I've heard that faculty usually gets paid for 9 months in the US and you need to use your own funding to pay for the missing 3 months.

Is this situation different in the UK and Australia?

  • 5
    It is sad that this question has to be asked, for several reasons.
    – Raphael
    Nov 6, 2014 at 8:23
  • 2
    The US system isn't that simple. You get paid an annual salary (typically paid out over either 9 or 12 months) with 3 months of paid vacation. If you have funding, then universities allow you to work and earn additional money while you are on vacation.
    – StrongBad
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:02

3 Answers 3


In the UK, you get paid 12 months a year. I'm not actually aware of any other country that uses the US 9-month system.

  • 2
    As long as you are a full time permenant member of academic staff. My university employs a number of 9 month, temporary teaching staff (that just happen to get a new contract each september). Sep 23, 2019 at 11:55
  • @IanSudbery That's pretty skeevy, though I guess it means the correct statement is "You get paid every month for as long as you're employed" and the people you're talking about are only actually employed for nine months each year. Sep 23, 2019 at 12:31
  • There are at least two Russell Group UK universities which hire temporary staff on recurring 9 month contracts. Sep 23, 2019 at 12:41
  • @MatthewTowers I've never come across a Russel Group uni that doesn't, at least somewhere, do this. Even Oxbridge do it. More common in the humanities than science, although our 2 full time teaching lab assistants are hired this way. Sep 23, 2019 at 12:47

In Australia, if you have a permanent position as an academic at a University, you would typically earn an annual salary. This would typically be paid fortnightly, every fortnight of the year. This assumes you are working for the entire year (except of course for annual leave, public holidays, etc.).

Of course, there are plenty of causal academic roles such as research assistants, teachers and so on. These are often linked to the completion of specific roles. For example, if you tutor a unit, then you'll typically be paid for the amount of teaching you do and only for the weeks that teaching is occurring.

While we don't use the term "faculty" as much in Australia, I imagine when we do, it would typically apply to those academic staff on salary.

As a side note, Australian academics are typically allowed to earn additional income doing external work if their supervisor provides approval.


I don't know of anywhere other than the US that the 9 month contract system is used.

Under the US system you can (and many faculty do) typically arrange to have your nine month salary paid out in equal installments over the whole year. If you do this then any summer salary you can arrange (e.g. from research grants, teaching summer school classes, or administrative work) is "extra" money. Most faculty that I know budget to live off of their nine month salaries and then use the summer salary to invest into their retirement funds or to pay down their home mortgage or whatever.

There are some advantages to the faculty member in having a nine month contract. For example, you're free to use the summer to go on vacation or work for some other employer (lots of consulting work gets done over the summer.) Working on research contracts and summer school teaching are optional. The down side to this system from the point of view of faculty members is that there is no guarantee that you'll be able to get a full three months of summer salary.

From the point of view of university administrators, the advantage of the 9 month contract is that it helps to keep salaries down in comparison with 12 month salaries in industry. Universities don't need faculty to teach much during the summer, so why pay unneeded employees?

Note that fringe benefits (like health insurance, life insurance, etc.) cover the entire year including the summer when the faculty member is not on contract.

  • 3
    This doesn't answer the question, which is about whether this system is used in the UK/Australia.
    – ff524
    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33
  • 2
    Please use the answer space only to answer the question. This doesn't.
    – ff524
    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:49
  • 1
    I've edited my answer to be explicit on that point. Nov 6, 2014 at 2:51
  • 4
    @BrianBorchers It still doesn't answer the question. The four paragraphs about how people cope with only being paid for three quarters of the work they do is nice but irrelevant. Saying that you don't know of any other country that uses that system doesn't say whether the UK or Australia uses it. Nov 6, 2014 at 9:45
  • 2
    +1: This answers the implicit misunderstanding that US academics get paid nothing during the 3 summer months. The question has a rumor-mill/hearsay quality to it that leaves the US system deserving some explanation.
    – Bill Barth
    Nov 6, 2014 at 13:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .