Promotion to full professor

After five years as an associate professor, you can apply for promotion to the rank of full professor. The process and standards for promotion vary by faculty, but here's an overview of what applies to everyone.

What you need to know

  • The requirements: The standards for promotion, and at what point you can apply, vary widely by faculty and department/school.
  • What it’s based on: The application to full professor is made largely on the basis of your research profile.
  • The timeline: Inform your chair of your intent to apply by June 1, and have your promotion brief (and the names of at least three arms-length external referees) in by July 1.
  • The players: As with tenure, your promotion case will go through three levels of committees, and then the University president.
    • DTPC = Department Tenure and Promotion Committee
    • FTPC = Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee
    • UTPC = University Tenure and Promotion Committee

FAUW's advice

  • Weigh the advantages and challenges of applying. Be sure you have clear reasons and justification for applying for promotion to full professor. When deciding whether and when to apply, consider:
    • Are you a minimum of five years post-tenure?
    • Do you meet your department/school and faculty standards?
    • Do you have support? Do your chair and colleagues support your case?
    • Are you prepared to accept a negative decision? Consider how this may affect working relationships in your department.
  • Consider the members your department tenure and promotion committee. You can choose whether or not to go up for promotion in a given year after seeing the names of people who will be on the department committee. For that matter, you can try to encourage supportive people to stand for the committee who you think will take your file seriously.
  • Think beyond Waterloo. Because evaluations will be sought from your peers outside this institution, think about where you want to be in your professional standing nationally and internationally and ask what steps you need to take to get you there, if you aren't already. If you are, be confident in going up for promotion.

Where to find information

Who to talk to

  • Your chair/director will be able to give you advice on your suitability for promotion.
  • Colleagues who've recently applied for promotion or served on DTPCs.