/ #education #titles 

Titulatuur(eluurs) / Maddening titles

As a first year first year student and member of Scintilla and the “de Vonk” committee, I am met with a lot of new expressions. This includes words from student jargon which were unknown to me when I still was in high school. At my high school, it was usual to address my teachers as Mister or Madam. Where if you’d want to address the professors at their correct titles, it’d be impossible to remember in some cases. Either way, in this article, you are given a quick run through the academic titles that you need to know about as a student or an alumni with the potential to still become a professor. The best way to start this off, is by talking by Scintilla’s most famous professor, Bram Nauta.

You wouldn’t want to be having to address Prof.dr.ir Bram Nauta (Professor, Doctorate Holder and Professional Engineer) by all his titles. We asked him if he could explain how he achieved his titles, and what he thinks about owning them.

What did your titles enable you to do, what you otherwise would not have been able to do if you hadn’t had them?

“It opens doors, in the way that I needed my Master’s title to be able to start working on my PhD. The Master’s could have been enough to work at a company. Since I was still young, I decided I would do a PhD and it worked out greatly, the invention of the Nauta circuit granted me my doctorate title, but also improved my negotiations with companies if they wanted me to work for them.”

Would you say that titles are more important to academic research compared to working at corporations? Would you always recommend working as an academic if you have acquired a higher title such as doctor or professor?

“After I published the Nauta circuit, I worked in the industry for a time. The university then really wanted me back, so they granted me the title of full professor. The reason for this was not exactly my doctorate title on its own, it was the proof that I was capable, by inventing a new and revolutionary circuit.”

Now, “I would really like to be a professor, just like Bram”, I can hear you say. The road to achieving the title is long, but all professors have of course started as a first-year student. Making it through your second and third year of the bachelor, you would already notice that living on campus is really fun and interesting to you. You would totally not mind staying here even after your bachelor.

Having finished your bachelors, you can tell which field of study you are most interested in. Additionally, you have acquired your first title: Bachelor of Science. In practice, it goes behind your name and means you are an undergraduate, ready to master a certain field. It is possible to find a job, but you really haven’t graduated yet. If you are really passionate about academic work and becoming a professor, it is possible to integrate a part of your doctorate (a.k.a. PhD) already into your Master’s Programme [1]. This makes the PhD phase, which follows your Master’s, then take three years instead of the usual four. If you didn’t, you still have the possibility to work on a proposal for your PhD research topic in the last part of the Master’s Programme.

If you have finished your Master’s, you are already allowed to teach at the UT. You have achieved the ir. (engineer) title which would go in front of your name, or MSc; which would go behind your name, just as an BSc. Your academic level then is Lecturer if you start teaching right away [2].

The next step is achieving your PhD, by which you show that you ‘have substantially contributed to knowledge’. This is tested by having to defend your thesis in a ‘viva voce’ examination. It is comprised of a presentation of the PhD candidate and an examination by a jury. Getting to start a doctorate is comparable to applying for a job; it is only possible if a full professor has interest in being your PhD supervisor. Together with the faculty dean, the professor decides if you are applicable for funding your research.

If the PhD was successful, and you would like to teach on campus, you are promoted to Assistant professor. You automatically enter the so-called Tenure Track [3]. After five years of teaching as an Assistant professor, you are given the decision to promote to Associate professor, or immediate outplacement. The promotion is granted if you pass an assessment. When you are an Associate professor, the contract is permanent, and within 4 years you will achieve the title of Full professor. When the Tenure Track is finished, the title of professor is yours.

We see them around a lot, but what do the professors actually do? Naturally, the main part of their job is teaching bachelor and/or master level students in the field you are most specialized in. Giving lectures, writing support material for students and making the tests. Simultaneously, supervising Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis and PhD research teams. As a professor, the tasks are very diverse and in abundance, it is unlikely you will feel unfulfilled or bored.

In the case that doesn’t scare you, we wish you all the best on the road to the renowned title of professor. We hope you have learnt about academic titles and how they compare to each other, now that you’ve reached the end of this article. Remember, titles are just a means to an end, do not get titulatureluurs!

Cover image source: paperdump.blogspot.com

[1] University of Twente, “Integrated Master and PhD programmes,” 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.utwente.nl/en/education/tgs/prospective-candidates/phd/#integrated-masterand-phd-programmes.

[2] Wikipedia Contributors, “Academic ranks in the Netherlands,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_ranks_in_the_Netherlands. [Accessed: 14-Feb-2020].

[3] M. Jansen, J. Katier, W. Sjerps, “Tenure Track, The fast track for multi-talented academics,” 2018.