How to Address a Professor? Assistant Professor? Associate Professor? etc.



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HONOR & RESPECT

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Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Q&A / Blog On
       Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A / Blog on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
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Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


   

How to Address a Professor,
Assistant Professor, or Associate Professor

* Dr. is used as an honorific if the person has a doctorate: Dr. (name).
   Mr./Ms. is used if an individual does not hold a doctoral degree: Mr./Ms. (Name)
* Anyone holding any of the graded ranks of professor (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, etc.) may be addressed orally as Professor or Professor (Name).
* Graded levels of professor, e.g., assistant professor or associate professor, are not used orally and are seldom used in written direct address. They most often appear in publications and on lists where the specific hierarchial position is pertinent.

Envelope, official:
    (Full name) (post nominal for degrees held)
        (Address)

Envelope, social:
    Dr./Mr./Ms. (full name)
        (Address)

Letter salutation:
    Dear Dr. (surname):
    Dear Professor (surname):



FYI, here is what's come in to the Blog that relates to this office/rank.
   For recent questions sent in, check out Robert Hickey's Blog.

   For specific offices/ranks, check out Robert Hickey's On-Line Guide.


May an Instructor be Addressed as Professor?
       Is it appropriate for a part-time lecturer at a community college to use the term professor to describe himself?
      -- DW

Dear DW,
     Anyone teaching at a college/university level can be addressed in the classroom -- or generally be referred to -- as a professor. The use is tied to the relationship created in classroom between a teacher & student.
    But it's really those with a graded rank of professor -- professor, associate professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, etc. --
who are formally, orally addressed as Professor (Name).
    A lecturer is more correctly addressed as Mr./Ms. (Name) and identify himself as an instructor.
    I suggest you let others call you professor.  Since you are in a hierarchical culture, you should describe yourself as an instructor
.
      -- Robert Hickey

How to Denote I am a Female Professor?
As a professor, how can I bring out my female gender in the email signature?  Not that the gender should be highlighted, but in order to avoid anyone assuming you are a male and calling you 'sir'.
       -- Sanu V.

Dear Sanu V.,
         In English honorifics don't match gender as they do in some other languages. Thus, there are no feminine forms for Professor or Dr.  If someone you don't know contacts you via e-mail and addresses you respectfully (even though they get Sir/Madame/Ma'am wrong) they are honoring your mind and accomplishments. I've seen people insert Dr. (Mrs.) (name) but it's awkward. I'd say you can't elegantly bring it out in an e-mail signature.
         You are probably going to continue to have people who don't know you write to you as Sir if they don't know that Sanu is a woman's name.
        Be kind to them, and don't imply they have made an mistake that offends you. I suggest you not even correct them. They will figure it out. Just focus on the fact that they are treating you with respect in the best way they know how.

        -- Robert Hickey

As a Retired Professor
Am I Still Professor (Name)?

Can you still call yourself Professor after you've retired?  
          -- S.H.W.

Dear S.H.W.,
         In the U.S.: probably not.
         Elsewhere in the world: probably.
         In the U.S., use of Professor (Name) is most often used in oral address — as a courtesy given by others to you — rather than used in writing or used by you when presenting your own name.
         A retired professor with a doctorate would continue to be
Dr. (Name), and identified in an introduction or bio as a former professor.  He or she would not present himself/herself as Professor (Name), but a former student might see you and greet you as Professor (Name).
         It's done a bit differently in Commonwealth countries, where names are more of a resume/curriculum vitae, including every honorific, courtesy title, honor, and degree the person has been awarded. The names get very, very, very long, and they would include
Professor if they ever were one.
         Around the world, they definitely include
Professor with their names if they ever taught a course anywhere. You will see it most often in monarchies (and in South America and the Middle East) where marks of status (special forms of address) are part of the culture and everyone is trying to get their names to be more elevated. They use many specialized honorifics, not limiting themselves to just Mr./Mrs./Ms., using for example Lawyer (Name), Engineer (Name), Architect (Name), Accountant (Name), etc.
      -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Professor Who is A
Retired Officer from the Armed Services?

     Would you by any chance know the proper form of address for a USN Captain who is now a university professor with a PhD?  I read the note on your website regarding context (Captain when he's my commanding officer, Doctor when he's bandaging my foot, or something to that effect), but I wonder what would be suitable with an academic doctor, and in a more formal usage.  I've encountered "Captain Doctor [name]" once or twice on the Internet, but it seems a bit of a mouthful.
             --- P. L. Scott

Dear Mr. Scott:
   
I cover this on page 99 in my book.
    1) Re: "Captain Doctor": As a
In the United States we only use just one honorific at a time. Orally on in a salutation he would be Dr. (name), Professor (name) or even Captain (name),  
    2) Retired officers are entitled to use their ranks socially. But usually when they take another job in retirement, they use forms of address that support the subsequent job -- like the form I provide for professor. So, ask him his preference. He may use both at various times, but he'll clarify what he prefers when in his professorial role.
           -- Robert Hickey

