I am a PhD graduate from department of CS. I might get an offer to join as an assistant professor at a different department (industrial design) to work in a multidisciplinary project. My question is that if I change my department or even my institution in future would it affect my rank? Will my researching effort being counted in future?


I need to clarify that after the end of my contract, I will be evaluated to be promoted as an associated professor. My question is that since I might work for industrial department, the rank given to me would be valid if I join, say, CS department?

  • Unfortunately, your edit makes this question off-topic Jan 7, 2021 at 18:30
  • @AzorAhai-him- How so?
    – lonesome
    Jan 7, 2021 at 19:51
  • Questions about moving between depts/universities are not topic, questions like "what happens if I move from Dept A to CS?" are not. Jan 7, 2021 at 19:52
  • @AzorAhai-him- I guess it was an obvious case without Edit.
    – lonesome
    Jan 7, 2021 at 19:54
  • Seems heavily dependent on the institution (if transferring within one) or between institutions. For example the recent question on a tenured professor changing univeristies.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 7, 2021 at 20:10

3 Answers 3


I think it is unlikely, not impossible, that your rank would be reduced at a given institution, but might be if you change universities, especially when moving to a new field. It is also possible to move up in rank, even within a given institution, but it might take some special action to do so.

When changing institution, rank is probably negotiable. If they want you a lot, you have leverage, especially to avoid moving down in rank.

But rules differ, especially for such "edge" cases.

And, there is a subtlety here. If you are a Professor of CS and change to something else, say, mathematics, you might not automatically become a Professor of Mathematics. Rules Rule. And your pay might change, depending on how budgets are managed.

  • All in all it seems the rank wont be mobilized?
    – lonesome
    Jan 7, 2021 at 19:59

When you receive your job offer, it will offer you a specific position/rank. It would be unusual to offer someone a lower rank than they already have, but not inconceivable when moving between universities (i.e. moving from Northern State University to Harvard). It would be very unusual for a department within your university to offer you in effect a demotion.

You would always have the choice to not accept.


When you change departments, even within a university, your research progress towards tenure needs to be negotiated as part of your offer. Even within similar fields (say, computer engineering and computer science), standards vary widely. Some comp. engineering departments place a lot of stock on journal publications (I turned down such an offer because I was explicitly told I'd need to produce IEEE journal publications to get tenure, so leaving my current research community), whereas CS departments generally recognize conferences as valid venues for publications.

Whether your progress in a different department will be recognized in effectively another field strongly depends on

a. how much intersection is there between your work in the current department and your prospective future move.

b. how willing will a future department be to accept your progress in a different field. Some CS departments are more interdisciplinary than others, and this decision could depend on who the current head/dean is, your own attractiveness as a hire, and a variety of other factors.

I would say that from my (obviously anecdotal) experience, cross-disciplinary jumps are not sufficiently incentivized since the research products of disciplines are not necessarily recognized by others. However, I've also seen success stories, especially in cases where the researcher has maintained ties with the prospective discipline. So - if you feel like you may switch to CS later in your career, then you should definitely maintain professional ties (in the form of co-supervising CS students, maintaining a publication record in relevant venues, applying for grants etc.) with a CS community.

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