“Professor,” “Dr.,” and Geography

A Primer on what to call people.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

One of the curious features of modern academia is how academic titles are used so differently in various countries.  This isn’t really a posting on early Christianity, but I thought it might be informative (or even amusing) nevertheless.

In the North American setting, practically anyone teaching courses in a college or university is a “professor”.   As in a statement such as, “All my professors in my university are good teachers.”   And the term “Dr.” functions as a way of specifically offering deference or respect to one of them.

In the UK, on the other hand (and other side of the Atlantic), “Professor” is a title conferred solely by the university or college in which one is appointed (NB:  it’s capitalized).  Formerly, the only individuals given this title were those who held “established chairs” in given subjects.  So, for example, there might be one Professor of Ancient History, the other academics…

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