What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2024)

Being a professor is very confusing as there are several things you need to take care of. If you are thinking of becoming a professor you must know the roles a professor has to play in the institution. One such role is when you will have to become a professor by courtesy. We know you must not be very familiar with this term. Thus here we will help you understand what is the courtesy professor and what are the other levels of professorship.

Quick Takeaways

  • A professor by courtesy is a professor who is officially appointed in one department and is working for different departments.
  • As a professor by courtesy, you will have to develop the course and mentor the students of both the department.
  • Different levels of professorship are lecturer, professor, assistant professor, associate professor, etc.

However, we will recommend you read till the end so that you do not miss any important facts related to the professor’s courtesy.

What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)

What do you mean by professor by courtesy?

Professor by courtesy means that a professor is appointed primarily in one department of the organisation but is officially associated with the other organisation of the department. We can also say that a teacher is assigned to a specific course and is doing duty for the other system. The professor with courtesy usually has fewer rights than a full-time professor for a particular subject. For example, John Smith is a professor of Maths and a Professor courtesy of chemistry at the university. It is not a permanent title and thus you will be only a courtesy professor for the time you are appointed.

What is the difference between the professor by courtesy and the adjunct professor?

Many people get confused between both titles. Thus the following table shows the difference between the Professor by courtesy and adjunct professor-

Professor by CourtesyAdjunct Professor
It is a position given to a person who has a full-time position in another department.An adjunct professor is one who does not have any other position in the department.
They are internal members of a particular university.They are treated as an external member of the university.
The appointment period for each of the terms is renewed for each year.The appointment period is fixed for a specific tenure like 2 years or 5 years.
What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)

Although we have discussed the difference between adjunct professors and professors by courtesy, it is important to know the levels of the professorship.

What are the other levels of professorship?

Following are the levels of professorships –

1. Instructor

The instructor is the one who holds a full Master’s degree and has almost completed all the requirements of the doctoral degree. It is generally an entry-level position and is given to the newly appointed professor. As an instructor, you will be entitled to attend all the faculty meetings.

2. Lecturer

A lecturer is a faculty member who may be appointed at a full-time or part-time level. The requirements to become a lecturer and the duties will vary from university to university. However, the prime duty of the lecturer is to teach the students and take part in research projects.

What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)

3. Assistant professor

As an assistant professor, you need to get a doctoral degree and complete the professional work and scholar with a high calibre. 

4. Associate Professor

Being an associate professor you will need to meet the same requirements as an assistant professor. You will enjoy a national reputation as a scholar who will show a higher level of teaching. 

5. Professor 

Again professors have to meet the same requirements of assistant and associate professor. As a professor, you will need to have a big record of accomplishment which will help you to get recognition at national and international levels.

6. Visiting assistant professor

What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)

A visiting assistant professor is one who is appointed to one university and is appointed to the other university on a temporary basis. At such a level you will not be a permanent member of the university but will teach in that university. Again you will need to develop the course and complete it in a particular period of time.

What is the salary of a professor by courtesy?

The average salary of courtesy depends upon different factors like where you live, the experience you get, etc. The salary you get is between a range of $24,000 to $33,000 yearly. In short, we can say that the average salary of courtesy is $28,657.

What is a job courtesy professor job description?

What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)

The main job description of a courtesy professor is to teach the students for a particular period of time. You must be able to advise, mentor and develop the curriculum for the subject chosen for the courtesy subject. As a courtesy professor, you will have to work in collaborative research with the departmental colleges. You will need to be in contact with the head of the department so that they know how much the syllabus has covered in the subject. As a courtesy professor, you may also interview the students who are thinking of getting into a particular subject.

Is it worthy to become a professor by courtesy?

Becoming a courtesy professor means that you will be teaching the students of a different department than the primary department assigned to you. However, you must remember that you will not get any extra pay or any extra benefit for teaching the second subject. Also teaching a different subject means having a lot of work to do. You will have to make the course structure for two different subjects which will take your time and effort. The only benefit that you will be getting is the increase in your knowledge.

As you will be teaching two different subjects, your knowledge of both subjects will increase. In addition to that you may also be able to make some net network with other faculty members. Thus we can say that being a professor by courtesy will not give you many benefits but will also not leave any disadvantage on you. 

What do you mean by professor by courtesy? (Updated 2023)


Professors by courtesy are the professors who are working in a different department but are primarily appointed in another department. As a courtesy professor, you will have to teach the students of another department than the one in which you are primarily appointed. There are other levels of the professorship like associate professor, assistant professor, lecturer, etc. The average salary that you can get is around $28,657. You will have to collaborate with both the department. One thing that you must remember is that you will not be getting any extra salary for becoming a professor by courtesy.

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