I'm applying for a computer science tenure-track assistant-professor position in the U.S. Some job announcements ask for brief statements of research and teaching interests. How long is this "brief" typically? I.e., how long is a

  • a brief research statement

  • a brief teaching statement?

If that helps, you may assume single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1.25-inch margin on letter-size paper.

(An aside: such job announcements remind me of cake recipes containing "add nuts according to your taste". Such a phrase always drove me crazy. Does it mean 1 g, 5 g, 25 g, 125 g, or 625 g of nuts? I am in great difficulty when I am reading "add 1 cup of milk, 3 or 4 apples, and cinnamon according to your taste". My gosh, how large is your cup and how big are your apples? Sour ones or sweet ones? And how much cinnamon do I really like? Having said that, when seeing brief above, I am feeling hopelessly lost.)

  • Reflections on my tenure-track assistant professor job search might be a good read for you. It reads "My research statement was four (single-spaced, 12-point font, 1.25-inch margin) pages, which seems standard for my field. The first 1.5 pages described my prior work, the next 1.5 pages presented my future research agenda, and the final page was a bibliography listing mostly my own papers" His field is Computer Science. Other than that, have a look at this list. And don't talk about recipes!
    – Clément
    Sep 27, 2017 at 19:04
  • 1
    Well, if the "regular" size is 4, I would say that brief is 2. There's no absolute rule, just be more concise (I have been hired as an assistant prof. in CS last year, and I know how vague the instructions can be). You can also ask.
    – Clément
    Sep 27, 2017 at 19:24
  • 5
    If it helps, a cup is a unit of measurement. 4 make a quart...Cinnamon usually goes with sweet stuff - unless we're talking about a specific drink. When in doubt on fruit sizes a safe bet is to go with middle of the road based on what you have available at your grocer. The difference from a medium to large or medium to small won't matter much.
    – NotMe
    Sep 27, 2017 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Coming from pure math at a research institution, typical lengths are 1-2 pages for teaching statements and 4-6 pages for research statements. However, some people go overboard (e.g., including loads of teaching evaluations) or write long research statements (8+ pages) targeted at experts. I would interpret "brief" to mean: don't do this. Moreover, if the school is not much of a research school, I would recommend the research statement being closer to 2-3 pages.

Incidentally, I don't think having page lengths written into the job ads is a good thing. This isn't a high school assignment. You are free to say how much you want to, in what format you want to. Some 2-page statements take longer to read than 4-pages ones, depending on how they're written (bullet points, figures, references, etc).


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