In my country, job rank is not aligned to tenure. You can be an Assistant Professor with tenure (i.e. a permanent contract at the university) or without tenure (on a temporary e.g. 5 year contract), or you could be an Associate Professor with or without tenure. I have tenure, but I am an Assistant Professor... which I understand is fairly rare in the US (if not non-existent)

If the time comes that I want to look for a position in the US, I assume based on the feedback from my previous question that I should focus my search on an Assistant Professor position rather than an Associate Professor level position.

If I were to apply for an academic position in the US, how should I explain this? Is it worthwhile to mention that I have tenure already? Do I need to ask for a shortened tenure clock or will it be decided by the university on their own?

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    I believe tenure clock is something you can negotiate. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:48
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    If you list your job title on your CV as "Tenured Assistant Professor (title in local language)" would that not be sufficient? Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:49
  • Could you specify your job title in the local language? Assistant professor with tenure doesn't really exist in the North American context.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 10:49
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    Actually, assistant professor with tenure does exist in the US. It's not very common, but it's not exactly rare either. There are places where promotion is decoupled from tenure and where you can get promoted without getting tenure and vice versa.
    – roseofjuly
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 14:00
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    @roseofjuly: Yes, promotion is often decoupled from tenure, but in my experience this means that you can't know for sure whether an associate professor is tenured or not. I feel like it's been established on this site before that there are still a positive number of tenured assistant professors, but I think it's fair to call it "rare". Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 13:54

3 Answers 3


They will not care about your position outside US. They will care about your publication list mostly. There are countries where people get a formally permanent university position just after PhD, but their are not called professors immediately. This fact does not, however, mean that their position is equivalent to the tenured professor in US.

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    Yes, having tenure at an early career stage will be viewed as incomparable with the U.S. system, and it won't count as being the same as any typical U.S. career path. (In particular, it will not be considered equivalent to a tenured position in the U.S., since it is not based on the same criteria.) Instead, you and the department will have to figure out where you might fit in the U.S. model based on your CV. Unless you have unusual accomplishments, this will generally amount to roughly lining up the time since degree. Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 15:26
  • Having a permanent (as opposed to temporary) position is not the same as having tenure. Many employees, working in all sorts of jobs, are considered permanent employees. However, permanent employment does not normally prevent an employee from being fired for most reasons, whereas tenure is accompanied by very strong employment protections.
    – Buzz
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 20:36

This advice is just for research universities (R1s) in the USA:

If you are applying for untenured positions then the number one question we have is: when this person comes up for tenure in X years, will they be tenurable?

  • You should check to see whether the tenure clock 'resets' at hiring and whether you will be evaluated on the entirety of your portfolio or the new material since you were hired.
  • People can usually come up for tenure early if they so desire.
  • We've had people leave tenured associate positions to come to our R1 as untenured assistants.
  • We're wise enough in the world to assume if someone is leaving a tenured position, they have good reason to.

If you are applying for a tenured position then we would want to see a portfolio commensurate with that status. Just because you have tenure at your school doesn't mean that it'd meet the bar at our institution.


You would need to submit your curriculum vitae as part of your job application, so it would be natural to include the information that you have a tenured job position there. In your CV, you could include something to the effect of:

Department of X, University of Y

  • Assistant Professor with tenure (2014-present)
  • Assistant Professor (2008-2014)

You should also briefly mention your employment history in your cover letter, at which point you can include the fact that you currently have a tenured position.

Occasionally, a candidate who currently has a tenured position at university Y is willing to take an untenured position at university Z. If that is the case, you should also mention that explicitly in your cover letter.

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