I am a postdoc in a US university (Rank A, edit: R1). I tried to get an academic faculty position in the US, but was unsuccessful. I got an offer (lecturer in the UK system) from the UK university (say, Rank B, edit: "new university"). Is it worth to accept the offer, and again try from the UK to get a faculty position in the US? Or I should try to get another postdoc in the US only? Would it be difficult to get the position once I move out from the US?

I have gone through In order to get a CS faculty position in the U.S, should I have a Ph.D. from an "American" university?, Is it more difficult to score a Tenure Track position in the US when applying from outside?, and What should a faculty member outside of the US do to move to a top-tiered American university?. But still not sure in my case.

One of the reasons of not short-listing is that I do not have a PhD from the US, (I thought). I got only two on-campus calls (from college/new univ. only) for the interview out of many.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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    Your terminology is confusing to me. What do you mean by Rank B. In the UK there is a big difference between college and university. I have only heard of "new university" being used in the UK. Can you give an approximate REF ranking of where you got an offer? Are you only looking for a "Rank A" school in the US, or would an R2 (or R3) be acceptable?
    – StrongBad
    Aug 22, 2016 at 18:42
  • You are correct! it's a "new university" that falls under top 50% of this list thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings. My preference is to get a TT position in a research university in the USA. I do not apply in "Rank A" US universities, as I am sure, not receiving the interview call.
    – user24094
    Aug 22, 2016 at 18:54
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    Is your field really captured by "art/music" institutions?
    – StrongBad
    Aug 22, 2016 at 19:09
  • Usually the main criteria for getting a research TT position is how strong your research is. Consider how much a postdoc position would contribute to your research profile vs a lecturer position - usually research goes very slow when just starting as new faculty, so I think a postdoc is probably the better choice.
    – Bitwise
    Aug 23, 2016 at 13:54
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    A Lecturer position can also be a research focussed. Sounding "lecturer" does not mean a high teaching load. This is the term used in the UK system, which is very different from the "lecturer" in the US system. Lecturer in the UK system is equivalent to "Assistant Professor" in the US considering teaching, research, and services contributions.
    – user24094
    Aug 23, 2016 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


Of course it is possible to switch from a UK lectureship to a TT, or even tenured, position at a US Research University. Being at a lower ranked "new university" in the UK, however, means that you likely not get a lot of research support and have a heavy teaching load. Further, the obsession with the UK REF will likely push your CV in directions that are not ideal for getting a job in the US. You don't mention your citizenship, but there is currently a lot of uncertainty regarding immigration and access to funding for non-UK citizens.

Overall, I would say that it will be easier, or more accurately, less difficult, to get a US TT position by spending another year or two as a post doc than as a lecturer with a high teaching load. US research universities just do not care that much about teaching and if you really need teaching experience you can always get a little as a post doc.

While a lecturer position might put you at a disadvantage, assuming it is a permanent lectureship in a UK city that you do not mind living in, having job security is a major benefit.

  • 3
    (1) "the obsession with the UK REF will likely push your CV in directions that are not ideal for getting a job in the US" - can you clarify it?, (2) "there is currently a lot of uncertainty regarding immigration and access to funding for non-UK citizens" - this will also apply to the US. I'm from India. This lecturer position involves teaching, research, and services.
    – user24094
    Aug 22, 2016 at 21:37
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    @user24094 The UK situation is in much more flux than the US, because of Brexit. The US system has plenty of issues, but they are basically the same issues it has had for many years. In particular, funding from the NSF and NIH is indifferent to citizenship status in most cases (though if you need DOD funding, that's a different kettle of fish). Aug 23, 2016 at 2:09
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    @BenWebster: What are the flux situations in the UK due to Brexit?
    – user24094
    Aug 23, 2016 at 13:56
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    @StrongBad Can you say a little more, or provide a link to any relevant discussion, about the consequences of the UK REF on applications to US institutions?
    – Ian_Fin
    Aug 23, 2016 at 15:27
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    @user24094 Um, everything? Future migration policy could be very strongly affected (not to mention the limbo of EU citizens in the UK right now), but there's also the issue of access to ERC funding, which could go away. Aug 23, 2016 at 20:06

One important issue is being able to get to an on-campus interview. Although prestigious research universities would often be willing to pay the cost of flying from the UK to the US for an interview, many other institutions (regional comprehensive universities, four year colleges, and lesser ranked research universities) might not be willing to reimburse you for the cost of travelling to the US for an interview.

If you're interested in positions at these less prestigious institutions and aren't prepared to pay for your own travel expenses then you might have trouble applying from the UK.

I think the more important question for you to consider is whether this lecturer position in the UK would give you better experience than continuing as a postdoc. That depends on what other teaching experience you have and the kinds of positions that you're applying for.

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    We interview by Skype.... I'm sure other institutions do this in the modern internet connected world. We also get candidates to teach and give a seminar via Skype. Aug 22, 2016 at 18:12
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    @BrianTompsett-汤莱恩 I suspect this would be against the rules at many US universities (though I only have experience with the ones that would be willing to pay to fly someone in from the UK). Aug 22, 2016 at 18:35
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    At my institution we do final interviews on campus and reimburse candidates only for travel expenses within the US. It's possible for an overseas candidate to combine such an interview with another trip to the US, but the scheduling is very difficult. Aug 22, 2016 at 18:47
  • Many thanks for your responses. the question is: compare lecturer position in the UK with a postdoc position in the US? To whom would you prefer to offer the AP position in the US considering this lecturer position involves teaching, research, and services? Note postdoc position generally does not come up with teaching duties. I remembered i was always asked for teaching exp. in the US and project funding exp.
    – user24094
    Aug 22, 2016 at 21:08
  • In most science/math disciplines, for tenure track assistant professorships in the US at strongly research oriented schools the only relevant factor is your research experience. For the vast majority of tenure track positions in those same fields at four year cooleges, regional comprehensives and lesser ranked research institutions, teaching experience is also important. Are you looking for a job at Directional State University, Flaship State University, or MIT? Aug 22, 2016 at 23:16

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