Academic faculty positions – overview

The academic job market is highly competitive. A PhD is required for tenure-track academic faculty positions, and in some fields, a postdoctoral position is common to gain additional experience.  You will be evaluated on your research accomplishments, publication record, research proposal, teaching and mentoring experience, and track record in obtaining awards, fellowships and grants.

Consider position types

The higher education landscape includes a wide range of institutional types. You can explore these different types using the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. and look up institutions of interest. Does your ideal faculty job include more research, more teaching, or a balance of both? What size university appeals to you? Is it important for you to work somewhere offering graduate degrees?  Different positions types will also have different expectations for hiring and for promotion regarding your research productivity, publication record, and teaching experience.

Build your network

For your academic job search to be successful, you have to develop connections in your department and in your field. Faculty in your department will be your allies and mentors, but it is helpful to connect with other grad students and postdocs as well.  Attend conferences in your field of interest and take the opportunity to form connections with faculty, students and peers. Talk to people from a variety of institutions to learn more about different position types and institutions.  Some conferences will also organize career panels and other professional development opportunities.

Typical timeline for tenure-track faculty positions:

Summer: prepare your application materials
Fall-winter:  jobs posted and applications due
Late fall – early spring:  interviews
Spring-early summer: job offers extended