May I Use Professor Dr. (Name)?    
   Dear Mr. Hickey,
    In Europe, university professors use the honorific Prof., or Prof. Dr., in (semi-) formal social context.
    Is it ever acceptable for Americans to do so in the US? It might be valuable to distinguish oneself from a medical doctor.
    Thank you,
    David Uslan, PhD
    Associate Professor of Astronomy
    University of (State)

Dear Dr. Uslan,
    In the UK they have a tradition of using every honorific, courtesy title, and rank one is entitled to. Their name is their resume ... their curriculum vitae.
    So, you see names written ... as you note:
        Professor Dr. David Uslan
    You even see:
        His Excellency the Reverend Captain Sir David Uslan, PhD
    The Germans do it too: Ambassador Professor David Uslan, General Dr. David Uslan etc.
    In the US we have a simplified tradition of just using the one honorific, courtesy title, or rank -- usually choosing the one that is pertinent or is the preference of the bearer. For example the former US Senator from Tennessee, Bill Frist, was an MD and a US Senator. He preferred to be Dr. Frist to Senator Frist, but was never Senator Dr. Frist.
    In your case I'd say that traditionally you would be
        Professor Uslan -or- Dr. Uslan in the classroom.
        David Uslan, PhD on a letter mailed to your office (post-nominals with official correspondence)
            or
        Dr. David Uslan on a holiday card mailed to your home (honorific with social correspondence).
    I had another Q&A that was similar, FYI.

         -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Professor Who is Also a Pastor? 
 
       How would one address the envelope to a reverend with a PhD who is a professor at a Christian university? Should I use The Reverend Dr.The Reverend PhD?
 
       -- Gail Ann in Michigan

Dear Gail Ann:

        In the USA we follow a simplified form when addressing someone with multiple roles in their life ... in the manner appropriate to the role they are to us at the moment.
        Therefore, if you are contacting him as clergy use:
                The Reverend Luther Heritage
 
      
               (Address)
                Dear Dr. Heritage
        Addressing him as a professor use:
                Luther Heritage, PhD
                       (Address)
                Dear Dr. Heritage
        As an example of someone else who hold more than one title is Colin Powell -- who was a United State Army General and subsequently the Secretary of State.
                As a retired U.S. Army General he is entitled to be addressed as:
                        General Colin Powell, USA, Retired
                And as a former Secretary of State, an post appointed by The President and approved by the US Senate, he is forever entitled to:
                        The Honorable Colin Powell
                He is either .... but never both .... so he is never:
                        The Honorable General Colin Powell
       -- Robert Hickey

When Does a Law Professor Use Esq.?
When Does
a Law Professor Use JD?
 
       When does one become an esq., and when does that status end? What about law professors who don't keep their licenses active? Is the "Esq." credential acquired upon receiving a law degree, or does it not take effect until they have been admitted to a state bar?
        -- D.Y.U. APR, Stetson University College of Law, Tampa, FL 

Dear D.Y.U.:
USE OF Esq.:
       I have a note above in How Do I Write My Name as an Attorney? about why attorneys are addressed as Esq.
USE OF JD vs. Esq.:
        Today one when graduates from law school, one is typically granted a Juris Doctor or JD.
        A graduate from a law school, when wanting to include his or her degree would write:
               (Full Name), JD
      
When you are addressing a
practicing attorney use the traditional form of address for a practicing attorney in the US:
               (Full Name), Esq.

When to Use Esq.:
      Addressing a professor who also practices might be either depending on what is pertinent.
     
*** JD's in an academic context (teach at a university) use JD .... following the tradition within academia to use academic degrees.  You should use JD on official correspondence to an academic just like you would PhD or MD.
      *** While most academics holding a doctorate are addressed as Dr. in oral conversation or a salutation, law professors are notAddress as Professor (Name).
      *** If writing to a law professor who also practices the law -- relating to his practice of the law in official correspondence -- address as a practicing attorney: (Full Name), Esq.
      *** If writing to a retired attorney, who is no longer be 'open for business' -- Esq. is not pertinent. If you are sending personal correspondence to a law professor or a practicing attorney -- or to either when retired ... they are simply:
              Mr./Ms. (Name)
       
Post nominals are not used on social correspondence.
        -- Robert Hickey


Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services, Active Duty             
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
           
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
           
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Business Cards       
Couples        
Etiquette
            
Flags and Anthem Protocol             
Introductions
            
Invitations: Writing & Addressing
        
Invitations: Just Armed Service Personnel        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Thank You Notes             


Site updated by Robert Hickey on November 15, 2014

Back to directory of titles  /  See who is using Honor & Respect

For forms of address for invitations, place cards, name badges, introductions, conversation, and all other formal uses, see Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

Copyright © 2014 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marc Goodman.





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