Abbreviation of Professor and Assistant Professor- How to use them? (2024)

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words, titles, phrases, etc., to save time and space and improve the text’s readability. Abbreviations are used in many instances, from abbreviating titles (Mr., Dr., Prof.), dates (Oct., Jan.), measurements (in., rpm) to more common abbreviations. The abbreviations for professor and assistant professor are some of the most common abbreviations used by students, teachers, professors, faculty, etc. In this article, we will discuss these abbreviations and how and when to use them.

Definition of Professor and Assistant Professor

A Professor is a teacher of the highest rank in an educational institution who is an expert in a particular branch of knowledge. The word is derived from Latin and means “a person who professes to be an expert, a person who claims knowledge; and a teacher of the highest rank.” The use of the title ‘professor’ as a prefix dates back to the early 18th century.

An Assistant Professor is a teacher who ranks below the professor but above an instructor in an educational institution. Any teacher who is an assistant professor, associate professor, etc., can be referred to as a professor. A professor can also refer to an instructor of some art, sports activity, etc. A person who professes their beliefs can also be called a professor.

Abbreviation of Professor and Assistant Professor

  • Professor – abbreviated as “Prof.” or “prof.
  • Assistant Professor – abbreviated as “Asst. Prof.” or “AP.

The use of the abbreviation prof. Dates back to 1838. Note that the abbreviations such as Prof. and Asst. Prof. is used with a full stop in American English.

When and How to Use the Abbreviations?

The abbreviations “Prof.” and “Asst. Prof.” can be written with or without the first letter capitalized. However, when the abbreviation is used as a title, i.e., as a prefix to a name, you must always use the capitalized “Prof.” or “Asst. Prof.” The use of abbreviations in formal situations is limited. They are commonly used in informal situations and conversations. Always use full titles in formal and academic correspondence, such as standard emails.

  • For formal situations, the abbreviations may be used in:
    • Job Titles
    • Resumes
    • Business Cards
    • Footnotes
    • Listing prof. names in an academic paper
    • Some academic writings, such as papers where prof. is used repeatedly
  • The abbreviations are more commonly used in informal and casual situations, such as:
    • Notes
    • All nonacademic and informal written correspondence
    • Headlines
    • Webpages
    • Emails – Informal
    • Conversations
    • Captions
    • Speeches
    • Private Correspondence
    • etc.

In informal correspondence, abbreviations are used with the full name of the professor. If you are using only the surname, it is appropriate to use the full title.

For example, Prof. Sheldon Cooper and Professor Cooper.

If the name of the person is not mentioned, do not use the abbreviations. For example, the prefix title is abbreviated only when the name of the professor is used.
For example, Dear Prof. Hofstader but Dear Professor.

“Assistant Professor” (or “Asst. Prof.”) is generally used in more formal settings, in writing, and in papers or speeches where the professors need to be listed by rank. But as a form of address, it is more commonplace to use professor or prof. Thus, asst. prof. It is just an indication of rank, and it is common to use the professor title to address all teaching faculty. These graded levels are seldom used in written or oral communications, except in ranks. Often, lecturers, instructors, teaching associates, researcher professors, etc., may also prefer to be addressed as professors. If the abbreviation is the last word in the sentence, use only one full stop.

The decision of whether to use abbreviations or not depends on the type of speech and situation. Orally, an abbreviation is pronounced as the entire word. In writing, abbreviation depends on the kind of speech – whether formal or informal, academic or unacademic, etc. The former situations mostly use full titles, whereas the latter ones allow abbreviations such as prof. And asst. Prof. Thus, make sure to identify the type of situation and form of speech before deciding on using abbreviations.

Examples Using the Abbreviations

How To Decide Between Using Dr. or Prof.?

Many professors have one or more doctoral degrees such as Ph.D., D.B.A., Dr.P.H., D.Eng., etc. Therefore, confusion may arise on whether to use Dr. or Professor (Prof.) to address the person.

  • First, ensure that you are well aware of the titles of the person. Second, remember that not all professors have a doctorate.
  • The two titles may often overlap, but titles such as “Dr. Prof.” or “Prof. Dr.” are not widely used. If using, put Prof before Dr, i.e.., “Prof. Dr.”
  • When in doubt, use Professor or Prof.
  • “Professor” is a higher title than a doctorate, as a person becomes a professor after getting a doctoral degree.
  • Most professors thus prefer the title “Professor” (or “Prof.”) as opposed to “Dr.”
  • Do not use Dr. to address a tenured professor unless explicitly stated otherwise by the professor.
  • Some lecturers, instructors, teaching associates, research professors, etc., may also prefer to be addressed as professors.

All professors have their preferences regarding the title that you can use to address them. So, whether it is Dr. or Prof., make sure that you are aware of your professors’ preferences and address them accordingly.


There is no definite set of rules for using abbreviations. Often, your professor will inform you about how they want to be addressed. Most academic writings use full titles, whereas informal writing correspondences and some formal situations allow prof. And asst. prof. There is no fixed pattern when it comes to abbreviations of titles such as prof. And asst. prof.

The options available to you regarding the use of abbreviations depend on and differ from professor to professor. However, make sure to follow the accustomed rules listed above while using the abbreviations. In case of any doubts, aim to be as respectful and concise as possible while addressing professors. And if you aren’t sure how to address your professors, ask them!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I address my professor by their first name?
    Never use the first name unless explicitly allowed to do so by the professor. Instead, use “Professor Surname” or “Prof. Full Name.”
  • How do I address my assistant professor?
    Use professor or prof. to address all professors, unless otherwise stated. Assistant professor or asst. prof. is used in situations where the rank of the professor is mentioned.
  • Can I use “Mrs.” to address female professors?
    Avoid using terms like “Ms.,” “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” etc. Just “Prof.” or “Professor” is fine!
  • What is the plural of prof?
    The plural of prof is ‘profs.’ However, I prefer to use professors instead of profs.


Abbreviation of Professor and Assistant Professor- How to use them?

Abbreviation of Professor and Assistant Professor- How to use them? (2024)


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