research professor and professor in terms of their individual roles and responsibilities in the academic scene. Obviously, there are many features that convince me of the striking dissimilarities between the two academic positions. So, what is or are these noticeable differences?

Research Professor

A professor who does not take on all of the classic duties of a professor, but instead focuses on research is who is known as research professor. Research Professors typically conduct research in their field of interest and also teach undergraduate and graduate students.

They may also mentor graduate students who are working on their theses or dissertations. Research Professors typically have a strong commitment to their research and also to teaching the next generation of scholars.

At most universities, research professors are not eligible for tenure and must fund their salary entirely through research grants, with no regular salary commitment from internal university sources. In parallel with tenure-track faculty ranks, there are assistant and associate research professor positions.

Read Also: Types of Courses Professor Teaches


Generally, anyone who is holding some academic rank at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Professors typically teach undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities. They develop course materials, such as lectures, syllabi, assignments and examinations.

They also conduct research in their field of expertise and publish their findings in academic journals. Professors typically specialize in one particular subject area, such as English literature or biology. In universities with graduate schools, professors may mentor and supervise graduate students conducting research for a thesis or dissertation.

In many universities, full professors take on senior managerial roles such as leading departments, research teams and institutes, and filling roles such as president, principal or vice-chancellor. The role of professor may be more public-facing than that of more junior staff, and professors are expected to be national or international leaders in their field of expertise.

Requirements You Need to Become Professor and Research Professor

To become a professor, you need at least:

  • A master’s degree in your field of interest.
  • In addition to their coursework, professors must also complete a teaching practicum, which gives them the opportunity to gain experience leading classes and working with students.
  • Some colleges and universities also require professors to complete a research project as part of their job duties.
  • Research professors typically need a doctorate degree in their field of interest as well.
  • They might also need to complete post-doctoral research before they can pursue a career as a research professor.
  • Additionally, research professors often need to secure funding for their projects, so they might spend time writing grant proposals. Once they have secured funding, research professors typically spend most of their time conducting research and writing papers about their findings.

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