6

In context of a person's academic profile in a web application, I need to broadly classify the various degree/designations/stages in the academic career of the person.

For example I would like to clearly know what is the current stage the person , in his academic career path starting from a pre-university student & progressing ahead.

So I would like to classify something like (below) & ask user to select one of these designations:

Edited:

Pre-university student

Undergraduate(Bachelors/diploma/associate degree) student 
-doing
-earned

Masters student
-doing
-earned

PhD(Doctorate) studs
-doing
-earned

Postdoc

Faculty 

Scientist 

Independent researcher

Does this cover most of the stages/designations in the academic career or is anything missing ? Is there a better term to represent any one ?

Update:

I don't really need a fine grained classification like assistant prof, associate prof, etc but I do want to include all the academic community & related people who have interests in academic topics(which includes scientists or self learners as well) & ranging from university student to faculty, independent researcher or whatever are the higher positions. May not be necessarily a hierarchical list but at least an exhaustive list is needed.

Update 2:

Another idea was too use classification which includes people from academia & even outside that work on/ explore academic topics & removing ambiguity between faculty, scientist & research positions . Something like this:

    -> A Learner/ enthusiast,

    -> Pre-university student


    University/Research Students:
    ================================

        -> Undergraduate(Bachelors/diploma/associate degree) student 
            -doing
            -earned

        -> Masters student
            -doing
            -earned

        -> Doctorate(PhD, DPhils, etc) student
            -doing
            -earned     

    University Faculty/Research Positions:
    ==================

        ->  Professor 
        ->  Associate Professor 
        ->  Assistant Professor 
        ->  Lecturer 
        ->  Emeritus 
        ->  Other   

        -> PostDoc,             

    -> Scientist 

    -> IndependentResearcher 
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  • 3
    Did you ask Wikipedia?
    – JeffE
    Sep 11, 2012 at 2:21
  • @EnergyNumbers: My audience is global. Ok, Scientist does fit into the hierarchy but scientists are also part of my user community so what option would fit for them more appropriately ? Won't "Emeritus" distinguish between current faculty & retired ones!? Sep 11, 2012 at 8:39
  • 1
    One could argue that a career in academics does not begin until you get a faculty position since everything before then is training.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 11, 2012 at 12:51
  • Given the edited list, I would have no idea what to select given I have earned a Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate and have completed a postdoc and am currently faculty. I also consider myself a scientist and independent researcher.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 14, 2012 at 10:29
  • 1
    @user01: Postdoc should be in research position. It is not a course/qualification but a job. And like I said in my previous comments, "scientist" doesn't really mean anything. If you're referring to commercial researchers, its better to say so. In academia, basically anyone who do research is a "scientist". And I just realized that there might be non-PhD non-postdoc university research staff (e.g. ex-masters students hired to do research).
    – Legendre
    Sep 15, 2012 at 13:31

3 Answers 3

5

Like EngergyNumbers said, you should tailor your classification to the culture of your targeted audience. This list of academic ranks for various countries might be helpful for that.

Also, "Scientist" and "Researcher" doesn't really mean anything. A postdoc, assistant professor, principal investigator, or someone doing research in the commercial sector can be a scientist or a researcher.

I think you know this but just in case: "postdoc" is an (often) temporary job that people take up after obtaining a PhD, and not a qualification. Some people do not do postdocs, and go directly into teaching, industry or become assistant professors after getting their PhD.

Finally, "Post Grad" can refer to both masters degree or PhD students. It is common to say "applying to graduate/grad school" to when referring to applying to a PhD course.

3
  • I don't really need a fine grained classification like assistant prof, associate prof, etc but I do want to include all the academic community & related people who have interests in academic topics(which includes scientists as well) & ranging from university student to faculty, independent researcher or whatever are the higher positions. May not be necessarily a hierarchical list but at least an exhaustive list is needed. I made a correction in my list as per your comment about postdoc not being a qualification. Sep 11, 2012 at 8:47
  • This should be more or less comprehensive: preuni, undergrad, non-PhD postgrad, PhD student, postdoc, faculty, retired faculty, commercial, independent. I think "emeritus" might not be understood globally. Also, independent would cover those doing research without official affiliation (I know a few). And there are masters students (MPhils, research masters etc), who are postgrads, and doing research.
    – Legendre
    Sep 11, 2012 at 23:27
  • @user01 - Using your current edited list, someone who has earned a masters, did his undergrad and is an independent researcher and doing science would have 4 categories to pick. I suggest having two categories: 1) highest education level (earned or currently a student), 2) current research position (student, faculty, postdoc, commercial/professional, independent/non-affiliated/others). Pick only one that is the closest match from each group. "Scientist" really doesn't mean anything.
    – Legendre
    Sep 14, 2012 at 12:01
4

I see problems with your ranking.

Firstly, there is not much difference between * (Completed) and the subsequent ** (Ongoing) level - somebody who completed a post-doc probably is currently either a professor or in the industry, where having a completed post-doc experience does not matter much in terms of being an academic rank. Besides that, there are countries where being a "post-doc" does not mean anything special, the official position would be either the same as being a PhD. student, or a staff researcher.

Secondly, if you want to be too fine grained, there are several levels of professor positions missing (assistant, associate, full plus all the combinations with tenure position, or being a teaching/research specific position, etc.)

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, as others here wrote, the ladder is culture specific so you need to think about your target audience. In the case the audience of your website is somewhat local, go with the local tradition.

If your audience is global, my advice would be to give up the particular fine classification. Rather, you could go with a combination of 3 axes of coarse-grained classification roughly corresponding to the track the person currently follows (industry/academia) plus the highest achieved academic degree plus indication of duration of the current status. You would end up with classes such as

  • academic & BSc + 2 years - your ongoing undergrad student
  • industry & MSc + 5 years - you are probably facing an experienced professional in an industry
  • academic & PhD + 3 years - either a post-doc, or an assistant professor, or lecturer, well anyway an early career researcher
  • academic & PhD + 20 years - somebody roughly equivalent to a more senior-level professor

Well, this way I guess you can capture more nuanced classification, than with a single ladder. You can of course add your own axes, e.g., tenure vs. pre-tenure, etc.

0

I take a somewhat skeptical view of the world. I see three stages:

  1. Trainee: It doesn't matter if they are a student or a post doc or working in industry, if their goal is to acquire a set of skills and move up, then they are trainees. Generally, trainees think being an independent investigator is fun.

  2. Research monkey: Someone who is neither attempting to acquire new skills nor is conducting independent research. Generally, research monkeys realize that independent investigator spend all their time trying to get funding to allow research monkeys to do the fun stuff.

  3. Independent investigator: Someone who conducts their own research. Generally, when not looking for funding they are trying to figure out how they could become a research monkey.

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  • 1
    Care to explain the downvote?
    – StrongBad
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:13

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