I'd like to know the recruitment process for the appointments of lecturer, assistant and associate professors in Spain. Just to give you an idea, I'm writing down the equivament details in the American and French systems below.

In the US, there are lecturers that're appointed mostly for teaching and then there are tenure track assistant professors and once they get tenured, they're called associate professors.

In France, there are permanent half-teaching, half-research positions called maître des conférences (MCF), although from my understanding these positions are becoming more contractual in nature (please correct me, I'm happy to be wrong!). Then there are prestigious CNRS positions called charge des recherche, that're purely research positions,and the same by INRIA, which is a government organization for applied research.

I know that in Germany, there are postdoc < group leader < W3 professors (if I'm not mistaken, I don't know too much, so I don't want to spread misinformation at all!)

But I've no idea about the Spanish recruitment at the university level. What are the equivalent of lecturers, assistant and associate professors? What are they called? How are they recruited? Are there websites (in English ideally, but can be Spanish/Catalan/Basque...) that I can read up to understand the system better?

Thank you in advance!

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    Spanish higher education system: hyper bureaucracy, incredibly inefficient and suffocating any type of scientific excellence. e.g. after completing a tenure track it takes 2 years to get the permanent position as you have to undergo so many acreditaciónes where you have to hand-in the same paper trail over and over again. (I am not Spanish but I spent 3 years there - never again)
    – lordy
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


There is a very comprehensive description of academic positions and recruitment process in Spanish Universities in this website (in Spanish): https://es.abcdef.wiki/wiki/Academic_ranks_in_Spain I also recommend to look at the statistics presented here (also in Spanish): https://www.epdata.es/datos/profesores-investigadores-resto-personal-docente-universidad-espana-datos-estadisticas/412

Below,I summarized the key points with focus on your questions:

After the establishment of LOU 2001 ('Ley Orgánica de Universidades Rangos académicos en España' – Organic Law of Universities for academic ranking in Spain) and its update in 2007, the application process for academic positions has been largely simplified. Firstly, candidates need a positive evaluation of their teaching and research antecedents granted by the ANECA ('Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación Rangos académicos en España' – National Agency of Evaluation of quality and accreditation of academic ranking in Spain). Once ANECA grants the certification, candidates are allowed to apply for positions advertised by Universities.

LOU 2001 established the permanent positions of Professor (‘Catedrático de Universidad’ in Spanish, a higher level of professorship that is requested for certain positions such as University Chancellor) and Associate Professor full time (‘Profesor titular’ in Spanish), which are both considered as public service official (‘funcionario en servicio público’ in Spanish).

LOU 2001 also listed non-permanent positions (which are not public service positions) of Lecturer (‘Profesor Contratado Doctor’ in Spanish), Associate professor with partial time (this position allows professional work aside such as in the industry, hospital or media), Assistant-without PhD (PhD student that assist in teaching and is under supervision) and Assistant professor (once the Assistant completes the PhD). Additionally, there are other positions such as Visitor/Invited professor, Emeritus Professor, Private university Professor.

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    You might want to say a few words about how one obtains (or at least applies for) the required certification from ANECA.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 14:03

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