Opportunities in the United States Opportunities in the United States

  • The US is very open to international candidates.
  • Applications consist of a résumé summarising your teaching, research and administrative experience; covering letter (preferably on the headed paper of your current institution); letters of recommendation from your referees; a statement of your approach to teaching with testimonials from students; your official transcript (a record marks at undergraduate and postgraduate level); a sample of your writing, i.e., an article or a chapter of your book or PhD thesis. An example syllabus may be required, and many of your competitors will have a digital portfolio of courses taught.
  • Letters of recommendation play a very important role in the application process. It is essential to cultivate a suitable mentor as early as possible, i.e. a senior academic who will strongly advocate for you.
  • US universities will also expect you to have done a lot of teaching as a PhD student/post-doc.
  • Unlike in the UK (where it should be a matter of course) it is unacceptable to call or email and ask questions about the role or the department.
  • 'Tenure-track' Assistant Professor positions are advertised in open competition, and mean that the candidate can obtain tenure after a probationary period of around 6-7 years (about 50% of Associate Professors are awarded tenure, though this percentage is decreasing over time). At the end of this period, a candidate may be promoted to Associate Professor. The path from PhD to Full Professor takes about 20 years.
  • Some less prestigious universities offer fixed term, teaching-only roles for up to 5 years. You are not expected to produce research, and no provision for this is made in the role.
  • Some science researchers choose to do postdoc positions in the USA to broaden their horizons. Contacts are often made at international conferences, or through external examiners which later lead to postdoc positions in the USA. Science postdoctoral positions at world famous institutions like Yale and Harvard are intensive and researchers are expected to put in long hours including at weekends. Interviews can last all day and a presentation is required.
  • Interviews: see the summary by Dr Catherine Armstrong here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/working-overseas/1192/applying-for-an-academic-job-in-the-us-differences-and-similarities/
    • The process takes about a year
    • Jobs are advertised around September/October
    • The first stage is a telephone interview, probably using conference call technology
    • Face-to-face interviews take place at the major disciplinary conferences (spring)
    • A shortlist will be invited to the university itself for a two-day interview process
    • Candidates are informed of the outcome following funding decisions (summer)
  • There are many opportunities for postdocs and research roles in universities and research centres, but these can be competitive.

USA Resources:

www.iie.org/fulbright: The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program brings scholars to lecture and/or conduct post-doctoral research for up to a year at U.S. colleges and universities.





http://www.spo.berkeley.edu/Fund/hpostdoc.html (humanities)

http://www.esu.org/programmes/scholarships/clergy/lindemann-trust-fellowship (sciences)