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Friday, July 22, 2011

"Doctors, Doctorates and Professors"

The Island 22/07/2011

Further to the series of articles and letters on the above subject which appeared in a Sunday newspaper, I wish to add the following and emphasise the necessity of wider publicity and awareness to society and factual statements on the correct usage of the above. It would be useful if the other newspapers also publish these statements to confirm that they too reflect the importance of correct usage of titles!

Doctor is a commonly used title in Sri Lanka for those registered in the Sri Lanka /General Medical Council as a medical practitioner.

A doctorate, however, is awarded for those who have earned a PhD or similar/equivalent qualification usually through research studies at RECOGNISED UNIVERSITIES, listed in documentation for the purpose. Furthermore, a Doctor (Honoris Causa), ie a Honorary Doctorate can be also conferred on a person by a senate or equivalent academic body of a RECOGNISED University as mentioned above.

Professor is usually a cadre position in an academic department of a university and is referred to as the Chair. Furthermore, for those promoted on MERIT, the position and the title is conferred. In both instances and also for the position of Associate Professor, there is a very rigorous scheme of assessment in the Sri Lankan Universities. At this stage, it should be made clear that the Doctorate and Associate Professorship/Professorship are two separate titles and that for Professorship an earned Doctorate would be an advantage. Thereafter, after a specified period of service and other requirements, the title, SENIOR PROFESSOR would be conferred by the Senate of a University. Finally, on retirement from the university, the Senate of the University could -confer on its own criterion, the EMERITUS PROFESORHIP.


DOCORATE is an academic title/qualification either earned or honorary and as such, the person could use the title continuously as specified by the respective university unless for some rare valid reason, according to the regulations of such a university, it is withdrawn.

The PROFESSOR title is somewhat different. While in service at the respective university, the title Senior Professor/Professor

/Associate Professor should be used. On leaving the university service, the professor title can be used only if the Senate of the respective university as per its criteria has granted the status of EMERITUS PROFESSOR.

In other words, a Senior Professor/Professor/

Associate Professor, who has not been conferred the Emeritus Professorship from his /her recognized university, on leaving the university on retirement/resignation/termination of services, could continue to use his/her conferred Doctorate title, or would have to use only Mr/Ms/Rev as appropriate.

While the University Grants Commission is very specific on the use of word ‘UNIVERSITY’ for a higher education institute, it would also have to include the legality of the use of these personal titles when considering the amendments to the University Act.

Another retired academic,
Colombo 7.
Please read About “Doctors” And “Professors” also.