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"Dr." vs "Professor"

FlavianFlavian Registered User Posts: 752 Member
edited December 2007 in College Life
I was wondering, what is the difference in the use of these two titles, Dr. and Professor, especially in these cases:

(Assuming that the instructor holds both a Doctorate and Professorship)
1. In class
2. Out of class
3. Formal letter
4. Email
5. Research paper header
Post edited by Flavian on

Replies to: "Dr." vs "Professor"

  • Vicky06Vicky06 Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    I always use doctor if not otherwise asked to be called something else. I usually ask politely after class how a professor would like to be addressed.
  • FlavianFlavian Registered User Posts: 752 Member
    I do too. Doctor is much easier to pronounce. Professor requires too much mouth-lip movement. hah

    I was wondering if Professors generally have a preference in this issue.
  • DRabDRab Registered User Posts: 6,104 Senior Member
    An interesting question.
  • collegeprofcollegeprof Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    I ask my students to call me by my first name :-) I think it's most common for professors to be called "professor X." This applies in or out of class, in an e-mail, etc. And, remember, if you're writing a letter, you never abbreviate to "prof. X"--always spell out "professor X."

    To me "doctor X" always sounds a little funny. It seems to emphasize my degree as opposed to what I do. At any rate, either title is generally fine. Avoid "Mr." or "Ms." (sounds like high school). And it's a good idea to ask "what would you like us to call you?" if you're not told.
  • Ryu HayabusaRyu Hayabusa Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    I think "professor X" is a more respectable title and it should be used instead of "doctor" except in the case of medical doctors.
  • DRabDRab Registered User Posts: 6,104 Senior Member
    Why do you think that it's a more respectable title?, ryu hayabusa?
  • KnavishKnavish Registered User Posts: 835 Member
    To me, "Doctor X" seems like flattery. I like "Professor."
  • ksandersksanders Registered User Posts: 821 Member
    Unless it's one of those crazed people who demand you call them doctor, most probably dont care whether you use professor or doctor
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    at my D school I think most profs either go by just their first names or their last names
    In our neck of the woods ( the northwest) I don't know many who use an academic title- it is too confusing .I don't even call my doctor Dr. ;)
  • tsdadtsdad Registered User Posts: 4,035 Senior Member
    I believe that only those with the rank of Associate Professor or Professor are entitled to be called Professor. Collegeprof is that your understanding?
  • Teach2005Teach2005 Registered User Posts: 228 Junior Member
    I think it has to do with the school and part of the country you are in. At both universities I attended, everyone addressed professors as Dr. ___. You never heard some one say Professor _____. However, I know at some schools it is the reverse.
  • bluealien01bluealien01 Registered User Posts: 1,941 Senior Member
    First names...
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    "Professor X" to me sound pretentious. "Dr. X" does not. They earned a doctorate and are afforded the title of Doctor in an academic setting, I believe. I emphasize "academic setting"; calling a lawyer with an LL.D who doesn't teach to a school but only practices law "Dr. X" does indeed sound pretentious to me.
  • towerpumpkintowerpumpkin Registered User Posts: 1,660 Senior Member
    I always thought that calling someone "Dr." meant that they had a Ph.D (or is a medical doctor) whereas calling someone professor just meant that they were your instructor. I could be wrong, though...
  • FlavianFlavian Registered User Posts: 752 Member
    Etymologically, I find "Professor" (someone who professes) to be somewhat more awkward, perhaps a little pretentious. "Doctor" in Latin is simply someone who teaches, although that term has been somehow associated with medicine in modern culture.
This discussion has been closed.