What is the official way of addressing a lecturer/tutor in an English speaking university?

If it helps, I will be studying in an Australian university. In my country, we would address a lecturer/tutor as "Master" (English translation of the word in my language) so I was wondering if I could address lecturer/tutors at my Australian university as "Master"?

  • 3
    Out of curiosity, where are you from? "Master" would certainly look very strange, and raise a few eyebrows. In fact, it would seem so weird I am sure no one would find it offensive.
    – Davidmh
    Feb 12, 2015 at 11:18
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    You are studying in an Australian university. Why not address the lecturer/tutor in the Australian way?
    – Nobody
    Feb 12, 2015 at 11:23
  • 2
    In italian, elementary teachers (if it hasn't changed in the last 20 years) are addressed by "Maestro", which originates from the latin "Magister". However, the correct translation would not be Master but Teacher. In an university, I would address lecturers as Doctors, if they have a PhD. Feb 12, 2015 at 11:39
  • 17
    Unless you're an orc addressing Sauron I would be inclined to avoid "Master".
    – Miguel
    Feb 12, 2015 at 11:49
  • 1
    @Miguel To be fair, a derivative of "Master" (i.e. "Mister") is a very standard way to address others.
    – cpast
    Feb 12, 2015 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


I'm from New Zealand, where "Master" is used to address young boys, often by a doctor/dentist etc. I guess that it's the same in Australia and the UK. Do not address an adult (in any situation) as Master Smith. Conversely (as suggested in the comments), addressing someone as "Master" without being followed by a name, such as "yes, Master!", sounds like you're addressing a slavemaster.

The formal and safe way is to address them according to their rank - Mister Smith for teaching assistants who are Master or PhD students, Doctor Smith for postdocs and staff who hold a lecturer position, and Professor Smith for associate or full professors. The abbreviation Mr. is fine for emails, as this is commonly understood as the abbreviation of Mister, not Master.

However, Australians are generally quite informal, so the younger staff in particular may prefer to be addressed on a first-name basis. Calling your TA Mr Smith might come across as a bit fusty, so they might tell you to "just call me John". If in doubt, just ask how the lecturer wishes to be addressed.

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